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London Ambulance Service cuts emergency response times by two minutes with help from cutting-edge technology

New mapping system from ESRI (UK) is helping to improve emergency response in London

Aylesbury, 15 April 2004 -- The London Ambulance Service (LAS) is the first emergency service in the UK to be able to pinpoint the location of 999 calls from mobiles and deploy emergency response vehicles more quickly. LAS is using the MapObjects Geographic Information System (GIS) from ESRI (UK), within its control room, to plot the location of all mobile, and land-line based callers on a map as part of a £40 million, four-year service improvement programme by LAS which has reduced its emergency response times by a critical two minutes.

The Department of Health requires the LAS to fully respond to 75 percent of category A calls – those that are immediately serious or life threatening - within eight minutes. The London Ambulance service receives approximately 3000 calls each day, a quarter of which are made from mobiles. In the control room, LAS staff use the new system, which includes ESRI’s MapObjects, to identify where the 999 call is being made from and the best vehicle to respond, by showing the exact current location of each on a map. Emergency medical dispatchers, who take the calls, can see the closest vehicle and whether it is available, on route to, or already attending another incident.

In addition to the control room, each of the Service’s 450 emergency response vehicles is being fitted with a mobile data terminal. A mapping system, also using ESRI technology, shows the crew exactly where they are in relation to the call they are responding to. This mapping solution is also linked to a satellite navigation system that gives the crew directions to the destination. Prior to installing the data terminals, crews had to use map books to find the best route.

Quentin Armitage, Deputy Director of Technology at the London Ambulance Service, says:
“These technology solutions have made a great difference to our emergency response operation. In conjunction with the initiative overall, we have seen a two-minute improvement in our response times and we are continuing to meet the targets set by the Department of Health. We are working hard to ensure that all of our emergency response vehicles are fitted with the new mobile data terminals, which include the new ESRI mapping system by the end of March 2004.”

ESRI’s MapObjects is a collection of embeddable mapping and GIS components, which allow developers to create specialised desktop mapping and GIS applications. The London Ambulance Service has used the MapObjects developers’ toolkit to build the mapping application. They also have over 500 licences for the deployment of the system.


About ESRI (UK)
ESRI (UK) delivers enterprise geographic information solutions to organisations in both public and private sectors in the UK. Founded 25 years ago, and with over 1600 customers, it is one of the largest and most experienced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) companies, combining market leading products, UK specific services, applications and data, to local authorities, central government, utilities and telecoms, defence and business markets. Examples of ESRI (UK)’s customers include Channel 4 Time Team, The Environment Agency, Leeds City Council, Metropolitan Police Service, Norwich Union, Transco and Westminster City Council. ESRI (UK) is the sole distributor of ESRI Inc.’s world leading ArcGIS suite of products. For more information on ESRI (UK) please visit the website at

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