Mazovia: satellite data to improve emergency services

The Province

The Mazowieckie Voivodeship or Mazovia Province is the largest of the Polish provinces. With a population of over five million inhabitants, it occupies an area of almost 36,000 sq. km.  Including 42 counties and 314 municipalities, the province is also home to the countries’ capital, Warsaw. The population of Warsaw is over 1.7 million people, which makes about 33% of the total population of the region.

The Office of the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship in Warsaw was created in 1999 after a reform of the public administration. The Office oversees the delivery of a wide range of regional public services. These can range from healthcare, public education, environmental protection, culture and tourism to public transport, roads management, geodesy, and cartography, among others. To perform its mandate, the Office can count on over 1,100 employees in 16 departments and five branch offices.

Within the Marshal Office, the Department of Geodesy and Cartography collects a wide range of regional geographic data, accessible through an online portal (

The challenge

In 2006, the Marshal Office was looking for a solution to improve the efficiency of its ambulances during rescuing operations. In particular, the Office wanted to reduce the time of reaction of its rescue teams to emergency calls.

To help rescue teams to reach their sites of intervention more rapidly, the emergency service needed real-time positioning equipment and accurate maps of the areas of intervention. The new positioning and coordination equipment had to be easily integrated into the existing ambulances and into the structure and emergency procedures of the Mazovia province.

The satellite solution

Starting from 2006, the province engaged in a two-year project that foresaw the extension of its GPS reference networks within and around Warsaw. The project was also supported through the construction of a reference station in the Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki County.

Since 2008, provincial rescue teams are provided with positioning equipment based on satellite navigation. This guides the ambulances until their destinations and indicates their exact position to the Control Unit in Warsaw in real time. Both the rescue teams and the Control Unit can visualise the position and the itineraries of each ambulance on a satellite-based map of the region with an accuracy down to a few metres.

When receiving an emergency call, the Control Unit is immediately able to locate the position of the persons in need on the virtual map. Hence, the Unit can easily identify the closest available rescue team to reach them. Moreover, the system allows each rescue team to transmit electrocardiograms (ECG) virtually to the Control Unit ―mainly via the GSM network― and to receive instructions from the doctors in return.

The project consortium included the Office of the Marshal and the Regional Station of Emergency Medical Service and Hospital Transportation “MEDITRANS”, the Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki County, the Warsaw University of Technology, the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Military University of Technology, and the Institute of Geodesy and Cartography.

The result

The number of emergency ambulance trips has raised from 160,455 in 2006 to 233,402 in 2015. In 2006, there were only 42 rescue teams, while 65 rescue teams were monitored through the navigation-based system in 2015. Thanks to the system, the average travel time of patients to the hospitals in Warsaw has been shortened by two minutes and 48 seconds, passing from 11 to eight minutes.

Satellite data enables us to provide a much more efficient ambulance service for Mazovia residents”, Jacek Leszko, The Office of the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship in Warsaw