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New Capabilities from Apple Improve Location Information and 911 Call Delivery

Last week, Apple announced two new capabilities that 911 agencies should be aware of.

Read Here: Precise location for text-enabled jurisdictions
Since text-to-911 became available, PSAPs have received only limited location information with a text session: typically the location of the tower, or the “centroid” of the cell sector serving the user’s device. There have been tremendous advances in emergency location technologies for voice calls and now, Apple is making those technologies available when users text 911 in a supported jurisdiction.

iOS 13 makes available precise, device-based location information through both the traditional carrier-network path, and through Apple’s own Enhanced Emergency Data service, when a user texts 911 in a jurisdiction that accepts text messages. As iOS 13 rolls out via software update this Fall, PSAPs should begin to see dramatically lower uncertainties for users who text 911 from an iPhone or Apple Watch, reducing response times and improving outcomes for users

Text-enabled PSAPs should contact their carrier, Text Control Center, and text handling software representatives to ensure that both the location estimate and search area guidance (“uncertainty”) provided by HELO will be delivered automatically to telecommunicators and dispatchers during a text-to-911 session.

Read Here: Improving delivery of 911 calls
Historically, wireless 911 calls have been routed based on a fixed correspondence between the cell-sector serving the user’s device and a pre-designated 911 center. Because cell-sectors often span more than one 911 center’s jurisdiction, however, this arrangement can require a transfer when the center that first receives a user’s call is not the center that serves the user’s location. iOS 13 offers wireless carriers the option to enable location-based routing (LBR) for modern radio access technologies. By providing a fast HELO estimate during 911 call set-up, Apple devices can reduce the number of calls for which transfers may be required. Local 911 authorities should contact the wireless carriers serving their jurisdiction to discuss enabling location-based routing.


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