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Time for a new map

By Staff | Aug 19, 2010

Pierce County’s 911 system has been in operation for nearly 15 years and the software mapping system used by 911 dispatchers to locate callers via a computer screen is about that old as well.

Pierce County emergency officials say its time for an upgrade.

“(The new mapping system we’re looking at) is more precise…offers more topographical features on the screen,’ said Carrie Vallier, Pierce County 911 coordinator.

There have been some upgrades to the current mapping software over the years, but it still lags behind with the technology now available for emergency dispatchers.

The Pierce County Commission has received a price quote for a BullBerry mapping system which would total about $40,000 plus a monthly maintenance fee.

Vallier said Bottineau and Cavalier counties were using the same 911 mapping system as Pierce County, but recently approved changing to the BullBerry System. N.D. State Radio also uses that system as well as other counties across the state.

Some of the other capabilities of the software are for mobile terminals to be installed in emergency vehicles, allowing those first responders to also see an on-screen map for directions to the emergency location. That feature, however, would cost extra. Vallier added the software is also easy to update, meaning adding or changing addresses in the county’s 911 system.

911 funds to pay for mapping system

The county would use its 911 set aside funds to cover those costs, said Karin Fursather, county auditor.

Land-line and wireless phone users are assessed a $1 fee on their monthly phone bills which the county is authorized to collect to cover costs to provide a 911 system. Those funds also help cover the wages for the county’s 911 dispatchers.

Vallier said BullBerry would install the software as well as train dispatchers on the system.

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