Google and T-Mobile team up for better 911 caller location data

Joanna Estrada
September 19, 2018

The new service uses GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and sensors to give a precise location when a 911 call is placed.

The emergency service technology is due to partnerships with RapidSOS, T-Mobile, and West.

Google told the Wall Street Journal that it tested its ELS tech in emergency call centers earlier this year and found that it reduced the average radius in which a caller might be located from 522 feet down to 121 feet.

ELS on Android in the United States is rolling out now. Google launched its Emergency Location Service (ELS) back in 2016 as a way to make these calls as effective as possible, and thanks to the help of a few brands in the U.S., ELS is now making its way to the States.

5 best emergency apps and other emergency things your phone can do!

As a user, you don't need to do anything, should you need it. That's the lovely thing: you don't need to do anything.

ELS is supported on Android devices running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above, which means it works on 99 percent of Android devices. Your location is computed on your device and delivered directly to emergency providers when you call an emergency number, without passing through Google's servers.

On Wednesday, Google officially announced that ELS is going live in the USA, with support from RapidSOS, T-Mobile and West.

RapidSOS, which was founded in 2012 and backed by three former Federal Communications Commission leaders, said its technology will now send faster, more accurate 911 caller location information to call centers nationwide. And in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Google is partnering with West to bring ELS to that region. They didn't know where they were on the highway so they couldn't verbally give a location, but ELS gave the emergency crews a very accurate origination location of the call. This enabled fire crews to quickly report to the scene and take care of the fire - something that would have been exceptionally hard before ELS.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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