Android Emergency Location Service Launches in the US

22 September, 2018, 02:30 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Google's making it easier for 911 to find your location in an emergency

The search giant and U.S. telecom have partnered with emergency technology providers RapidSOS and West to send emergency call centres information from Android's Emergency Location Services (ELS). In testing the technology in the U.S., emergency centers have told us ELS has already helped save lives in their jurisdiction, decreasing the average uncertainty radius from 159 meters to 37 meters (from 522 feet to 121 feet). Google says that ELS is supported in 99 percent of devices out there, and you don't need to download and install a separate app, either.

Google first introduced ELS in 2016 but it was initially only available in the United Kingdom and Estonia because the firm must collaborate with local mobile network operators and emergency services for it to work. This made things hard for first responders by adding the extra of having to manually find the address of those who have called emergency services and it presents even more problems when a device is indoors.

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While nobody wants to make them, it's important that emergency calls are fast and accurate in a time of need.

RapidSOS, a startup featuring three former FCC commissioners on its board, explained that the deal with Google follows a pilot project the two conducted in three test regions in earlier this year to evaluate an integration of Android ELS with the RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse. Android users on T-Mobile in the U.S. will automatically benefit from this service. According to Google, ELS now provides the location of callers to emergency centers for over 140,000 calls each day.

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The new service uses GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and sensors to give a precise location when a 911 call is placed. Google's Emergency Location Service (ELS) is already in 14 countries worldwide but comes to the US starting today. For example, in New Zealand, a caller was riding along on the highway when they saw a fire.

Calling 911 from an iPhone will soon automatically share the device's location with 911 centers. Fire and Emergency New Zealand were able to use ELS to locate the caller and the fire. The watch has several vital features including the ability to identify locations of emergencies. Additionally, the standard ELS is already present on all Android devices (Android 4.4 and up), so rest assured that whenever you call 911, your Global Positioning System information is likely being shared.

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