Anyone who has ever called 911 or has watched a real-life emergency situation knows that it’s not always as accurate as what we see on TV dramas. Two years ago, Google announced the launch of their Emergency Location Service that aims to help emergency communication centers better locate people who place the calls through their Android devices. Now they’re expanding it in the US with RapidSOS, T-Mobile, and West to bring quicker and more accurate locations to emergency centers to help those who are in dire need.
The reason why ELS brings a more accurate location is that it uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and sensors which is also what they use on Google Maps. You don’t even need to install a separate app or update your device’s software. Your accurate location will not even pass through Google’s servers and will go directly to the emergency provider. All of this is activated only when you “explicitly call an emergency number”.
They have partnered with RapidSOS so that the information goes through their secure, IP-based data platform, integrating with the software in emergency centers in the US. ELS supports more than 99% of Android devices in the US, specifically those running on Android 4.0 and higher. It is also available in 14 countries now, where it is the wireless provider and the public safety organizations that activate it in their respective territories.
In the US, ELS is also now available for Android users on T-Mobile. Previously, the carrier could already share emergency locations with emergency centers but the ELS integration delivers faster and higher accuracy which can sometimes be a matter of life and death. ELS is also now available in the U.S. Virgin Islands through West, an emergency technology company, and regional wireless provider., Viya.
Google cites stories about how a more accurate location saved people’s lives, since it has decreased the average uncertainty radius from 159 meters to just 37 meters. Hopefully, they will be able to expand to more places in the U.S as well as more regions and countries.
September 20, 2018 at 05:03AM