This morning I was listening to an advertisement for OnStar. It began with the OnStar operator taking a call from an OnStar customer who was having a heart attack. The operator was polite and immediately contacted 911 and then in a shared telephone conversation explained that the customer was located on "Cochrane Street". OnStar obtained the customers location via GPS in the vehicle and then referenced this to a map in the OnStar system. Very cool you say! But Wait! – note HOW that information was transferred to the 911 system. Not by some automated means – but by a telephone call – by one person talking to another.
How would this work in the era of the GeoWeb?.
The customer's position would be sent to OnStar from the GPS device and referenced to the road system. This is as now. When the Onstar system confirms with the customer that an emergency is in progress, the location of the customer is automatically sent to the appropriate 911 system. Paramedic vehicles immediately see the customers location and the dispatcher can determine who is closest. There is no potential for confusion about Cochrane or Crane Street. The estimated time of arrival can be known almost immediately. Information managed in this way can be more accurate and more certain – increasing the value of the both the 911 system and the OnStar system.
With GPS enabled telephones this will move from the vehicle to your telephone or PDA.