The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) selected TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) to perform the first phase of its research study, “Constructing Algorithms that Utilize RF Cell Site Propagation Footprints for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).” The study focuses on using the area footprints associated with RF coverage to improve geotargeting granularity and accuracy for delivery of WEA messages.
Established by the WARN Act in 2006, WEA is a voluntary national emergency alert system designed to deliver critical and emergency messages to the public. WEA messages include presidential emergency alerts, AMBER Alerts, and warnings of imminent national and local threats to life and property, such as natural and man-made disasters.
The outcome of TCS’ research will provide DHS S&T with recommendations to enhance geotargeting methods with a goal of providing more focused geotargeting alert area notifications and increased safety to wireless device users. The research study also will help standardize algorithms and data management processes that can be critical for increasing citizens’ awareness of pending emergencies within their immediate geographic location. The benefits of improved geotargeting will translate into a better user experience and alert notification integrity to help protect lives.
The study’s scope is limited to test environments only, as actual testing in the production environment would require the involvement of mobile operators. A second phase of the project is under discussion and would facilitate field testing with mobile operators to verify theoretical concepts.