Athens, 05 August 2020
In the context of the continuous upgrade and improvement of the Emergency Communications Service 112, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, in collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Government, Google and the mobile telephony providers in Greece (Cosmote, Vodafone, Wind, Forthnet), proceeded with the implementation of the Android Emergency Location Service (ELS) for mobile phones with Android operating system throughout Greece.
It is a service for automatically locating the exact location of the caller in cases of calling the single European emergency number 112 from a smart mobile phone. It is automatically activated only when the citizen calls 112. For the duration of the call, the device automatically activates its geolocation service and collects location data. Once the position of the mobile is found with sufficient accuracy, the information is sent immediately to 112.
ELS is an additional service, which sends the caller’s location directly from Android smartphones to the emergency services whenever the user calls or sends an SMS to 112, the European emergency number. Activates automatically only when the user calls or sends a message to 112, and uses existing mobile technologies (Wi-Fi, GPS, mobile antennas and sensors on smartphones) to locate the caller more accurately in both indoors and outdoors. Until now, the location of the 112 caller from mobile phones was based on the mobile phone antenna, resulting in an approximate estimate of the caller’s position in the wider coverage area of the antenna.
The ELS is a significant upgrade of the operational capabilities of the 112, because it allows emergency services (Greek Police, Fire Brigade, National Emergency Center, Coast Guard – Hellenic Coast Guard) to reach faster the person who needs emergency help. The service can be especially useful in cases of search and rescue operations in mountainous areas, in isolated areas, in the countryside in general, but also at sea. In addition, this service significantly improves the access of people with disabilities to emergency services, as it is now possible to quickly locate the location of our fellow human beings who communicate with 112 via SMS.
How does it work;
The ELS is activated automatically when and only when the user calls or sends an SMS to 112. When activated, the ELS calculates the caller’s location on the device and sends it directly to the 112 Communication Center via SMS. The first tests performed in Greece showed that the caller’s position is located with an accuracy of better than 100 meters in over 90% of cases.
What is the cost of the service?
Zero. The service is provided free of charge by Google, calls and SMS to 112 are free, and location SMS sent to 112 whenever ELS is activated is free.
Which phones does it work on?
The service works on all mobile phones that have Android operating (version 4.1 or later) and have a connection of any form (contract, card contract, card, etc.) with any mobile phone provider in Greece, when they are within the network of their provider and have unlock their mobile SIM card. In the context of the continuous upgrade of 112 in our country, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection is considering the possibility of extending the function for roaming users.
What is the legal basis of the ELS service?
Locating the caller is the responsibility of all EU Member States. based on the European Code of Electronic Communications (Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018). The draft law on the Electronic Communications Code, which incorporates the above Directive into Greek law, was put to public consultation by the Ministry of Digital Government.
How was it implemented in Greece?
The ELS service was initially put into pilot operation in the metropolitan area of Athens (Peripheral Units of the North, Central, South and West Sector of Athens) from June 20 to July 14. During the pilot operation, the performance of the service was constantly evaluated by a working group of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, the Ministry of Digital Governance, Google and the mobile phone providers. With the successful completion of the pilot operation, the service was activated throughout Greece on July 15, 2020.
How has the location of the caller in 112 been located so far?
From 1 st January 2020, identification of caller location automatically for all calls as soon as the operator replied. For calls from mobile networks, the position of the caller is located based on the base station (antenna) that served the call, ie with an accuracy of 500 meters to 40 kilometers, depending on the density of mobile networks.
source – civilprotection.gr