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Apple Updates 911 Location Accuracy

IOS 13 Offers Improvements in 911 Location Based Routing and Text-to-911 Location Accuracy

Apple IOS 13 Improves 911 Services

September 2019 iOS 13 offers wireless carriers the option to enable location-based routing (LBR) for modern radio access technologies. By providing a fast HELO estimate during 9-1-1 call set-up, Apple devices can reduce the number of calls for which transfers may be required. If a location estimate cannot be provided quickly, carriers may fall-back to the existing fixed-sector routing mechanism. To achieve routing improvements, carriers should work with individual 9-1-1 authorities or local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to acquire and deconflict Geospatial Information System (“GIS”) “shape files” that represent their service-area boundaries. More Information at:

In addition, IOS 13 makes available precise, device-based location information through both

the traditional carrier-network path, and through Apple’s own Enhanced Emergency

Data service, when a user texts 9-1-1 in a jurisdiction that accepts text

messages. As iOS 13 rolls-out via software update this Fall, PSAPs should begin

to see dramatically-lower uncertainties for users who text 9-1-1 from an iPhone

or Apple Watch, reducing response times and improving outcomes for users.

Text-enabled PSAPs should contact their carrier, Text Control Center, and texthandling

software representatives to ensure that both the location estimate and

search area guidance (“uncertainty”) provided by HELO will be delivered automatically

to telecommunicators and dispatchers during a Text-to-9-1-1 session.

Location data will also be available to jurisdictions using Apple’s Enhanced

Emergency Data feature via Apple’s partnership with RapidSOS. In some cases,

call-taking, computer-aided dispatching, or text-handling software may require

an update to automatically fetch EED locations for text sessions. More information at:

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