Dubai Police deploys Android Emergency Location Service

Dubai Police deploys Android Emergency Location Service

Dubai Police announced
today the launch of Android Emergency Location Service (ELS).
ELS is designed to provide more accurate location information to first
responders during an emergency.

The ELS service launched
by Google in 2016, sends location from the Android smartphone to emergency
services when the users dials an emergency number. This uses the same location
technologies available to apps on the phone, including Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell
towers, to produce a more reliable emergency location both indoors and

Location data is sent via Data SMS or HTTPS, which are both
open, OS-agnostic protocols.

This feature is used only by the emergency service
providers, and the precise location is never seen or handled by Google. It is
sent from the handset to emergency services only when an emergency call is
explicitly placed.

According to the press release, roughly 95% of calls to
emergency services in the UAE come from mobile phones in the UAE. Location is
currently only available via cell tower triangulation, which can have a radius
of up to several kilometres. ELS will supplement this by providing highly accurate
indoor and outdoor location when an emergency call is placed.

Android ELS is supported by over 99% of existing Android
devices (running at least Android 4.0), and built into Google Play Services. The
citizens do not have to download any application as the capability is within
the Android operating system.

The feature is now fully activated for Dubai. All other
emirates in the UAE interested in making ELS available to their residents have
been asked to contact Dubai Police to make arrangements to transmit ELS
location data for their locales, thereby enabling first responders to more
quickly find and help people in an emergency.   

Brigadier Engineer Kamel Butti Al Suwaidi, Director General
of Operations at Dubai Police, said that the activation and implementation of
this cutting-edge technology comes as per the directives of His Excellency
Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, to
implement the security and safety recommendations emerging from the annual
meetings of the UAE Government.

Brig. Al Suwaidi said the meetings recommended
"immediate identification of locations in the emergency situation in the
efforts of reducing the emergency response time. This is being done by
strengthening the technical structure in the operating room by providing them
with immediate location identification systems using satellite technology to
reduce emergency response time."

 “In collaboration
with Dubai Police, we jointly launched Android Emergency Location Service for
the first time in the Middle East and North Africa. During emergencies, timely
and accurate information is critical and by facilitating this we aspire to help
save lives and enhance the state of emergency services.” said Nour Koudsi, Head
of Android Platform Business Development and Partnerships – the Middle East at

UAE is the first country to deploy the Android ELS in the
Middle East and North Africa following 14 countries from around the world,
including United Kingdom, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, Iceland, Belgium,
Ireland, Finland and New Zealand.

The ELS service is based on the Advanced Mobile Location
(EML). It was developed in the UK by BT, the mobile networks EE, O2 and Three,
together with HTC and Sony handsets. When an emergency call is made with a
smartphone where AML is enabled, the phone automatically activates its location
service for 20 seconds to establish its position and sends this information via
a text message to the 112 and 999 service in the UK, with a radius of 50 meters
or less for most calls (about 85% of locations). The service uses GPS or Wifi –
whichever is best in the situation.

As this FAQ document from the European
Emergency Number Association (EENA) explains, the AML solution relies on the
handset manufacturer to program AML directly into their new handset. The Google
ELS solution works on almost all existing Android handsets in addition to all
future upgrades to the operating system, permitting greater flexibility.

Apple announced
in January that that iPhone’s next update iOS 11.3 will support AML.