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Google

Accurate emergency location can be the difference between life and death. When emergency services get a call, they need to know the caller’s location to send help and save lives. Today, over 80% of calls to emergency services come from mobile devices, but locating these callers can be difficult. In most countries, emergency location, if it exists, relies on cell tower location (which can have a radius of up to several kilometers) or assisted GPS (which can fail indoors, and suffers from urban canyon, multi-path, and weather reception

Google created Android Emergency Location Service (ELS), as a supplemental service, and offers it free of charge to emergency services and public safety so first responders can act faster during an emergency. ELS uses the Android Fused Location Provider to quickly estimate more accurate emergency locations, both indoors and outdoors and transmits that location data -- together with any additional emergency, if appropriate -- to emergency services when a user calls or texts an emergency number

ELS is built into Google Play Services as part of the Android operating system, and works on over 99% of active Android devices (running Android OS version 4.4 and up).

Benefits

  • ELS is not a mobile application and doesn’t require any special hardware, downloads or updates.
  • ELS is activated only when the user contacts emergency services.
  • Location is computed on the Android device and sent to Emergency Services.
  • Location data is sent via Data SMS or HTTP (per AML specifications) which are both open, OS-agnostic protocols.

Google partners with mobile network operators, public safety vendors and government agencies responsible for public safety to deploy ELS. ELS is activated once a partner completed the testing process and is able to receive ELS data.

Google’s goal is to make ELS available globally, to keep Android users safer and improve the state of emergency services around the world. For more information, contact android-emergency-location@google.com.

last updated: June 2022