Category Archives: Case Study

Aylesbury Vale District Council

Transforming citizen engagement by shifting to digital channels

After reviewing its current reporting system, used by residents to report issues and concerns, Aylesbury Vale District Council utilised Esri UK’s professional services expertise to create a new and improved online reporting model. Not only delivering a better service to its citizens but also making vital resource and cost savings.

More efficient reporting of problems – fewer queries, errors and wasted trips

Improved service to residents – easier online reporting and faster resolution of problems

Reduced contact volumes – by avoiding duplicate reporting and minimising clarifications

The Challenge

Engagement with residents to maintain and improve their quality of life is a critical aspect of Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC)’s work. ReportIT is a mechanism by which issues or problems can be reported by residents, for action by the council. The system covers a broad range of concerns, from abandoned vehicles and antisocial behaviour to fly tipping and the safety of young people.

This important activity was found to be labour-intensive and potentially error-prone. The review of ReportIT identified several factors contributing to inefficiencies:
Reported problems often lie outside the council’s jurisdiction. Residents can be unaware of council structures and responsibilities, so would raise concerns to AVDC that were actually the responsibility of a different council.
Problems were being reported multiple times. Residents had no indication whether a problem has already been reported, so it would be reported again, causing duplication of effort.
Contractors resolving problems often attended the wrong location or needed to visit the site repeatedly, leading to wasted time and cost. This was because the reporting form did not capture all the information, including precise location, needed for first time resolution.
Residents like to be kept informed, but provision of regular updates was time consuming.

As part of its transformation journey, AVDC is adopting a ‘New Business Model’ which will remove such inefficiencies. The council identified that by shifting the primary contact channel to a new online reporting system it could:
1. Reduce the number of inbound contacts.
2. Reduce the cost of processing each report.
3. Improve feedback to residents.

AVDC had a suitable technology platform – ArcGIS Online from Esri, but cuts had meant that it did not have the resources to create the new solution. Furthermore, cost savings were needed quickly, so time was of the essence.

“ The new ReportIT solution has significantly improved the quality of information we are able to obtain on the initial contact enabling us to make improvements in our handling time for each individual report

Debbie White – Interim Customer Relationship Team Manager, Aylesbury Vale District Council

The Solution

The council contracted an Embedded Product Specialist (EPS) from Esri UK, chosen for their deep knowledge of the capabilities of ArcGIS Online. The EPS used standard templates to quickly create two vital applications:

1. Reporting tool. Esri UK’s QuestionWhere Builder enables a questionnaire or survey to be built around location-based questions. The EPS used QuestionWhere Builder to create a suite of forms, one for each type of problem being reported. A built-in map ensures that the location of the problem is correctly identified and that the problem falls within the regional boundaries of AVDC. Each report includes all the information a contractor needs to resolve the problem.

2. Analysis dashboard. AVDC’s communities and customer services teams needed a simple, visual way to monitor activity and identify any problems needing action. The EPS created a map-based visualisation that enabled the teams to query by boundary area, class of report and thus identify patterns and resolve issues.

Rather than write an exhaustive specification, the EPS used rapid prototyping techniques to create demonstration versions that gave AVDC a quick view of what was possible. The council provided immediate feedback to the EPS who, based in the council’s offices, implemented any changes there and then. This iterative approach kept the project on track and shortened development timescales.
The EPS also trained key IT staff from AVDC to use the tools, create new reports, edit existing reports, and maintain and develop the solution going forward. The whole project was completed in just five days.

“ Having the Esri UK EPS on site meant that we could try out different approaches and rapidly iterate the solution. The new ReportIT tool is already having an impact on our operations and thanks to the training from the EPS, we now have the capability to adapt our solution as needs change in the future

Debbie White – Interim Customer Relationship Team Manager, Aylesbury Vale District Council

The Benefits

Speed
The EPS helped AVDC rapidly assimilate the latest technology. Reporting and resolution processes are now smoother and faster as there are fewer queries, errors and wasted trips.

Flexibility
The council’s requirements are sure to evolve over time and it is well equipped to change the functionality of the solution as needed in the future. Yet AVDC is not dependent on permanent IT resources for ongoing development and support.

Improved service to residents
Residents can now report problems and track progress at a time of their own choosing. Their concerns and problems are now resolved by AVDC more quickly and with minimum need for discussion.

Reduction in contact volumes
The map-based tool helps residents report correctly – so that AVDC does not have to process reports that are outside its jurisdiction. Costly duplicate reporting is avoided and further questions and clarifications are minimised.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Thames Water

Improving the efficiency and quality of asset maintenance

Thames Water, the UK’s largest water and wastewater services provider, has cut the time required to survey a pipe bridge from 7-10 days to 2-3 hours, while also improving data quality. Consequently, it can now implement a proactive, condition-based maintenance programme to significantly reduce costs and enhance customer satisfaction.

Thames Water has rapid access to accurate, consistent and complete data on thousands of pipe bridges

Maintenance jobs can be prioritised based on condition and planned proactively to reduce pipe bursts

Employees and contractors can perform pipe repairs more cost efficiently and safely

The Challenge

Throughout London and the Thames Valley region there are over 5,000 bridges that convey fresh or waste water pipes over roads, rivers, canals and gorges. Thames Water wanted to implement a more proactive programme of repairs and upgrades to improve the condition of these bridge-based assets, but did not have a complete, centralised source of information about them that it could use to inform its maintenance planning.

Previously, pipe bridges had been surveyed by Thames Water’s regional teams using paper-based sheets in the field. Employees then typed up their surveys when they returned to the office, wasting time with the potential of manual data entry errors. By centralising its pipe bridge survey process, Thames Water aimed to furnish its master asset database with accurate information on all 5,000 pipe bridges and filter out regional variations in the type and quality of data collected.

“ With Esri UK’s help, not only did we solve the problem of the pipe bridges project, but we also gained a degree of self-sufficiency so that we can go on to develop similar projects within the business in the future

Lawrence Smith – Technical Information Manager, Thames Water

The Solution

Thames Water decided to use a GIS-based mobile data collection app that would integrate with its existing centralised ArcGIS database. The solution had to be highly intuitive as it would be used by employees and contractors within eight2O, an alliance of Thames Water, industry partners and joint ventures, formed to deliver a suite of infrastructure investment programmes on behalf of Thames Water.

With minimal consultancy support from Esri UK’s Professional Services team, Thames Water succeeded in developing a Pipe Bridges Validation app in just 14 working days, while also gaining invaluable new GIS skills. “This was our first foray into GIS online and we saw the project as a pilot with intent,” says Dr Lawrence Smith, Technical Information Manager at Thames Water. “With Esri UK’s help, not only did we solve the problem of the pipe bridges project, but we also gained a degree of self-sufficiency so that we can go on to develop similar projects within the business in the future.”

Now in use throughout all of Thames Water’s regions, the Pipe Bridges Validation app draws in existing asset information from ArcGIS Server to partially populate the survey ‘form’ on mobile devices. Employees edit, correct and supplement this information while in the field and, as key fields are mandatory, Thames Water is able to ensure that each pipe bridge survey records the same attributes and information. The data collected is then made available to a secondary app in ArcGIS Online for checking and verification, before being transferred without any additional data entry, into the master database in ArcGIS Server. Managers have a range of reporting tools that they can use to track the progress of surveys and see where survey teams are working at all times.

“ We now have incredibly rapid access to survey data that is complete, accurate and consistent for all the thousands of pipe bridges under our responsibility

Lawrence Smith – Technical Information Manager, Thames Water

The Benefits

Rapid collection of accurate asset information
The new Pipe Bridge Validation app has significantly reduced the time lapse between data collection in the field and the availability of that data at head office. Thames Water estimates that it used to take 7 to 10 days to capture survey information using the previous paper-driven method, but now validated data from completed pipe bridge surveys is available centrally in just 2 or 3 hours. “We now have incredibly rapid access to survey data that is complete, accurate and consistent for all the thousands of pipe bridges under our responsibility,” Smith says.

Proactive asset maintenance to enhance customer satisfaction
With improved pipe bridge data, Thames Water is now able to implement a proactive, condition-based asset maintenance programme that is, in time, expected to contribute to enhanced customer satisfaction. The company can prioritise repairs on the pipe bridges that are in the worst condition, minimising the likelihood of sudden pipe bursts or pollution incidents that might lead to customer complaints or reputational damage. With fewer complaints and service issues, Thames Water can improve its Ofwat customer index score.

Sustainable cost efficiencies in planned maintenance activities
Maintenance activities can also be undertaken far more cost efficiently, due to effective planning. Managers within both Thames Water and eight2O have better information to enable them to assign the correct maintenance plan to each pipe bridge, gain the necessary access permissions in advance and dispatch the right teams with the appropriate equipment and materials. Consequently, engineers are less likely to waste time sitting in their vans waiting for landowners to unlock access gates and will avoid having to make unnecessary repeat trips because they have the wrong materials in their vans for the type of pipe on the bridge.

Greater employee, contractor and public safety
In the new GIS-led process, surveyors take photos of pipe bridges and these images – along with supplementary data captured in the field – help to improve understanding of potential hazards at pipe bridges. When going out to each new maintenance job, employees and contractors from Thames Water and eight2O will now be better informed about what to expect and can ensure they have the right safety equipment with them to protect themselves and the general public during essential works.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study


ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Colas Ltd

Proactively managing assets to reduce costs and improve public safety

The civil engineering business Colas uses solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it undertake pre-emptive maintenance of thousands of assets over a 480km network of roads in Portsmouth. This proactive and strategic approach to asset management helps the company to reduce costs, improve public safety and deliver a high quality of service for Portsmouth City Council.

Colas can collect and share accurate, detailed information about ageing and deteriorating assets

Maintenance tasks can be scheduled more intelligently, to improve long term efficiency

Public safety is ensured as potential faults can be proactively repaired, before they cause incidents

The Challenge

Colas is responsible for the management and maintenance of Portsmouth’s highway infrastructure through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) with Portsmouth City Council. Under the terms of this contract the company has to uphold the quality of more than 480km of roads, 16,000 street lights and 84 structures, and carry out extensive roadworks, ranging from the resurfacing of major junctions to the clearing of drains, until 2029.

Committed to sustaining a high quality road infrastructure for people living, working and travelling in Portsmouth, Colas wanted to be able to focus on more than just implementing reactive repairs. It aimed to build an optimised and efficient process that would allow it to identify and implement asset repairs on a more proactive basis. The company had previously invested in Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it manage and visualise assets, not only for the Portsmouth PFI contract, but across all its projects and joint ventures in the UK and Ireland. So, pushing ahead from this solid foundation, it elected to make ArcGIS a key element of its proactive asset management solution.

“ We can make better informed decisions about which assets to maintain and when, on a proactive basis, which ultimately helps us to be more efficient

Dan Winslow – ICT Product Development Manager, Colas

The Solution

Every year, Colas carries out a comprehensive survey of the highways assets in Portsmouth, in which the asset condition is graded from good to unsatisfactory. In the proactive asset maintenance process, this information is now loaded into Esri’s Collector App for ArcGIS, to enable Colas’ own team of specialist highways inspectors to visit and check all those assets graded poor or unsatisfactory. Using the Collector App, the inspectors can take accurate location references, upload pictures, verify the condition of assets and add supplementary information, all while in the field.

There is no need for inspectors to take notes on paper and, consequently, no need for them to waste time typing up survey reports back in the office. All the Service Inspection information collected is automatically transferred from the Collector App to ArcGIS Server in the company’s head office and visualised on interactive maps. Office-based employees can then perform analysis, improve their understanding of maintenance requirements across an area of more than 40km2 and use this insight to prioritise and plan proactive maintenance activities.

Colas makes its Service Inspection data available to over 120 employees using Esri’s ArcGIS Online web portal, so that everyone working on the Portsmouth PFI has access to the latest and most accurate asset information.
Finally, Colas also provides a login to ArcGIS Online for Portsmouth City Council, which helps the two organisations to maintain a co-operative working relationship.

“ By using ArcGIS to collect data and inform our maintenance scheduling process, we can get to and repair assets before they become a safety issue

Dan Winslow – ICT Product Development Manager, Colas

The Benefits

By using ArcGIS for its proactive maintenance process – to collect, visualise, analyse and share data – Colas has gained a number of operational advantages including:

A shared understanding of asset quality
Colas now has far more accurate and extensive data available about the condition of old and deteriorating assets within the highways network in Portsmouth. Each asset graded poor or unsatisfactory can be quickly and efficiently surveyed in the field, and up-to-the-minute information about more than 70 different categories of assets can be made instantly available to employees, contractors and the council online. “The use of ArcGIS for our Service Inspections has helped us to become an asset driven business,” says Dan Winslow, ICT Product Development Manager at Colas. “We can also share our asset knowledge with Portsmouth City Council, which helps us deliver a transparent and high quality of service.”

More efficient business operations
Only repairing assets when they cause problems on the network can be very ineffective, as faults may occur anywhere in the city, at any time of the day or night – and often need rapid attention. By using ArcGIS Server to visualise and analyse its Survey Inspection data, Colas can now plan maintenance activities more strategically, by location. “Our proactive repairs process allows us to work in a smarter, more agile way than we did before,” Winslow says. “We can make better informed decisions about which assets to maintain and when, on a proactive basis, which ultimately helps us to improve services for citizens.”

The ability to ensure public safety
Significantly, Colas’ proactive asset maintenance process plays a key role in helping the organisation to maintain public safety in Portsmouth. “The process enables us to address issues that may not currently be causing issues to traffic or pedestrians, but that due to their evolving condition, could become safety concerns in the future,” Winslow explains. “By using ArcGIS to collect data and inform our maintenance scheduling process, we can get to and repair assets before they become a safety issue.”

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study


ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Fera Science

By creating custom web apps for our clients, we empower them to make the best decisions to protect the environment, improve agricultural yield and manage land sustainably.

Conveying scientific evidence from drones to decision makers

The agri-food research company Fera Science has developed a GIS-based web app to share high resolution imagery from an Unmanned Aerial System with a range of government and commercial clients. The solution gives decision makers a deeper understanding of complex environmental and agricultural challenges, so they can plan more effectively to protect our natural resources and food security.

A root vegetable grower can identify inconsistencies in crop sowing to increase future food production

A government agency can survey and protect endangered trees more cost effectively

A large landowner can plan a more sustainable business expansion, while improving safety

The Challenge

In a world challenged by population growth, pollution and climate change, Fera Science provides accurate, scientific evidence to support critical decisions in the agriculture and environment industries. It delivers research data and advice for 7,500 government and commercial organisations, helping them to increase food production, ensure water quality, maintain food nutrition and sustain our natural resources.

Every year Fera undertakes over 600 research assignments and, in the Land Use and Sustainability Team specifically, nearly half of all projects involve the collection and analysis of remotely sensed imagery. To supplement the use of imagery from satellites and manned aircraft, Fera acquired an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), capable of taking higher resolution spatial images at a significantly lower cost than a piloted aircraft. However, to optimise the value of its new UAS services, Fera needed a way to make the high quality imagery and analysis available to clients, in a format that they could interrogate, interpret and ultimately use to make better-informed decisions.

“ Esri’s Web AppBuilder enables us to produce web apps easily in-house, without the need for support and bespoke code from specialist app developers

Lee Butler – GIS Specialist, Land Use and Sustainability Team, Fera

The Solution

Fera has been using solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform for many years and has an Enterprise Licence Agreement with Esri UK that gives it unlimited access to Esri’s full software portfolio. Taking advantage of Esri’s Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, the company designed a web app that allows clients to view data from the UAS, zoom in to the full resolution of the imagery, turn on map layers and view attributes specifically relating to their projects. A typical 25-minute UAS flight generates over 6GB of data, comprising up to 3,000 individual photographs that are mosaicked together to create a single, seamless image.

The simplicity of the ArcGIS Web AppBuilder means that Fera can quickly build a bespoke web app for each client to include ‘widgets’ that allow decision makers to perform analysis tasks, such as counting trees or crops in a custom-defined area. “Esri’s Web AppBuilder enables us to produce web apps easily in-house, without the need for support and bespoke code from specialist app developers,” says Lee Butler, a GIS Specialist within Fera’s Land Use and Sustainability Team.

“ The ArcGIS web apps allow our clients to interact with, interrogate and analyse the imagery collected by the drone, which they couldn’t do previously

Lee Butler – GIS Specialist, Land Use and Sustainability Team, Fera

The Benefits

An efficient and high quality service for clients
The use of ArcGIS web apps enables Fera to deliver a UAS imaging service for its clients that is as cutting-edge and professional as its scientific research methods. Furthermore, as Fera no longer has to manually produce paper and pdf maps, it saves up to 10 hours every month and can deliver its UAS imagery to clients more promptly. “The ArcGIS web apps allow our clients to interact with, interrogate and analyse the imagery collected by the UAS, which they couldn’t do previously,” Butler says. “It allows them to acquire a far deeper understanding from the aerial imagery and gain added value from our services.”

Increased agricultural crop yields
One of the first companies to benefit from Fera’s web app is an agricultural company that grows potatoes and root vegetables. After the UAS flew over two large potato crop fields, the client used the web app to assess planting efficiency and automatically count plants, so that it could estimate yield more accurately and provide better forecasts to its customers. Using the ArcGIS web app, the client identified unexpected gaps in fields, where the planting machinery had not planted in a uniform manner throughout the crop and at the start of planting rows. Enlightened, it is now using this new information to review its planting techniques to increase crop yields for next year.

More cost efficient environmental surveys
Another of Fera’s clients, a government agency, is using the web app to help it monitor the outbreak of pests and disease in trees more cost efficiently and protect British woodlands. The UAS flies over areas where there are confirmed or suspected incidents of tree disease. The imagery is then processed and classified to tree species using imagery classification techniques. Tree inspectors can then view the imagery using the ArcGIS web app to identify the precise locations of tree species that are susceptible to that particular disease. Using this newly-gained insight, inspectors can plan their surveys more effectively to save time and money. They can even access the web app in the field using web-connected tablets, to help them find potentially infected trees more quickly.

Safe and sustainable land use
The ArcGIS web app can in fact be invaluable in supporting the use of UAS imagery in all kinds of land use projects. For instance, it is currently being used by a quarrying company in County Durham, where the UAS captured images over a 174 hectare site. Senior executives at the quarry use the ArcGIS web app to better interpret imagery in 2D and 3D and make decisions relating to the ongoing, sustainable use and future expansion of the site. They also use the app to brief visitors and members of staff about the locations of potential hazards, which helps to improve health and safety.

Phone

Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599

E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

South Ayrshire logo

South Ayrshire Council

Esri Story Maps have put energy and imagination into our communications with citizens, local businesses and employees.

Inspiring citizens to engage with policies

Using configurable apps from Esri, South Ayrshire Council has developed over 25 informative Story Maps to communicate information to citizens, businesses and its own employees. These highly versatile, interactive maps don’t just tell a story; they engage people in local issues, support the local economy and improve the efficiency of council operations.

The council has increased citizen engagement in key policies such as the Local Development Plan

Key events are publicised more inventively, increasing visitor numbers and boosting tourism

Employees work efficiently and save money, with improved understanding of corporate policies

The Challenge

All local authorities in the UK need to engage successfully with citizens, to keep them informed about policies, events and opportunities. Likewise, councils have to communicate effectively with local and national businesses, giving them the information they need to help them expand their operations, exploit new business opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of the region. But, as most local authorities in the UK will attest, it can be difficult to attract and sustain the attention of these external audiences.

South Ayrshire Council was acutely aware of the challenges of sharing information and getting local people to engage with its policies. In particular, it wanted to increase public awareness of its Local Development Plan, a strategic policy document that sets out the council’s land use priorities. It had published a copy of the plan on its website, but this pivotal document – which could potentially impact on the lives, homes and businesses of over 111,000 people in South Ayrshire – was only downloaded 1,500 times in 12 months.

“ The genius of the Esri Story Map is the tying together of maps, images and text, in one place, in an interactive format

Stewart McCall – Senior Systems Analyst, South Ayrshire Council

The Solution

A longstanding user of Esri geographic information system (GIS) solutions, South Ayrshire Council discovered Esri’s Story Map templates and recognised their potential value as a means of making information much more accessible and meaningful for citizens. “The genius of the Esri Story Map is the tying together of maps, images and text, in one place, in an interactive format,” says Stewart McCall, Senior Systems Analyst at the council. “The narrative beside the interactive map makes it very clear what the map shows and why it is important, while the images draw people in and make the Story Maps compelling to view.”

The council began by producing a Story Map for its Local Development Plan that combines maps of the area with high quality images and the actual policy wording. Accessed via the council website, the Story Map clearly sets out where new commercial developments, like retail units, will be permitted, advises on the best sites for wind farms and simplifies policy around residential planning restrictions. In recognition of this ground-breaking new approach to publishing the Local Development Plan, South Ayrshire Council was named the overall winner in the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2016.

Within weeks the GIS team became inundated with requests for additional Story Maps from other council departments, ranging from procurement to housing. Interestingly, these requirements weren’t all for Story Maps to engage with external audiences; demand also emerged for Story Maps to help communicate information to council employees. According to McCall, there is now “at least one new Story Map request every ten days,” so he has trained ten colleagues, from a cross-section of departments, to help him keep pace with demand.

“ We now have a rapidly growing portfolio of over 25 Story Maps that play a valuable role in improving communications with citizens, businesses and colleagues

Stewart McCall – Senior Systems Analyst, South Ayrshire Council

The Benefits

Increased citizen engagement in local issues
Story Maps have proven highly effective in encouraging citizens to become better informed about and more involved in local issues. The Local Development Plan Story Map, for instance, was viewed nearly 4,500 times in just six months and was accessed more times in the first five weeks than the pdf plan had been downloaded in 12 months. Another Story Map, produced to clarify proposed ward boundary changes, incorporated Esri’s QuestionWhere survey app, and provided a direct means for citizens to comment on and influence council plans.

A welcome boost for the local economy
As well as the Local Development Plan, South Ayrshire Council has produced a Story Map that shows vacant land and derelict sites. The clarity of the information presented in Story Maps like these makes it far easier for home owners and commercial organisations to recognise development opportunities, understand council policies and make appropriate planning applications that are more likely to obtain planning permission. In time, the council anticipates that its Story Maps will help increase the number of commercial, industrial and residential developments in South Ayrshire and invigorate the economy of the region.

Highly attractive and captivating publicity for South Ayrshire
Enriched with quality imagery, the Story Maps help to promote South Ayrshire as a destination for visitors and support the local tourism industry. For instance, the council created a Story Map for the Open Golf Tournament, converting information from a dense 40-page Traffic Management document into a highly visual, interactive resource. The Story Map clarified how to get to the venue, where to park and how to use public transport and was viewed over 5,000 times in just two weeks.

More effective employee communications
Recent Story Maps, developed for internal use, have significantly improved employees’ understanding of corporate policies and procedures, contributing in some cases towards cost savings. One example is the Story Map named ‘Better Mail Management,’ which shows employees how to handle mail and where to find franking machines, guiding them to the most cost effective methods of sending mail. “We now have a rapidly growing portfolio of over 25 Story Maps that play a valuable role in improving communications with citizens, businesses and colleagues,” McCall says.

Phone

Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599

E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Carlow County Council

The council has created ‘Planning GIS’ an advanced, semi-automated planning application management system using ArcGIS, integrated with iPlan.

Transforming the planning application process

At a time when the Irish economy is beginning to revive and new development projects are taking off again, Carlow County Council is set to process a significant increase in planning applications with the same number of employees. It has used Esri’s ArcGIS platform to transform its planning application system and deliver a high quality of service for citizens.

Planners are saving time thanks to automated GIS analysis capabilities

The council has better information to support faster, well informed planning decisions

Citizens, developers and professionals have better access to information online

The Challenge

The IT systems used to process planning applications in the town and county of Carlow in south-eastern Ireland had become outdated. They were slow and unreliable and, to make matters worse, the IT vendor had announced that it would be discontinuing support. So, when Carlow County Council was required to merge with Carlow Town Council in 2014, this significant reorganisation provided precisely the catalyst needed for a brand new approach to managing planning applications.

“ In a recovering economy, we will be able to process a far larger volume of planning applications and deliver a service that is low in cost and high in quality

William Barry – IS Project Leader, Carlow County Council

The Solution

Having used Esri’s ArcGIS Online for nearly two years and been highly impressed by it, Carlow County Council approached Esri Ireland for help in designing and developing a state-of-the-art planning application system, based on geographic information system (GIS) technology. The resulting solution, known internally as ‘Planning GIS’, is based on Esri’s ArcGIS platform, seamlessly integrated with the council’s existing iPlan planning administration  database.

Now, when new planning applications are received, the site location maps are digitised and verified, to make sure that site details are correct.  The planning register is then accessible to employees right across the council and can also be accessed by the general public and commercial organisations via an ArcGIS web map service.

ArcGIS then automatically draws in supplementary information from external sources, including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Office of Public Works and the Department of the Environment. Using these diverse data sets, it automatically analyses the site location, detects potential conflicts, such as proximity to a special area of conservation (SAC) and presents planners with all of the relevant spatial information necessary to make better informed planning decisions.

To further enhance its planning application process, Carlow County Council has scanned and geo-registered its vast collection of old hardcopy planning maps using ArcGIS. Consequently, planners can open these historic maps from within the planning system, turn them on and off, or layer them over up-to-date maps, to gain a clear perspective on land changes over time. “Having ready access to this information is really important,” says William Barry, IS Project Leader at Carlow County Council. “We can see at a glance the planning history of a site and make decisions accordingly about necessary planning conditions.”

 

“ If an area is designated or is located close to a protected structure for example, planners can see that straight away

William Barry – IS Project Leader, Carlow County Council

The Benefits

Planning GIS has delivered significant advantages for Carlow County Council, including:

Greater internal efficiency
The automated analysis capabilities of Planning GIS help to improve the productivity of the council’s planners, by reducing the amount of time required to check site locations for potential environmental or historical conflicts. As Barry explains, this efficiency gain will be particularly important for the council when the number of planning applications increases in the future. “In a recovering economy, we will be able to process a far larger volume of planning applications and deliver a service that is low in cost and high in quality,” he says.

Better-informed decisions
As planners have instant access to the full history of a particular site and all the environmental data that relates to it, in one place, they are able to make faster, better decisions. “Everything we need is there in front of us,” Barry observes. “If an area is designated or is located close to a protected structure for example, planners can see that straight away.”

Added support for developers
Developers, construction firms and other organisations working in the building industry can use the ArcGIS web feature service to view the council’s planning register on demand. Consequently, they don’t have to waste time visiting the planning office for information and have better insight into upcoming projects. As Barry says, the planning application “Helps the local construction industry as a whole, by allowing developers and other professionals to do their jobs more efficiently.”

Improved services for citizens
Employees across all departments in the council can access Planning GIS to help them make better long-term decisions about new road infrastructure projects and other public services, to ensure that investment is made in the right areas to meet the needs of citizens. Equally, individuals and companies, who have applied for planning permission, can now monitor the progress of their applications online and don’t have to keep phoning the council for updates.

More reliable IT
Finally, the council’s IT department is now relieved of the pressure of trying to maintain an IT system that had begun to outlive its usefulness. “Planning GIS is a faster, more responsive and more reliable system,” reports Barry, adding simply, “It just works well.”

Phone

Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599

E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

geohive

OSI GeoHive

Unlocking the economic benefits of geospatial data & maps

Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) has launched a new online mapping service that helps to unlock Ireland’s vast reserves of geospatial data.  Called GeoHive, this free web app is expected to support the recovery of the Irish economy and pave the way for public and private sector organisations to save millions of Euros.

GeoHive provides a single portal to 142 layers of geospatial data from 35 public sector organisations

 

Users can create and share meaningful maps of Ireland, for free, using any PC, laptop or mobile device

The solution presents trusted information to support decisions about new investments in Ireland

The Challenge

OSi is in no doubt of the incredible value that geospatial data can deliver for the Irish economy.  In 2013 it commissioned an Economic Assessment of Ireland’s Geospatial Industry, which concluded that better use of location-based information could lead to annual cost savings of €82m in the public sector, time savings with an economic value of €279m and competition benefits of €104m.  Inspired by these findings, OSi decided to take a lead in making Ireland’s vast geospatial data resources more widely available via the Internet.

The national mapping organisation already had an online map viewer, which attracted over 1.5 million unique visitors a year.  However, the technology behind this web service was becoming out dated and couldn’t deliver digital cartography to tablet and mobile devices.  OSi therefore launched an ambitious project to replace its existing map viewer with a new online portal that would improve the user experience, as well as make third party, public sector data easily accessible from a single location.

“ArcGIS has enabled OSi to deliver a service that has the potential to really boost the value of geospatial data to the Irish economy.”

Colin Bray, chief executive, Ordnance Survey Ireland

The Solution

A long-standing user of Esri geographic information system (GIS) technology, OSi worked closely with Esri Ireland to completely redevelop and modernise its online mapping capability, using Esri’s ArcGIS platform.  Named GeoHive (www.geohive.ie), the new, free-to-use web service now delivers significantly enhanced facilities for users, including a new ‘make your map’ capability.  “For the first time, users can access current and historical OSi maps on their mobile phones and tablets, whenever they need them,” explains Hugh Mangan, general manager of business and marketing, OSi.  “GeoHive also gives users the ability to create maps in a much simpler way, save them and share them instantly with colleagues using any device.”

Most importantly, GeoHive combines OSi mapping with data from a wide range of public sector partners, to create an authoritative national Spatial Data Infrastructure.  “GeoHive is a classic portal, in that it provides an access point to lots of existing sets of spatial data that have already been published,” Mangan says.  “However, it is unique in Ireland in the way that it combines over 142 layers of third party data from 35 public sector bodies and presents them seamlessly to the end user from a single site.”

“GeoHive also gives users the ability to create maps in a much simpler way, save them and share them instantly with colleagues using any device.”

Hugh Mangan – general manager of business and marketing, OSi

The Benefits

Launched on 3rd November 2015 by Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, GeoHive is now enabling OSi to achieve its aspirations.  The online portal delivers:

 Greater access to geospatial information

With the development of GeoHive, OSi is now able to expose many more individuals and organisations to the vast reservoirs of geospatial data that exist in Ireland.   From one single website, users can combine and layer different data sets against the background of up-to-date OSi maps, to uncover fresh insight into situations and easily share that information using mobile devices.

Trusted evidence to support investment decisions

It is anticipated that GeoHive will help to encourage new investments in Ireland, supporting the recovery of the Irish economy.  For example, an industry story map, included in GeoHive, shows information about the working population, skills, infrastructure and transportation.  “If a business owner is considering opening a new office or factory in Galway, GeoHive presents all the information that they need to help them understand the area and make informed decisions,” Mangan says.

Substantial opportunities to make cost savings

OSi is confident that GeoHive will play a key role in helping organisations to improve their efficiency and thereby unlock the significant cost savings opportunities identified in its Economic Assessment of Ireland’s Geospatial Industry.  According to OSi’s chief executive, Colin Bray, “ArcGIS has enabled OSi to deliver a service that has the potential to really boost the value of geospatial data to the Irish economy.  By making location-based data more accessible, useable and meaningful for everyone, GeoHive will help public and private sector organisations to reduce costs, save time and capitalise on new business opportunities.”

Improved public services for citizens

GeoHive enables all participating public sector organisations to deliver a better customer service, by making their data more accessible to a wider number of potential users.  Citizens can not only find public information more easily, but also have simple-to-use tools to help them apply it to their areas of interest and make informed choices that will enrich their lives.  Summing up, Mangan observes, “GeoHive provides a window to a wider world.”

Phone

Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599

E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Knight Frank

We guide our commercial clients towards the locations that will deliver the greatest profits and least business risk using evidence amassed from ArcGIS.

Supporting the profitable expansion of major retailers

The independent real-estate consultancy Knight Frank is using Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help leading retail organisations find the most advantageous sites for new stores across the UK. By performing geospatial analysis on a wide range of factors, the firm can guide its clients quickly towards precisely those locations that are most likely to maximise profitability and reduce risk.

Knight Frank provides in-depth, location-specific analysis so retailers can make better informed decisions

Clients have all the information they need to choose locations that will maximise their profitability

Retailers can react quickly to secure the most advantageous sites in UK high streets and shopping centres

The Challenge

Named ‘Global Real Estate Adviser of the Year 2016’ in the annual Estates Gazette Awards, Knight Frank is one of the world’s leading independent real-estate consultancies, with 411 offices in 59 countries and 14,000 employees. More than 50% of Knight Frank’s business relates to commercial property, so it is vitally important for the company to be able to provide highly professional and value-added services for commercial clients.

From experience, Knight Frank knew that many commercial organisations have an unstructured approach to choosing locations for their business premises or retail outlets. Businesses often have a choice of potential sites throughout the UK and around the world for new properties, but, for a range of reasons, are not able to adopt a standard approach that considers the suitability, and likely profitability, of potential sites in a comparable way. As a result, businesses cannot quickly hone in on the most suitable locations, which increases costs and accentuates business risks.

To address this issue, Knight Frank’s Commercial Research Department, based at the company’s UK headquarters, set out to develop a structured, evidence-led approach to qualifying potential new business locations. It wanted to make relevant, meaningful, client-specific information available to its internal teams, enabling them to deliver superior property services for commercial clients, which include food retailers, leisure stores and chains of coffee shops.

“ With the evidence we provide from ArcGIS, our clients can have greater confidence in their decisions and can pick the locations that will offer the least risk and greatest potential profitability

James Nolan – Senior Geospatial Analyst, Commercial Research Department, Knight Frank

The Solution

Knight Frank uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform for its location analysis services primarily due to its flexibility, as James Nolan, Senior Geospatial Analyst at Knight Frank, explains. “For the breadth of analysis that we wanted to do and the diverse range of clients that we work with, we needed a highly flexible resource,” he says. “ArcGIS has advanced geospatial tools and allows us to input data from a variety of sources. It’s a very powerful, very flexible GIS.”

The firm now uses Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop and hosted services from Esri UK to:

  • Create highly targeted, detailed and client-specific databases, including data such as demographics, existing business premises and competitor locations
  • Perform geospatial analysis to assess the proximity of target customers and create catchment areas
  • Generate travel isochrones which are added as layers of information on a multi-dimensional map
  • Include research into changing consumer and retail trends, such as the spending patterns of millennials and the growth of the discount food retail sector
  • Use Esri’s viewing software, Arc Scene, to interpret the distance and time taken to travel between sites
  • Hone the results by adding or removing criteria, to precisely identify the best business locations

“ ArcGIS puts Knight Frank in a stronger position to advise its clients quickly about the suitability of available sites

James Nolan – Senior Geospatial Analyst, Commercial Research Department, Knight Frank

The Benefits

Higher quality, evidence-based property services
Through its use of ArcGIS, Knight Frank is now able to pinpoint the optimum business locations for specific organisations and thereby offer an enhanced quality of service for its commercial clients. It can combine research into the consumer behaviour of millennials, or the activities of competitors, with detailed population statistics to identify up-to-the-minute opportunities for retailers and then present thorough, relevant analysis to help its clients make well-informed decisions about new retail ventures.

Reduced risk in multi-million pound investments
Critically, Knight Frank’s structured, GIS-led approach helps to reduce risk for clients, in what can be multi-million pound investment decisions. For instance, once a potential new location for an established retailer has been identified, Knight Frank can find an existing store with a similar demographic and geographic profile. If this comparable store is doing well financially, the client has some reassurance that the risk of business failure at the new location is low. “With the evidence we provide from ArcGIS, our clients can have greater confidence in their decisions and can pick the locations that will offer the least risk and greatest potential profitability,” Nolan says.

Faster time-to-market for commercial enterprises
Knight Frank is able to carry out almost all of its location analysis using ArcGIS, third-party intelligence and publically available data sets, before sending surveyors out into the field. This combination not only results in significant cost efficiencies, but also speeds up the location search process, allowing clients to secure the most advantageous sites ahead of their competition and reduce their time to market. “When retail units in popular shopping malls and key high streets become available, there can be strong competition from multiple retailers for that location,” Nolan explains. “ArcGIS puts Knight Frank in a stronger position to advise its clients quickly about the suitability of available sites.”

Phone

Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599

E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

galway-logo1

Galway County Council

Safeguarding lives and property from devastating floods

When exceptional flooding occurred in the west of Ireland, Galway County Council employed Esri’s ArcGIS platform to coordinate a fast and effective emergency response.  The council’s rapid and intelligent use of mobile and web GIS technology helped it protect property and safeguard lives during the crisis.

The GIS solution improved public safety by making up-to-date flood information instantly accessible to everyone

ArcGIS supported multi-agency coordination during the emergency, leading to better decision making

GIS helped give the public, partners and employees confidence in the council’s ability to handle the incident

The Challenge

In December 2015, a chain of severe storms swept across the county of Galway, causing devastating floods. 472 properties became cut off, 62 homes were flooded and major transportation routes became impassable, leading to significant concerns for public safety.

Right from the outset, when the first flood warnings were issued, Galway County Council was acutely aware of the challenges it would face. A similar flooding incident had occurred in the county six years before and, on that occasion, the council had struggled to collect data about the rising flood water quickly enough to support the emergency response. It also hadn’t had an effective mechanism for sharing information with the public and stakeholders. This time, however, the council was better prepared. It had recently implemented new geographic information system (GIS) technology from Esri Ireland, which gave it the ability to react incredibly quickly to the emerging crisis.

“The out-of-the-box functionality of ArcGIS allows us to develop new GIS web services and apps at a moment’s notice and address the challenges of a rural county, as they occur.”

Mark Conroy – IS project leader, Galway County Council

The Solution

Galway County Council had replaced all of its separate, multi-vendor GIS packages with Esri’s ArcGIS platform. In tandem, it had used ArcGIS server to create the council’s first centralised store of spatial information, eliminating multiple databases, removing data duplication and making a single source of accurate data available to all of the council’s GIS apps. “For the first time, ArcGIS gave us seamless integration of data and GIS services across mobile, desktop, server and web platforms, online and offline,” says Mark Conroy, IS project leader at Galway County Council.

While the 2015 storms still raged over Ireland, the council used ArcGIS to quickly set up a GIS-based web service to capture information about the floods and store it in the cloud using ArcGIS Online. It then used the ArcGIS Collector App to allow regional engineers, technical staff and other council employees to conduct surveys in the field and upload flood details to the web service via their smart phones and tablet devices. At the same time, staff in council offices used ArcGIS desktop to add information about road closures and uploaded new satellite imagery when it became available. All this information was combined on interactive maps in ArcGIS Online, with no manual intervention, and made visible immediately to all staff, partners, the general public and the media.

“Everyone could follow the progress of the flooding, see which roads were closed and plan safer routes accordingly. By enabling us to share flood information instantly, ArcGIS certainly helped us to improve public safety.”

Mark Conroy – IS project leader, Galway County Council

The Benefits

A faster emergency response

The use of ArcGIS enabled Galway County Council to see precisely which homes and businesses were in danger of flooding and deploy resources promptly to those places where they were most needed.  Rather than wasting time collating data and responding to requests for information, staff could instead focus on making arrangements for drains to be cleared, roads to be raised and culverts to be dug. 63 properties were saved from immediate threat in the wake of the storms, thanks to the timely implementation of such protective  measures.

Greater public safety

Galway County Council was able to use Twitter, Facebook, the council web site and local media to direct people to its online flood map and keep citizens informed about areas of risk. “The general public was getting updated information as quickly as we were in the council,” says Conroy. “Everyone could follow the progress of the flooding, see which roads were closed and plan safer routes accordingly. By enabling us to share flood information instantly, ArcGIS certainly helped us to improve public safety.”

Improved  multi-agency coordination

Every day during the height of the crisis, Galway County Council used its ArcGIS maps to help it share situational information with partners including the Office of Public Works, Health Service Executive, the Gardaí and defence forces who were called in to assist. The maps helped the different agencies to better coordinate their activities and make effective decisions. Conroy observes, “Without a doubt, ArcGIS played a key role in helping us to focus on vulnerable households, deliver constructive support and alleviate suffering in the worst affected communities.”

Increased confidence in the council

Now that the flood waters are subsiding, Galway County Council looks back on its handling of the crisis with satisfaction, knowing that no lives were lost in the county. It also has a full GIS-based record of the extent of the flooding, which will help it collaborate with the Office of Public Works to plan flood alleviation and mitigation schemes going forward. “ArcGIS has helped give internal employees, partners and the general public confidence in thecouncil’s ability to manage floods and other similar emergencies,” Conroy notes. “When the next incident arises, we can be confident that we have the ability to handle it quickly and effectively.”

Phone

Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599

E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a 60-day free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform