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Guelph, Ont., to lead development of next-generation emergency services database

Federal program grants $1 million to City and Esri Canada for partnership.

February 14, 2023 
By City of Guelph



The City of Guelph, Ont., was selected, alongside its partner Esri Canada, as the Canadian city to lead the development of a next-generation emergency services geographic information system (GIS) database. This innovative partnership was awarded $1.017 million in federal grant funding and will support critical enhancements in public safety in Guelph and across Canada, as the country implements a modernized Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) emergency response system.

“This database will improve critical elements of all emergency responses,” said Michael Bartholomew, program manager, GIS and data, projects, strategy and digital, City of Guelph. “This includes more accurate call-routing and patient and incident location information which will help reduce emergency response times for the Guelph community and communities across Canada.”

The city and Esri Canada will work together to research, develop and build a modern, innovative geodatabase based on new GIS data models (NENA NG9-1-1) adapted for Canada’s next generation of 911 technology. The partners will also develop GIS applications to automatically keep emergency services databases populated, updated and maintained. Testing the developed GIS applications and databases is a critical component of this innovative project and will ensure the data meets the strict, high-quality data standards required by Canada’s telecommunications providers and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

“Complete, up-to-date and accurate GIS data and maps are critical components of an effective NG9-1-1 system,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “The City of Guelph is a progressive city when it comes to NG9-1-1 initiatives, and we’re pleased to partner with them on developing Canada’s NG9-1-1 best practices and software solutions that will create and maintain accurate GIS data. The work we’re doing will help Guelph and many other municipalities across the country meet Canada’s goal of using GIS data to route emergency calls to the right emergency call answering centre starting in March 2025.”

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This solution will address Canada’s special NG9-1-1 GIS data requirements; provide the CRTC Emergency Services Working Group with NG9-1-1 GIS data best practices; and become the standard NG9-1-1 GIS data solution for governments, organizations that aggregate data for use, and NG9-1-1 GIS data producers across Canada.

The purpose of NG9-1-1 GIS is to make 911 service systems faster and more resilient and provide seamless data flow from the public to 911 responders. Access to 911 services will not be impacted as communities transition to next-generation services and people should continue to dial 911 for emergency help.

The NG9-1-1 project is supported by the Canadian Safety and Security Program; a federal program led by Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science, in partnership with Public Safety Canada.


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