Emergency Caller Location Information

This page provides details of the Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI) Service, how it works, how your privacy is protected and contact information.

About the ECLI Service

The ECLI Service enables 111 emergency call takers to receive automatically generated geographical information about the likely location of a caller when a 111 call is made from a mobile device on a cellular network.

Location information is provided to emergency service providers (New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance) to assist in their response where a 111-emergency call has been made from a cellular device.

ECLI saves lives by decreasing the time taken to verify location and reduce the average dispatch time to incidents, with controls in place to protect callers’ personal information.

The Emergency Location Information System turns that data into information about your mobile device’s likely location.

Who contributes to the ECLI Service

The ECLI Service is a collaboration between:

  • our Ministry
  • emergency service providers (New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance)
  • mobile network operators (2degrees, Spark and Vodafone).

Each agency has a role in the system:

  • we have responsibility for the Government’s Communication portfolio and, as part of this, we oversee the operation of the Emergency Location Information System which receives and processes Emergency Caller Location Information
  • the emergency service providers receive the location information and use it to verify a mobile caller’s location
  • the mobile network operators provide network cell-site data.

Benefits of the ECLI Service

Since its launch, the ECLI Service has delivered on the Government’s requirement to provide emergency service providers with the best available mobile caller location when a person dials 111 on their mobile phone. This function allows the call taker to save valuable time in confirming the caller’s location and provides more accurate locations resulting in quicker dispatch times for emergency services to respond to an incident.

The ECLI Service has been proven to save lives. The service has helped emergency service providers locate emergency callers in numerous situations, including vehicle accidents, house and rural fires, people lost while tramping, medical events, where a caller is unable to communicate with the call taker and where limited English is spoken.

Prior to the ECLI Service, where people couldn’t give an accurate address, emergency services experienced difficulty pinpointing a caller’s exact location and in some cases were required to make a special information request to a network provider for a caller’s location which took additional time. These requests have since reduced, as a result of the introduction of the ECLI Service.

Each year, there are more than 2 million calls to emergency services with 84% of those being made from a mobile phone.

ECLI supports 111 TXT

The ECLI Service supports location data sent by a registered 111 TXT user texting 111 on an Android phone. The 111 TXT service is for people who are deaf, hearing or speech impaired.

111 TXT(external link) — New Zealand Police

Protecting your privacy

The ECLI Service is designed with controls to protect the privacy of mobile callers.

The Privacy Commissioner has authorised the Emergency Caller Location Information system via Schedule 4 of the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code which was updated in 2020.

Telecommunications Information Privacy Code 2020(external link) — Privacy Commissioner

The Code defines the boundaries and controls on the system’s use.

Emergency Caller Location Information will only be collected and used to:

  • help emergency service providers identify the location of callers to 111 to assist with their response
  • allow emergency service providers to maintain records of the information used to establish the location of an emergency and to help us monitor and audit the system.

Location data is only held to facilitate these 2 purposes, after which it is automatically deleted.

Accuracy of ECLI

The level of location accuracy is dependent on the method used to perform the location position calculation. The ECLI service currently supports the following location positioning methods:

Handset based positioning

This is a standards-based location solution using handset-based location positioning on supported Android and iOS smartphones (via the mobile network operators).

Location data is provided by Google’s Android Emergency Location service and Apple’s Advanced Mobile Location for iOS, which uses GPS, Wi-Fi or cell-site information to define the location of the handset. If a device is able to connect to GNSS satellite constellations (such as the GPS), the location information can be as accurate as 2 metres. Wi-Fi location information can be as accurate as 15 metres.

Network based positioning

For network-based locations, the accuracy of a location measurement is dependent on the supported capabilities of the mobile phone. Similar to handset-based positioning, the network-based method can also calculate a precise location if the mobile phone supports GNSS satellite (GPS) positioning. The network-based solution may also use less precise network positioning methods such as timings and power measurements and in some scenarios, where network measurements are not available, coarse location information such as cell site may be the only location information provided.

For all network-based location methods, the accuracy of this location information depends on whether the caller is in an urban, suburban or rural area.

Future Focus

The service has become a critical component of the emergency response system, significantly contributing to improving public safety outcomes and saving lives of New Zealanders.

With anticipation of a higher number of emergency calls being made over new technologies, including 5G, and Voice over Wi-Fi, ongoing enhancements to the Service will ensure it remains current. 

Accessing or correcting information held by the ECLI Service

You can request access to the record of your 111 call from the emergency service providers at the links listed below:

How to make a complaint

Contact your mobile network operator for any complaints relating to your mobile service:

Contact emergency service providers for any complaints relating to their services at these links:

Contact us

Email us at info@mbie.govt.nz for any general enquiries about the Emergency Caller Location Information system.

Last updated: 17 January 2023