Next to creating a life, the finest thing a man can do is save one

April 07, 2021

There is an ongoing issue of “accurate mobile location” within our Emergency System Number (ESN) Industry.

Not all emergency callers know their location, maybe they are in an unfamiliar area or country, cannot speak or understand, or the call becomes disconnected. Sometimes help arrives too late and it has devastating consequences for the caller, their families, and the Emergency Responders.

In order to FIX this problem, we have to understand WHY it is happening.

Before mobile phones, landlines were the main tool for calling 112/9-1-1. Each landline had a registered residential address, so finding the caller location was pretty straightforward.

Mobile phone location is significantly more complicated, and PSAPs use combinations of cell tower triangulation, GPS and sometimes Wi-Fi to narrow down the search. But this process remains imperfect, with urban and indoor locations (including multi-level and/or underground buildings) being especially challenging.

Deployment of Advanced Mobile Location, AML, has helped location accuracy, but the call detail and reliability is not enough. AML cannot locate a caller inside a multi-storey building, and with more people now living in cities and high-rises it’s important we work towards fixing the problem, whilst not impacting privacy or security; “Progress without Compromise”.

Below is a tragic, but non uncommon, media story centred around the ongoing issues of poor mobile location, and when it fails it has devastating consequences:

In 2020, United States, young student Yeming Shen, was found dead after 9-1-1 rescuers could not locate him.

Located in Troy, New York, United States. Emergency crews conducted a 45 min search for the student. The 9-1-1 system provided only a general location. Five officers, 3 firefighters and a police dog searched each floor of the apartment building but could not locate him Authorities said.


As Abraham Lincoln said, “Next to creating a life, the finest thing a man can do is save one.” And this is not something we should give up on.

Saving lives…isn’t this the reason why we do what we do?