Latitude and Longitude is not a reference system commonly used by land-based First Responders. Street names and associated addresses are, but following disasters such as floods, fires, etc., they are often obscured or destroyed. The USNG is a point and area location grid reference system that provides a reliable and available geoaddressing capability that is an easy to use alternative to latitude and longitude.
Rationale: The U.S. National Grid (USNG) is the civilian version of the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) that the Department of Defense uses for tactical operations. The USNG enables geoaddressing incident locations from 100m to 1m precision. FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams have been using USNG for years but many other first responder organizations and agencies are slow in adopting it.
Examples include E911, Firstnet, Coast Guard and State/Local emergency response jurisdictions.
In October 2017, FEMA issued its third edition of the National Incident Management System, which states, “The (US) National Grid is simple to apply to support risk assessment, planning, response, and recovery operations. Individuals, public agencies, voluntary organizations, and commercial enterprises can use the National Grid within and across diverse geographic areas and disciplines. The use of the National Grid promotes consistent situational awareness across all levels of government, disciplines, threats, and hazards, regardless of an individual or program’s role.”
Adoption of the USNG as a SAE Standard by the PNT Committee will enhance the Committee’s ongoing work in Critical Infrastructure support efforts relative to mobilization and coordination of resources for all types of emergency response operations.