Billions of dollars have been spent in the U.S. to create Enhanced 911 services for persons calling 911 from wired telephones. Chief among the features of E911 for wired phones is the ability for the 911 telephone system to instantly report the location of the caller’s telephone such as “145 Chestnut Street, Apartment 2A”. This life-saving capability is called Automatic Location Identification (ALI) and it is the “grand-daddy” of the commercial service known as “Caller ID”.
This location-finding capability, plus many other features of wired E911, needs to be made available to the increasing numbers of people who call 911 from their cell phones.
Who pays for what in the wireless to 911 network? The FCC has set out the demarcation point as the “input to the selective router” in their King County Report.
Here are some resources for those interested in learning more about the benefits, technical capabilities, and regulations related to wireless (cellular) 911.
APCO (the national communication/dispatchers organization): Click Wireless 911
June 2012: G Fosque’s Hopefully Constructive Critique of MapStar: if you work answering 911 wireless calls in a Massachusetts PSAP, please read and comment on this critique. MapStar is an older mapping product from Cassidian (now replaced by Vela), so the point is not to get changes to MapStar but rather to sensitize Mass. PSAP staff, State 911 staff, and vendors of PSAP map displays, to some of the new and useful functions that mapping software could and should provide 911 dispatchers in our usage context. Hopefully, some of these ideas will be built into existing or future releases of vendor 911 mapping products!!