- By Todd Luck
- Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2020
MapForsyth helping county prepare for Next Gen 911
MapForsyth is working to help the Forsyth County Emergency Services 911 Communication Center in its transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911).
The current 911 system routes cell phone calls based on the wireless tower that received the 911 call, which may not send it to the closest 911 call center. NG911 is statewide effort to modernize the system using GIS (Geographic Information System) data to determine which 911 call center a call should be routed to and the call’s correct location, including housing numbers and street names.
This is where MapForsyth comes in, reformatting addresses and center lines (places where roads meet) for the new system. This includes making sure addresses have directions like “North” and “South” spelled out instead of abbreviated and that numbered streets like “Fourth Street” are listed as “4th Street.” This is a large undertaking MapForsyth has been working on since January, with 198,000 address points and 30,000 center line segments in the county.
“This will really be a big step in locating people when they call,” said Forsyth County 911 System Manager Herb Swaim. “The MapForsyth folks have been very instrumental in getting our information updated and they’ve done a lot of work in the background to get ready for this.”
NG911 will allow for accurate, reliable, and timely location information for 911 telecommunicators and first responders, especially for wireless callers. It will allow for more reliability when text and video are sent to 911 and for call load sharing among 911 call centers during emergencies.
The NC 911 Board has contracted with GeoComm to aggregate and validate required GIS data from all 127 of the state’s 911 call centers, which are scheduled to be 100% NG911 compliant by Dec. 31, 2021. Swaim said Forsyth County is expected to make the transition early next year and that it will be seamless with no interruption in service.