When Seconds Count, Shelby County 9-1-1 Counts on Nearmap

The Emergency Communications District in Tennessee Improves 9-1-1 Addressing with High-Res Aerials

Before Nearmap, we had gaps where we wouldn’t have updated imagery. We’re able to stay on top of new developments, roads, and addresses. Being able to have Nearmap imagery integrated into our GIS systems helps us be much more accurate.
Timothy Zimmer, GIS Administrator, Shelby County 9-1-1
Shelby County 9-1-1

Shelby County is the largest in Tennessee. Memphis is the county seat, home to the Emergency Communications District, which operates the local 9-1-1 emergency system. For each dispatch center, the District provides county address location mapping. A secure database contains the exact 9-1-1 address for any associated phone numbers. This database is queried at the time of a 9-1-1 call to obtain the caller’s location. The data is then placed in dispatch and 9-1-1 mapping software to help fire and rescue, emergency medical services, and law enforcement get instant access to updated maps containing GIS data needed to get to the right locations as soon as possible.

The Challenge at a glance

Outdated, Unreliable Location Maps

For years, Shelby County’s aerial image process required a contracted flight to photograph the county areas. Because of the high cost of capturing those images, the county purchased images only once every two years, after pooling resources from various county entities.

“While the images were high resolution, there were issues with mosaicking the separate images together, and since the imagery was taken every two years, many rural and unincorporated areas were out of date,” said Timothy Zimmer, the GIS Administrator for Shelby County’s Emergency Communications District. With out of date images, the county had to develop alternate methods to locate addresses for the 9-1-1 systems.

Orthographic aerial view map of Federal Correctional Facility in Memphis, TX -  28 July 2018 Aerial View Map of Federal Correctional Facility - Memphis, TN
Orthographic aerial maps in Esri ArcMap showing emergency management location data Shelby County 9-1-1 HD Aerial Maps in Esri ArcMap
The Solution at a glance

Subscription-Based Aerial Imagery + ArcGIS

With Nearmap, Shelby found their team could access current imagery to geocode new addresses and developments as well as plot new roads into the 9-1-1 mapping systems. A big benefit of using aerial maps from Neamap is imagery is captured at least twice a year, both leaf-on and leaf-off, to provide different views of locations across seasons.

The biggest advantage with Nearmap is the ability to integrate the imagery directly into ArcMap, ArcPro, and ArcGIS online applications so the team can overlay GIS information onto the high resolution imagery. 

Business Impact

Safer Communities
By using data services, base maps, Nearmap imagery, and third-party data, Shelby County is improving all aspects of public safety, including law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services. Even other agencies are using the district’s imagery and GIS data.

Context and Currency
"There’s a certain context and currency you can get from Nearmap imagery that you simply can’t get from any other imagery products. Other agencies, such as the County Clerk and the Utility Company, are using our addressing data because Nearmap has helped enable us to be much more current."

Future projects with Nearmap
For the future, Zimmer and his team are implementing a new mapping application to plot 9-1-1 calls and plans to have Nearmap integrated into that solution.

Oblique aerial map view of St. Benedict of Auburndale School in Cordova, TN - 8 January 2019 Oblique Aerial Map of St. Benedict of Auburndale School - Cordova, TN
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