“Building NG911 Systems Through Collaboration,” the final NG-1-1 & Emerging Technologies session of APCO 2016, reviewed the process of how Michigan’s Upper Peninsula brought next generation 9-1-1 elements to the region.
Michael Armitage, an Analyst for the Michigan State Police, Tim McKee, NG911 Manager for the Peninsula Fiber Network and Mark Holmes, GIS Manager for the state of Michigan, led the session and detailed the logistical, environmental and technological factors that affected the incorporation of NG911 systems.
“There’s 8.8 million acres of forest in the Upper Peninsula; it’s a very rural area,” Armitage said. To address the communication challenges of the region, the UP 911 Authority was created.
“We formed the Michigan’s Urban Cooperation Act, with the Upper Peninsula Commission on Area Progress providing staff to oversee Authority,” McKee said.
“All 15 counties were members, each county board appoints a representative and the authority owns equipment, seeks grants and signs contracts. We also created the UP 911 Authority Agreement, which is responsible for coordinating and providing a variety of services to the participating municipalities with respect to 9-1-1 emergency call answering and service dispatching within Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”
$2.62 million was provided in grant funding to fund the project. To implement it, a consultant was hired, a PSC Alliance was created and a CAD System comprising a total of 295 agencies was dispatched across the UP. Today, the UP Authority is the contract holder and owner of the equipment, and a memorandum of understanding with CCE Dispatch Authority is in place.
“The project saved my county,” said McKee.
“It’s all about checking egos at the door, collaborating and helping with any small problems.”
Another project that benefitted the UP was the ENHANCE 911 Act Grant Project, which created a 9-1-1 GIS Repository that enabled PSAPs to share GIS information, established MOAs, set standards for GIS data entry and set a future framework for a NG9-1-1 database. To make it work, PSAP imports data to the system, scripts then translate or QC and then everything is sent to the 9-1-1 GIS Database.
“We’re marrying state GIS and UP PSAP repository to allow for geospatial routing,” Holmes said.
“Routes are based on phone location, not cell tower location. It allows multi-county PSAPs to direct which call taker gets an incoming call or text based on the location of the phone. We plan to incorporate call routing in the future.”
Lessons learned from the project included the need to test frequently, the ability to be flexible and the importance of defining and communicating requirements for GIS data and determining best data flows for GIS (by county, region, or other parameters).