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Entries » Blog » Location, location, location. Is voice always king in LMR?

Location, location, location. Is voice always king in LMR?

Created Sep 20 2016, 5:00 AM by Diane Yakes

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 9.13.57 AM.pngFor public safety agencies, knowing the location of their personnel not only improves operational performance, it can save lives. Consider the following use cases:

  • While following a suspect, an officer is fired upon. He presses the emergency button on his radio and says, “Shots Fired”. As he proceeds into a foot chase, he has trouble describing his location to dispatch. However, Dispatch has already sent backup to the scene based on his GPS location.
  • An explosion at the local mall triggers a large response from fire, police, EMS and others, generating high traffic on the radio system. Soon after, a 9-1-1 call comes in reporting an active robbery across town. Using location data, Dispatch is able to determine the nearest patrol units to redirect to the robbery.

In Land Mobile Radio, voice traditionally has priority over any applications or services that use data. Because of its lifesaving potential, this has been a long standing rule in public safety communications. But what about location services? They can be lifesaving as well.

How do you decide which is more important, the voice or the individual’s location? You don’t have to decide - you can have both at the same time. With ASTRO 25 Location on PTT, radios don’t need to wait until after a voice transmission to send GPS location updates. Location data is embedded directly in the voice transmission and sent continuously, with no impact to voice quality or performance. The ASTRO 25 system pulls the location data out of the voice stream and forwards it on toward the mapping application.

This is especially important during an emergency voice call, such as in the example with an officer being fired upon. Since the officer had Location on PTT, backup was dispatched to the accurate location without delay. The officer’s GPS location was updated as soon as he called “shots fired”, and with each subsequent push-to-talk, providing dispatch with critical information.

Location on PTT also enhances location accuracy when the radio system is heavily congested with voice traffic, such as in the mall incident described above. Even if there are no data channels available, every time a first responder presses the PTT button, their location is updated, helping dispatchers make quick decisions based on current location data.

ASTRO 25 location services provide current location information when needed most – during emergencies and critical incidents with intense voice collaboration.

Learn more about ASTRO 25 by visiting

Diane Yakes is an ASTRO 25 Business Manager at Motorola Solutions