The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving

November 17, 2021


When the decision was made to allow implementation of either Dispatchable location OR an alternative (such as Z, or coordinates) there was intense industry concern and scrutiny.

An article from late 2019 summarizes the feelings and response to Z-axis (HAE) implementation over dispatchable:

“While the 9-1-1 vertical-location order was adopted, the vote was not unanimous. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel dissented in part, noting that the height-above-ellipsoid (HAE) format that the carriers must use to deliver vertical-location information is not useful to public safety.

“There is not one 9-1-1 call center today that can take the raw numbers in height above ellipsoid and translate them into actionable dispatchable-location information,” Rosenworcel said during a press conference following the FCC open meeting. “If we acted in this room today like the job is done, then we lied to you. And I’m afraid our decision was dishonest about whether the information is actionable.

Rosenworcel said there is a “significant fear” that the absence of a dispatchable-location requirement in the order approved yesterday means that dispatchable location may not be addressed by this FCC, although associated notice seeks comments on improvement to 911 location accuracy and alternatives to dispatchable location.”


It’s now late 2021, and it appears our industry is showing acceptance (hopefully in the interim) for other forms of mobile location as viable alternatives to the “gold standard” of DL/DA. Even though there are concerns over the “alternatives” accuracy and functionality.

But the mission and goal to provide dispatchable location is not over.

An article from late 2020 acknowledges that z-axis may be more of a steppingstone in the journey towards providing more concrete location data. Entitled:

“Location technology will continue to evolve in 2020”

“While this implementation by the public-safety industry is underway, 2020 also will bring new ideas from public-safety stakeholders, including technology leaders, about how to further evolve indoor- and vertical-location accuracy and find a way to convert measurements beyond z-axis measurements, to floor levels and ultimately to true “dispatchable” location.”

You can read the full article here:

In our future blogs we will explore the other most common modes of geolocation, what impacts they are having and ultimately what they mean for the people who matter most…the emergency callers.