PSCR Location Summit Identifies Z Axis, Maps as Critical Focus Areas
Friday, November 13, 2015 | Comments

Two primary focus areas emerged from the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) summit on location-based services held last month in Boulder, Colorado.

The first area of focus is developing technology that can accurately determine z-axis coordinates for first responders, said Dereck Orr, division chief of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) PSCR division. The second focus area is the ability to easily generate useful maps of buildings for responders. Both focus areas can work together to create situational awareness at the scene of an incident, allowing potential x, y and z axis information to correspond with specific hallways and rooms located on a map, said Orr.

About 80 participants attended the summit, which was structured around breakout sessions and working groups.

“I think it went really well,” said Orr. “I think we got some good information out of it that we’re going to use to put together a report and build projects moving forward from what we learned.”

PSCR will now begin to hire project managers and engineers to work on projects related to location-based services. In addition, PSCR will begin coordinating activities with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and its Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) to get feedback on the key areas they are most interested in, said Orr.

PSCR will then begin to generate actual projects, complete additional requirements and standards development, and perform laboratory testing. Orr said PSCR plans to use prizes and challenges to encourage development of innovative solutions to fill technology gaps.

“We’re going to be very much focused on pushing into the future for public safety and the location-based services space beyond what today’s capabilities are,” said Orr.

The summit expanded on PSCR’s location-based services roadmap published in June, as well as information gathered from working group meetings held throughout the past six months.

PSCR’s work on location-based services is one of five focus areas that came out of the 2012 legislation that created FirstNet. The legislation identified two key areas for PSCR to study, including bringing mission-critical voice capabilities from LMR to broadband and creating a capability to allow LMR and Long Term Evolution (LTE) to connect while both technologies coexist. Three additional focus areas were identified during a PSCR roadmapping session in 2013, which include location-based services, pubic safety analytics and user interfaces.

The next summit focused on mission-critical voice communications is scheduled for late winter of 2016, and an analytics summit that will incorporate findings from the public-safety analytics roadmap will follow in the spring. PSCR’s 2016 annual stakeholder conference is scheduled for June 7 – 9 in San Diego.

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