Coast Guard searches for next-gen 911 data links

The Coast Guard is exploring ways to make Next Generation 911 messages, including voice communications, images, text and position information compatible with the rescue agency’s IT systems and communications data flows.

In a recent solicitation, the CG said that as cell phone notifications become more common in maritime search and rescue cases, it wants to be able to take advantage of geographic positioning and other metadata produced by 911 call centers and public service answering points.

Next Generation 9-1-1 refers to the growing service infrastructure supporting the ability of public emergency services to transmit text, images, video and data to PSAPs.  Currently no standard software or hardware interface exists by which state PSAPs can integrate NG9-1-1 metadata into Coast Guard operations centers.

Due to the complexity of data formats for the Emergency Services (ESINet) Voice over IP (VoIP) infrastructure, the CG is looking for a data architect to handle the translations from secure NG9-1-1 output to secure CG-IT input.

The CG wants the contractor to design a metadata software-hardware interface to take incoming NG9-1-1 ESINet metadata and display it to an existing USCG IT client screen. 

As a minimum, the CG wants the interface be able to display a caller’s location, GPS coordinates, phone number and name.  As updated position coordinates are received, the interface should be able to automatically republish the new position to the screen and store previous positions in a log file, said the CG notice.

The CG also wants an interface that can accept NG9-1-1 VoIP calls, allowing a CG watch stander to speak to the distress caller. The VoIP data is “safety of life” sensitive, said the CG, and therefore will be give the highest priority in CG-IT VoIP processing.

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