Category Archives: ROI

Transport for London

Our enterprise wide deployment of ArcGIS is helping us to make more informed decisions to deliver a £4 billion road modernisation plan.

Delivering a £4 billion Road
Modernisation Plan

An enterprise deployment of Esri’s ArcGIS platform is helping Transport for London to transform the quality of London’s roads for residents, commuters and visitors alike. Using GIS, the organisation’s employees can make better operational and planning decisions, accelerate road improvement schemes and reduce disruption for road users.

TfL has created a GIS web app that improves decision making by making project information more accessible

Employees within TfL and borough councils can collaborate and work more efficiently

TfL can minimise disruption for road users by ensuring that works are well planned and coordinated

The Challenge

In 2014, Transport for London (TfL) embarked on a £4 billion Road Modernisation Plan that encompasses hundreds of separate projects to improve the capital’s roads, tunnels, bridges, pedestrian areas and cycle paths, over a period of at least six years. The scheme will completely transform the surface transportation network in London, making it fit for the increasing demands of a growing population.

To ensure the success of this highly ambitious programme, the organisation recognised the need for one single, central source of information that would provide a clear, up-to-date picture of which schemes were taking place, where and when. It was vital for the success of the plan for multiple project teams to be able to collaborate to coordinate simultaneous projects, balance numerous priorities and minimise public inconvenience. The Solution Rather than just develop a stand-alone, web-based geographic information system (GIS) application to meet its immediate business requirement, TfL decided to first develop a corporate, server-based GIS platform and then build its web app on that foundation. This well considered, far-sighted and undoubtedly strategic decision multiplied the benefits from TfL’s GIS investment exponentially.

TfL developed its enterprise GIS platform, known internally as GIS-as-a-service, using Esri’s ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS solutions, with support and specialist advice from Esri UK. It then used Esri’s web application templates to build an internal, intranet-based web app called the Surface Playbook that enables employees to view 170 plus layers of project and asset data on interactive street maps. Subsequently, TfL used Esri’s ArcGIS Online solution to create an external version of the Surface Playbook for London borough councils, which displays 40 data layers that are directly pertinent to the Roads Modernisation Plan.

The internal Surface Playbook app is now being used by over 1000 employees, from multiple different teams in the Surface Transport division, as well as other sections of TfL. The external version of the Surface Playbook is currently being trialled by 27 local authorities. Users of both solutions can select a location on the interactive map and use a slider tool to view all current and planned schemes or works at different points in time. Then, they can simply click on the map to access asset and other project information, all from one place, for the first time.

“ Our ArcGIS platform is already transforming our business and will continue to support the aspirations of the business

The Solution

Rather than just develop a stand-alone, web-based geographic information system (GIS) application to meet its immediate business requirement, TfL decided to first develop a corporate, server-based GIS platform and then build its web app on that foundation. This well considered, far-sighted and undoubtedly strategic decision multiplied the benefits from TfL’s GIS investment exponentially.

TfL developed its enterprise GIS platform, known internally as GIS-as-a-service, using Esri’s ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS solutions, with support and specialist advice from Esri UK. It then used Esri’s web application templates to build an internal, intranet-based web app called the Surface Playbook that enables employees to view 170 plus layers of project and asset data on interactive street maps. Subsequently, TfL used Esri’s ArcGIS Online solution to create an external version of the Surface Playbook for London borough councils, which displays 40 data layers that are directly pertinent to the Roads Modernisation Plan.

The internal Surface Playbook app is now being used by over 1000 employees, from multiple different teams in the Surface Transport division, as well as other sections of TfL. The external version of the Surface Playbook is currently being trialled by 27 local authorities. Users of both solutions can select a location on the interactive map and use a slider tool to view all current and planned schemes or works at different points in time. Then, they can simply click on the map to access asset and other project information, all from one place, for the first time.

“ ArcGIS has enabled us to create a flexible, scalable and sustainable foundation for the future

Fiona Clowes – GIS Manager, Transport for London

Benefits

Better informed decision making
The Surface Playbook brings together information previously held in different systems and departments, in mixed formats, and makes it accessible to everyone. Consequently, teams can make better informed decisions about where and when to carry out works, to avoid duplicated effort and speed up the completion of planned schemes. “Surface Playbook provides a comprehensive picture of our road network, assets, current works and projects in one place, giving employees the best information from which to make important planning and operational decisions,” says Fiona Clowes, GIS Manager at TfL.

Improved operational efficiency
Employees save time as they no longer have to check multiple systems and manually collate information or send information requests to other departments. Likewise, they don’t have to request specific maps from the GIS team and wait for them to be produced, as they can gain all the maps they need from Surface Playbook and use them to collaborate more easily with colleagues. Employees in boroughs can also use the external Surface Playbook to improve the efficiency of their own road management programmes, further extending the benefits of the GIS.

Less disruption for road users
Ultimately, by helping to ensure that projects are well planned and coordinated, the Surface Playbook will help TfL to minimise the impact of road improvement works on the travelling public. Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport, TfL says: “26 million journeys take place in London every day. The Surface Playbook is a vital tool that will help us to deliver our £4 billion Road Modernisation Plan, reduce disruption for road users and keep London moving.”

A platform for future aspirations
The creation of the corporate GIS platform has transformed the way that the whole organisation views spatial data, as Clowes explains. “GIS has gone from being a desktop application used by a single team to being a fully-embedded enterprise-wide IT system, available to the entire business.”

Most significantly, the GIS platform has paved the way for TfL to introduce many more apps that will add value for the business in the months and years ahead, in areas such as CCTV, road work permits and other line of business apps. “ArcGIS has enabled us to create a flexible, scalable and sustainable foundation for the future,” Clowes comments. “Our ArcGIS platform is already transforming our business and will continue to support the aspirations of the business.”

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Westminster City Council: Waste Management

Our innovative use of GIS has helped deliver a new approach to waste services procurement which could contribute to avoided costs of £2 million a year.

Maximising value for money with a new approach to waste services procurement

Westminster City Council has made innovative use of GIS to help ensure that new tenders for its £225 million waste disposal contracts offer the best possible value for money. It anticipates that its new approach to waste services procurement could contribute to avoided costs of up to £2 million a year.

– Waste Management –


Case study – Local Government


ArcGIS allows the council to make more informed decisions about supplier appointments

The GIS-enabled project has given the council rapid insight into complex public service requirements

By using ArcGIS, the council avoided the need to pay external consultancy fees of £20,000

The Challenge

Every year, a staggering 190,000 tonnes of rubbish are generated by households and businesses in the City of Westminster, enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall 26 times over. With the two main contracts for the recycling and disposal of this waste coming up for renewal, the council’s cleansing department wanted to make absolutely certain that it selected suppliers who could offer optimum value for taxpayers’ money.

With growing congestion on London’s roads along with high fuel costs, the council realised that travel time to and from vehicle depots, waste treatment sites and recycling facilities was a significant factor influencing the cost of waste disposal services. So, in its tender documents for the new contracts, it wanted to encourage bids from contractors who had sites within a short drive-time of the centre of the borough.

The key challenge for the cleansing department was how to accurately measure drivetimes for its waste collection vehicles, on busy streets, and along hundreds of alternative routes, at different times of the day. The council initially approached a firm of transportation consultants, which quoted £20,000 to undertake a drive-time analysis project. However by consulting the council’s internal geographic information system (GIS) department, the cleansing department realised it had an alternative means of addressing the challenge, using existing resources.

“ ArcGIS Online is helping Westminster City Council to make evidence-based decisions and ensure the effective use of public funds in the management of waste services

Peter Kohler – GIS Lead at Westminster City Council

The Solution

Westminster City Council has been using solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform for many years and the GIS team had recently begun to explore ArcGIS Online. Following a conversation with the council’s cleansing department, Peter Kohler, GIS lead at Westminster City Council, used ArcGIS Online and network routing data for central London to put together an initial proof of concept, based on the average drive-times of cars.

Next, the council’s GIS team incorporated GPS data from its waste collection trucks, which gave it the actual, average speeds of its own vehicles, at different times in the day. It then worked closely with the cleansing department to analyse the data and produced a map (in web and pdf formats), showing a 35-minute drive-time boundary from Marble Arch, the centre of the borough. “ArcGIS Online makes it extremely easy to adjust and produce maps, so the cleansing department could experiment with different drive-time limits and drive-time boundaries at little cost and in little time,” Kohler says.

“ It took me just 15 minutes, and even with this first ArcGIS Online map, the cleansing department was extremely impressed

Peter Kohler – GIS Lead at Westminster City Council

Benefits

Westminster City Council has now embedded the ArcGIS Online map into its tender documents for new waste collection contracts and is giving favourable consideration to bids from contractors with sites within the delineated 35-minute drive-time area. This focused procurement approach is delivering significant benefits including:

Evidence-based decision making

With its new insight into the optimal operation of waste collection vehicles, the council can set meaningful criteria for prospective new contractors and make appointments based on facts. As Kohler says, “ArcGIS Online is helping Westminster City Council to make evidence-based decisions and ensure the most effective use of public funds in the management of waste services.”

Value for money for taxpayers

By appointing contractors with the closest sites, Westminster City Council can minimise the cost of fuel and employee time, and ensure that contracts represent the best possible value for taxpayers’ money. Jarno Stet, Waste Services Manager at Westminster City Council, explains: “The cost implications of selecting contractors with waste treatment sites with unacceptable travel distances could add up to £6 per mile. When this figure is multiplied by the number of miles travelled every year, the number of vehicles we operate, staff labour and overtime cost, the total annual avoided cost could be as much as £2 million.”

Fast insight into complex challenges

ArcGIS Online gave the council a fast and flexible solution to its challenge, enabling it to find the answers to its drive-time question within the tight timescale of the procurement process. “To the waste collection team, this was a very difficult and complex question to ask and they were expecting it to take a long time and cost a lot of money to get an answer,” Kohler says. “Using ArcGIS Online I could turn around a detailed map in minutes for an expenditure of around 30 pence in user credits.”

Return on annual investment in GIS

Whereas external consultants had quoted £20,000 to perform drive-time analysis, Westminster City Council was able to complete the project itself, using its existing licence for ArcGIS Online and the skills of in-house staff. “With the consultancy fee savings from this one small project, we have paid back the council’s entire GIS software spend for the year,” estimates Kohler, adding that, “ArcGIS will continue to add immense value across many of similar projects in other departments in the months ahead.”

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Sovereign Housing Association

ArcGIS adds value right across our organisation, enabling us to plan and build new homes, work efficiently and deliver better services for residents.

Building a successful and responsible housing organisation

Responsible for 38,000 homes across the south and south west of England, Sovereign Housing Association uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform enterprise-wide to help it address a range of business challenges. The solution helps it to deliver more responsive customer services, better understand the needs of tenants and plan strategically for future growth.

Sovereign Housing Association has extended its use of GIS in a strategic, enterprise-wide initiative that is transforming core business operations. Now, the organisation can deliver more responsive customer services, better understand the needs of its residents and plan more strategically to build new homes.

ArcGIS gives the organisation clearer insight into issues faced by tenants and their property requirements

Sovereign can respond more quickly to enquiries from tenants and deliver better customer service

The organisation uses ArcGIS to reveal business development opportunities and share information with local councils

The Challenge

Sovereign manages and maintains more than 38,000 homes across the south and south west of England. Already one of the UK’s largest housing associations, the organisation aims to grow to 50,000 homes by 2018, to help address the critical shortage of affordable property in this part of the country. It is, however, often difficult to identify suitable development sites that will pass the scrutiny of planning authorities, so Sovereign has to be able to work closely with local councils to facilitate its growth plans.

The housing association currently has more than 80,000 residents in its properties and strives to deliver the best possible services to enable these people to live comfortably and happily in their homes. To consistently achieve a high standard of customer service, it needs an accurate understanding of its residents’ needs and concerns, as well as efficient operations so that it can respond quickly and effectively.

“ When we first used ArcGIS Online in a meeting to highlight potential development sites to a team from a local council, their jaws dropped. It was incredible. ArcGIS has opened up a whole world of opportunity and will certainly help us to achieve our planned growth

Andrew Bradley – GIS Manager, Sovereign Housing Association

The Solution

Sovereign had been using geographic information system (GIS) solutions to manage spatial data for some time, but, in the year of its 25th anniversary, it took the strategic decision to exploit the powerful analysis capabilities of GIS more extensively as part of a wide-ranging business transformation programme. It selected a comprehensive suite of solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform, including ArcGIS Server Enterprise Advanced, ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Online, 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst and Network Analyst and began to apply GIS to pressing business challenges.

At the same time, the organisation decided to extend GIS capabilities out to the whole business, aiming to train 500 employees across all parts of its business by summer 2015. With support from Esri UK’s professional services team, Sovereign built a GIS-based web app to deliver accurate information about properties, assets, land and residents to employees working in all departments ranging from housing services to the customer call centre. Available via the company’s secure intranet, this solution gives everyone in the business instant access to up-to-date business information, all in one place, in an easy-to-use interactive map-based format.

“ ArcGIS is adding value right across our organisation and will continue to do so for years to come. It will enable us to plan and build new homes, work efficiently and deliver better services for residents

Andrew Bradley – GIS Manager, Sovereign Housing Association

Benefits

The enterprise-wide use of ArcGIS has begun to transform the way in which employees work and will deliver long-term benefits for the organisation, as Andrew Bradley, GIS manager at Sovereign, explains. “ArcGIS is adding value right across our business and will continue to do so for years to come,” he says. “It will enable us to plan and build new homes, work efficiently and deliver better services for residents.”

Sovereign employs its new ArcGIS solutions to conduct analysis and gain a deeper insight into business issues and tenant needs. For instance, the company collected data on the incomes and living costs of its residents, at all of its different locations, and performed GIS analysis to ascertain the impact that the government’s new ‘benefits cap’ would have on residents over a period of 5-10 years. When the findings were displayed on a digital map with a time lapse slider, the effects of the new policy became clear. “We could see a wave of impact coming out of London over time and identify easily where and when different types of households would start to struggle,” says Bradley. “ArcGIS is a very powerful tool, helping us to better understand and respond to our residents’ needs.”

The enterprise ArcGIS platform is proving particularly beneficial for Sovereign’s strategic asset management group, a team tasked with identifying and qualifying development opportunities. It has successfully used ArcGIS to pinpoint locations where Sovereign-owned land lies adjacent to under-utilised council-owned land. It then uses ArcGIS Online to share this information with councils and commence negotiations about mutually-beneficial new housing projects. Bradley recalls: “When we first used ArcGIS Online in a meeting to highlight potential development sites to a team from a local council, their jaws dropped. It was incredible. ArcGIS has opened up a whole world of opportunity and will certainly help us to achieve our planned growth.”

Now, if residents contact Sovereign with an enquiry about a boundary, employees can quickly check on the Intranet-based GIS and often clarify issues instantly. Previously, such boundary enquiries had to be passed on to the company’s legal team, and responses could take up to 21 days according to the company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). “Our employees are empowered with information that they simply didn’t have before,” Alice Rhodes, GIS Analyst at Sovereign says. “Customers get accurate information much more quickly.”

Finally, ArcGIS is enabling Sovereign to improve its operational efficiency, as all employees can share information much more easily. They no longer have to send emails from team to team requesting data and waste time chasing up further details. Instead, they can simply look up the information they need straight away and work more productively.

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Wiltshire Council

It’s our responsibility to ensure that the tax payer’s money is spent appropriately and Mobile GIS has revolutionised working practices.

Pursuing savings, service improvements and efficiencies

Following the launch of a new data collection solution for mobile workers, Wiltshire Council has identified savings of £275,000, over a five year period, in one department alone. It now plans to roll-out mobile apps to additional business teams in an initiative that is expected to both improve public services and lead to further cost reductions.


Case study – Government


Esri’s ArcGIS Collector app allows teams to collect and edit asset information in the field and makes updates instantly visible to colleagues

Citizens benefit from improved public safety and enjoy council amenities that are more proactively maintained

Plans to extend the use of mobile GIS are expected to contribute to further savings in other departments and a reduction in the council’s carbon footprint

The Challenge

“Everybody matters” according to Wiltshire Council’s well publicised mission statement, and it is this fundamental principle that undoubtedly guides and shapes public services in the county. Like all local government organisations, however, Wiltshire Council has to balance its desire to improve its services with the omnipresent pressure to reduce costs. It also has to consider the environmental impact of its services and minimise its carbon footprint.

The highways team within Wiltshire Council was keen to adopt more mobile working practices to help it deliver a top quality public service more efficiently, and sustainably. The team was working from paper maps in the field and a great deal of time was spent travelling to and from the office, as well as transferring data from paper records to IT systems. Inevitably, data inconsistency issues arose occasionally, and the council didn’t want to risk key decisions being made on asset information that was out-of-date or inaccurate.

“ We have a responsibility to make sure that taxpayers’ money is spent in the best way that it can be. If we are reducing the amount of time and petrol wasted, we can deliver more efficient and proactive services to benefit the population

Julie Seddon – Solutions Manager for Spatial Information at Wiltshire Council

The Solution

Wiltshire Council had been using geographic information system (GIS) technology from Esri UK for the last four years and had an Enterprise License Agreement that gave it unlimited access to Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Therefore, there was no need to invest in any additional software. Matt Rudd and Lauren Wilson from the Spatial Information Team hadn’t developed mobile apps before but, following a one-day JumpStart training programme delivered by Esri UK, they had all the skills and confidence they needed to implement a new mobile GIS.

The solution the council developed specifically for the highways team runs on Samsung tablets and comprises three ArcGIS Collector Apps – drainage, fixed assets (benches, railings, bollards etc.) and play areas. It also includes four supplementary ArcGIS Online Viewer Apps for street litter, grounds maintenance, street cleaning and winter maintenance.

Twenty four highways employees now have access to the mobile apps to identify and plan the areas they wish to survey. Then, once they are at those locations, they use ArcGIS Collector to collect information about specific assets on their tablets, take and save photographs, update records and log changes in the condition of assets as necessary

If highways employees are working in areas with 3G coverage, their asset updates are instantly conveyed to the council’s central GIS. However, when they are working in locations where the mobile signal is poor, such as on Salisbury Plain, their updates are saved on the tablets and synchronised later. Julie Seddon, Solutions Manager for Spatial Information at Wiltshire Council, believes that this capability is critical for successful mobile working. “Wiltshire is such a rural county that offline functionality is absolutely key,” she says.

“ With one central source of master data, we now have up-to-date, accurate drainage and highways asset information that everyone in the council can rely upon. This improves our decision making and, ultimately, the services we deliver to the public

Julie Seddon – Solutions Manager for Spatial Information at Wiltshire Council

Benefits

The Head of Local Highways and Parking Services, Adrian Hampton, calculated that use of the mobile GIS would lead to a £30,000 saving per year on petrol and other travel expenses, as employees no longer have to make so many journeys between the office and the field. Time savings and other process efficiencies contribute a further £24,000 cost reduction, creating a total annual saving of £55,000 or £275,000 over five years. “This is an exceptional result, considering that the highways mobile solution cost just £250 to create in staff time,” says Seddon.

Within months of rolling out the highways solution, it became clear that this practical app could revolutionise the way in which many different council teams worked. The Spatial Information Team therefore started working with other business units, such as emergency planning, and expects to roll-out mobile GIS apps to further teams during the year. The potential five-year savings for the council could therefore increase further in the near future.

Wiltshire Council has yet to calculate the carbon savings that it will achieve from more extensive use of mobile GIS across the unitary authority. However, it is already clear that the reduction in unnecessary journeys and petrol usage will have an important benefit for the environment.

Most significantly, the council has been able to improve its public services, alongside achieving cost and carbon savings. Employees in the highways team can spend more time in the field, managing the conditions of assets, so citizens benefit from better quality amenities like play areas and cycle railings.

Broken equipment can be identified and isolated promptly, so public safety is improved, and the council less exposed to risk. Seddon explains: “If we can proactively capture information about the condition of assets and instigate repairs more quickly, we can reduce claims and safeguard our communities.”

Finally, the highways live master data captured in the field can be shared with all GIS users via ArcGIS Desktop, LocalView Fusion or ArcGIS Collector within the council. “With one central source of master data, we now have up-to-date, accurate drainage and highways asset information that everyone in the council can rely upon,” Seddon enthuses. “This improves our decision making and, ultimately, the services we deliver to the public.”

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Crossrail

We manage hundreds of simultaneous programmes of work in ArcGIS, helping us to manage cost efficiency, ensure site safety and share information securely.

Improving efficiency in a complex £15 billion construction project

The Crossrail project uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform to manage hundreds of simultaneous programmes of work and account for millions of new assets. The organisation has created a range of web, mobile and 3D GIS apps that help manage cost efficiency, ensure site safety and share information securely.

ArcGIS improves the productivity of Crossrail’s Asset Protection Engineers by up to 80%

The Challenge

The £15 billion pound Crossrail project is delivering a new railway for London and the South East of England. Europe’s largest infrastructure project, it encompasses 42km of tunnels and 10 new stations. The finished railway will be an accessible route of 40 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through central London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

A project on this scale requires a geographic information system (GIS) to record and manage the ever-changing inventory of assets and many simultaneous programmes of work. Crossrail’s existing GIS needed to be updated to ensure it was fully compatible with modern browsers and operating systems. The proposed new solution also needed to be more time efficient and offer the cutting-edge capabilities needed.

The use of a temporal slider tool in ArcGIS helps to improve estates management

The Solution

Following a thorough competitive evaluation, Crossrail Ltd entered into an Enterprise Licence Agreement (ELA) with Esri UK. With support from Esri UK’s Professional Services team, it then used Esri’s ArcGIS platform to develop an integrated suite of server-based, desktop, web, mobile and 3D applications in 14 months. The organisation now uses:

  • ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server to prepare data and perform specialist data analysis
  • Portal for ArcGIS to make comprehensive, up-to-date information available to employees, designers and contractors via a secure intranet
  • ArcGIS Mobile and ArcGIS Collector App to allow field-based personnel to see and correct the locations of assets, using mobile devices
  • ArcGIS 3D capabilities to deliver three dimensional visualisations of facilities and their surroundings
  • ArcGIS Online and Esri UK’s Open Data Portal to publish selected content for the general public, media and third parties

Crossrail also elected to use Esri UK’s Data Service, which streams Ordnance Survey background mapping and other contextual data directly into Crossrail’s corporate GIS. The use of this service has rapidly improved the quality of background mapping and reduced the need for time-consuming data management, saving several hundred hours of effort per annum.

An ArcGIS Mobile GIS solution helps to improve site security and public safety

Benefits

The ArcGIS platform has given Crossrail the flexibility to innovate and introduce valueadding GIS services over time. The first of its new solutions are already delivering benefits for the business, such as:

Increased employee productivity
Crossrail’s Asset Protection Engineers now use an ArcGIS-based app to help them produce ground movement reports in response to claims where settlement issues have potentially arisen. The engineer can use the app to select, collate and present all of the information required, resulting in up to 80% less time spent on the report.

Effective estate management
The responsibility for construction sites passes from one contractor to another in different project phases. By using a temporal slider tool in ArcGIS, employees within the organisation can easily see which contractors are responsible for which parcels of land at any one time. The solution therefore improves understanding of liability and reduces the risk of unauthorised occupation over a multitude of construction sites, avoiding unnecessary delays and cost overruns.

More cost efficient operations
In another initiative, Crossrail is using ArcGIS to model facilities in 3D for the first time and prepare an invaluable 3D asset record for the new station operators. The 3D capabilities of ArcGIS have enhanced the understanding of the relationships between assets and facility spaces, enabling them to be maintained more cost efficiently. Infrastructure Managers can also identify and analyse issues on the ground with greater understanding than before.

Improved safety and security
When Crossrail’s employees survey construction sites they use the ArcGIS Collector App on mobile tablets to check the exact boundaries against land records, and enter any observations or on-site variations. Crossrail can then ensure that hoardings are correctly placed to secure sites and help keep the public separate from the works taking place on site. The 3D mapping of stations may also prove critical in the future for helping the station operator.

Clear communication with external audiences
Using the ArcGIS platform, Crossrail can easily share data about its routes, assets, tunnels and stations with third parties, the general public and the media. In the future, the organisation plans to make it possible for partners, such as Transport for London, to consume its data as web services or gain secure access to Crossrail’s central GIS portal. This approach will not only improve collaboration with partners; it is expected to also decrease the time that Crossrail spends managing content for third parties and reduce the risk of decisions being made on the basis of out-of-date information.

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National Grid: Gas Distribution

The rollout of ArcGIS to over 5,000 employees has helped to work more productively, leading to cost savings of £35 million a year.

Re-energising a business with fully integrated GIS systems

National Grid has rolled out Esri’s ArcGIS platform as part of a business transformation programme that is expected to lead to cost savings of around £35 million per year. Up to 5,000 employees now use ArcGIS to work more productively, improve operational efficiency and make better informed decisions.

– Gas Distribution –


Case study – Gas


The Customer

National Grid plc is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. It owns and operates gas distribution assets, which deliver energy to millions of homes and businesses right across Great Britain and the North East USA.

National Grid’s Gas Distribution business has replaced 40 business systems with just four – one of which is ArcGIS – to simplify and optimise its systems landscape

The organisation is saving time and improving its overall efficiency in areas including network design and data capture in the field

The integration of GIS with SAP eliminates data duplication and makes more accurate information available to support decision making

The Challenge

In an industry that is heavily monitored and increasingly competitive, the judgments of the regulator are of utmost importance. Ofgem’s comparator ratings of National Grid’s Gas Distribution business had fallen significantly behind those of its UK peers. Furthermore, National Grid’s customer satisfaction statistics in this division were also lower than both its own expectations and the industry average.

These factors together provided National Grid with compelling evidence of the need for change in its Gas Distribution business. The company wanted to urgently improve its standing with Ofgem, but it also had to start to prepare for the new challenges it would face in the future.

Pete Massey, Director of the company’s Gas Distribution Transformation Programme, explains: “We were not performing as strongly as our peers in the industry, but this wasn’t our only concern. We saw that the world was changing to be much more customer focused, more innovative and cost-conscious. This new world that we were moving into was going to be even more challenging and would stretch our capabilities to the limit, so we knew that we had to transform.”

“ Most of our activities are location based, so we could see we needed to get more of our processes on digital maps and make GIS capabilities accessible to employees right across the business

Pete Massey – Director of Gas Distribution Transformation Programme, National Grid

The Solution

As a core part of its business transformation, National Grid took the radical decision to reduce its business systems from forty to four to create a simplified, standardised and integrated systems landscape. National Grid had been using Esri Geographic Information System (GIS) solutions for many years, and this was the only solution carried forward to the new IT environment. Here, Esri’s ArcGIS software was integrated with the SAP Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system, the SAP Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) and Syclo mobile applications.

The organisation recognised that Esri’s ArcGIS technology was the most intuitive way for users to work with network asset information, so it decided to make mapping technology accessible to the majority of its 5,000 UK employees, including its customer call centre staff and mobile engineers. “Most of our activities are location based, so we could see we needed to get more of our processes on digital maps and make GIS capabilities accessible to employees right across the business,” Massey says.

“ We have reduced a complex nine-step business process to six integrated stages, which has improved our efficiency significantly

Pete Massey – Director of Gas Distribution Transformation Programme, National Grid

Benefits

National Grid has succeeded in fundamentally changing the way that it works. It has redesigned many of its most critical business processes, to significantly improve cost efficiency and employee productivity. National Grid estimates that its entire transformation programme will deliver a cost saving of £35 million per year. “The use of GIS is a key part of this saving and provides new insights into our asset and business performance,” Massey says.

Previously, National Grid created designs for network extensions and replacements on paper and then manually generated the corresponding work orders. Now, engineers design new networks directly on maps in ArcGIS, and the work orders are produced automatically from these digital designs. “We have reduced a complex nine-step business process to six integrated stages, which improves our efficiency,” says Massey. “Our new integrated process also enables us to improve the accuracy of our cost estimates and cost tracking, create more precise network designs, make planned network changes more visible to the entire business and reduce the likelihood of manual errors.”

The use of ArcGIS on portable computers enables National Grid’s mobile engineers to locate assets and jobs much more easily and work more productively. If the ‘as-built’ infrastructure differs from the network plan, data capture technicians can easily mark up any changes on the asset map while in the field. These changes are sent automatically to a central quality assurance team and, from there, asset updates are fed directly into SAP. “The whole process is much slicker and a lot more efficient,” says Massey.

The integration of GIS with SAP eliminates data duplication and inconsistency and makes more accurate asset information accessible to support decision making. Highly intuitive, the GIS design solutions and simpler business processes have been a hit with employees.

“ The whole process is much slicker and a lot more efficient

Pete Massey – Director of Gas Distribution Transformation Programme, National Grid

The Future

National Grid is now considering the creation of online mapping solutions and GISbased ‘apps’, enabling consumers to more easily check the status of works in their neighbourhoods, book appointments and report faults. These new customer services, together with the efficiency and process improvements already achieved, are expected to lead to higher Ofgem rankings, stronger performance against industry peers and rising customer satisfaction.

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Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

The ‘Invite a Neighbour’ training concept provided a cost effective and collaborative training forum for GIS professionals in the local area, helping us develop new skills.

Reducing costs and carbon emissions with a shared approach to training

To support its imminent migration to Esri’s ArcGIS platform, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council arranged for three members of staff to receive professional training from Esri UK. The local authority took advantage of Esri UK’s ‘Invite a Neighbour’ on-site training scheme to reduce its costs, minimise carbon emissions and gain fresh inspiration for new council services.


Case study – Training


The council saved over £1,600 on a training course for three delegates, while also reducing carbon emissions

Delegates improved their skills enabling them to develop new GIS web services

Joint training provided a collaborative forum for sharing ideas with other local GIS professionals

The Challenge

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was no stranger to Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology. Indeed, it had been using solutions from Esri UK for over twenty five years. The organisation was now in the process of migrating to Esri’s latest ArcGIS platform, to give it access to new, more versatile web- and cloud-based GIS services. It realised that this pivotal technology upgrade had the potential to significantly transform the way in which it used GIS to deliver services for citizens.

Given the vital importance of the new GIS platform, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council recognised that it would be beneficial for its GIS specialists to receive ArcGIS training. It wanted to ensure that it had the skills in-house to optimise its use of the new GIS platform, but, like all public sector organisations, it had a limited training budget. Consequently, it feared that the costs associated with paying for employees to travel to a training venue and providing overnight accommodation would make the training course prohibitively expensive.

“ At a time when councils are trying to make cost savings and lessen their carbon footprint, the ‘Invite a Neighbour’ training concept really makes sense

Robert Curtis – GIS Systems Administrator, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

The Solution

The council was already familiar with Esri UK’s on-site training courses, a pragmatic option for organisations looking for a more cost-effective way to train up to twelve employees. It liked the idea of being able to receive training at its own offices but, as it only planned to train three members of staff, it didn’t think this would be feasible. Then the Esri UK training team mentioned its ‘Invite a Neighbour’ programme, a scheme that makes it easy for GIS teams to invite other nearby businesses to join their on-site courses and share the costs and benefits of local, cost-effective training.

Through its participation in a networking group, ‘Hampshire GIS’, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was able to quickly establish that there were GIS professionals at other public sector organisations locally who were also interested in receiving ArcGIS training. Esri UK helped liaise with these organisations and handled all of the necessary course administration, maximising convenience for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council as the host business.

Held in a meeting room at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s offices, the two-day course provided valuable instruction in how to use ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online to create a range of different web services and publish maps on the web. Twelve delegates from seven different organisations attended, and the experienced Esri UK trainer brought all the course materials and exercises pre-loaded on laptop computers.

“ We have gained both the inspiration and skills to advance our use of GIS in the future

Robert Curtis – GIS Systems Administrator, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Benefits

Cost savings for multiple organisations
The shared approach to training enabled seven public sector organisations to reduce the costs associated with training. Robert Curtis, the GIS Systems Administrator at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, says, “When the cost of the course fees, avoided travel and accommodation for three delegates is taken into account, we estimate that we reduced our anticipated training expenditure by over £1,600. The other attending organisations would have made similar savings.”

Reduced carbon impact
The course also enabled the participating councils to minimise their impact on the environment. “At a time when councils are trying to make cost savings and lessen their carbon footprint, the ‘Invite a Neighbour’ training concept really makes sense,” says Curtis. “It enabled us to reduce our training costs, avoid unnecessary expenditure on accommodation and minimise our carbon impact by shortening journeys.”

Greater convenience for delegates
As the training was held at a location not far from any of the participating organisations, delegates were away from their offices for no longer than was absolutely necessary, without wasting any personal time. “When I did a different training session previously, I had to give up my Sunday afternoon to get there in time for Monday morning and didn’t get back until late on the Wednesday evening,” Curtis recalls. “With this course, no-one had to give up their free time, as it was much like a normal working day.”

Improved services for citizens and employees
Most importantly, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council now has the new GIS skills it needs, enabling it to commence the next chapter in the story of its long use of Esri GIS technology. Initially, the council plans to use the new features and capabilities of ArcGIS to redevelop a number of internal and external map viewers that will provide employees and the general public with improved access to local information.

Inspiration for the future
Curtis believes that the course helped to strengthen the local network of Esri users and gave everyone the opportunity to collaborate more closely with local government colleagues facing similar challenges. “As the other course participants were all people we knew, who worked for similar public sector organisations, the training course gave us a great opportunity to share ideas,” he says. “We have gained both the inspiration and skills to advance our use of GIS in the future.”

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South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive

The integration of Web GIS solution into a new customer information portal has enabled us to deliver better customer services more effectively.

Delivering better services for passengers, more cost effectively

Integrated into a new customer information portal, Esri’s ArcGIS technology is helping the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to transform the way that it communicates with customers. The strategic use of web-based GIS is not only delivering more convenient and personalised services for passengers, it is also contributing to savings of over £400,000 a year.

SYPTE now delivers more convenient and personalised information services for customers

The new customer portal provides a much more cost effective way of distributing travel information

ArcGIS helps SYPTE to work efficiently and resolve issues reported by customers more quickly

The Challenge

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is responsible for driving the development of the public transportation network in South Yorkshire and making information about bus, rail and tram services available to over 1.3 million people. The organisation wanted to introduce new information services for passengers, to encourage greater use of public transport. However, at the same time, it also needed to reduce its operating costs, urgently and sustainably.

To address these challenges, SYPTE decided to radically change the way in which it operated, by creating a single customer relationship management (CRM) platform that would centralise all of the organisation’s customer data, systems and processes. It planned to use this CRM not only to support all internal workflows, but also to transform the delivery of customer services via an integrated online customer portal

“ GIS is an essential part of MyTSY, it allows people to navigate easily to the areas they know, visualise routes, plan their journeys and have greater confidence in public transport

Saad Masood – Senior GIS Analyst at SYPTE

The Solution

SYPTE has been a customer of Esri UK for over 20 years and immediately recognised the importance of including geographic information system (GIS) technology at the heart of its customer portal. With support from Esri UK, the organisation used Esri’s ArcGIS Server and JavaScript API for ArcGIS solutions to create a series of GIS web services. It then integrated them tightly with the new central CRM, built on Microsoft Dynamics, to allow two way communications between the customer-facing map views, back-end databases and internal processes.

Named MyTSY (Travel South Yorkshire), the customer portal now allows passengers to access an interactive online map and enter their postcode to find their nearest public transport stops, the best routes and service times. They can also click on the map to initiate communications with SYPTE, such as to report damage at tram stops or request new bus stop locations. The mapping interface has been designed to work on mobile devices, giving passengers the ability to use the customer portal anywhere and at any time.

“GIS is an essential part of MyTSY,” says Saad Masood, Senior GIS Analyst at SYPTE. “It allows people to navigate easily to the areas they know, visualise routes, plan their journeys and have greater confidence in public transport.”

“ ArcGIS has helped us to change the way that people interact with us and enables us to deliver better customer services, more cost-effectively

Saad Masood – Senior GIS Analyst at SYPTE

Benefits

Improved information services for customers
The integration of ArcGIS into the customer portal provides passengers with an easier and more convenient way to access travel information or contact SYPTE. The use of GIS is also helping SYPTE to deliver a new range of more personalised services for its customers. For example, commuters can view the interactive online maps to easily find and record their regular routes and bus stops. Then, when they leave work, they can simply use their smartphones to see exactly how many minutes away their next bus or tram is or see if there are any delays on the route. “People are often quite shocked that they can do this!” Masood admits. “It’s a great example of how GIS helps us to provide improved services for passengers and deliver a better customer experience.”

Reduced cost of customer contact
The MyTSY customer portal provides a much more cost-effective means of distributing travel information and handling customer enquiries than SYPTE’s network of travel information ‘shops’ in towns and cities around the area. “ArcGIS has helped us to change the way that people interact with us and enables us to deliver better customer services, more cost-effectively,” Masood says. “Reductions to SYPTE’s budget necessitated the closure of our physical shops and the organisation had to think about how to deliver information services effectively and sustainably. MyTSY has allowed cost savings of £400,000 in the first year. We expect the annual savings to be even higher in future years.”

Quicker resolution of issues
The online mapping capability plays a key role in helping SYPTE to resolve customer issues more quickly. For example, members of the public can go online, search for a specific bus stop and click on the map to report vandalism or damage to the shelter. This report is then automatically submitted to the relevant team, along with the correct location reference and the specification of the shelter, so that repairs can be initiated more promptly. When other passengers go online, they can see that the damage has already been reported and add comments to the existing record, but they cannot create an entirely new report for the same incident. This improves efficiency, as employees are no longer responding multiple times to the same issues.

Increased passenger numbers
Over time, SYPTE aims to improve customer satisfaction and increase the patronage of public transport. “By utilising Esri’s ArcGIS technology we are making it easier for passengers to plan their journey and make informed choices about available travel options,” Masood says. “Our aim is to encourage a modal shift to public transport services to reduce congestion and improve air quality.”

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WSP Global

Providing 2,800 employee’s access to the geographic information they need helps save money and deliver a higher quality of service.

Creating an informed enterprise

Engineering company WSP Global has used Esri’s ArcGIS platform to make spatial data and GIS capabilities accessible to 2,800 employees in its UK business. This enterprise-wide solution, named iGIS, helps the company to work more efficiently, save money and deliver a higher quality of service for its customers.


Case study – Private Sector


The Customer

WSP Group plc is a global management and engineering consultancy. Whether designing, building or maintaining roads, bridges or civic amenities, knowledge of the built and natural environment is essential to their business and that of their clients.

Consultants can arrive on site better informed and produce high quality presentation materials, helping to improve customer service

The company saves money by eliminating unnecessary duplication and data management costs

iGIS allows employees to work more productively, so tasks that used to take hours can now be completed in a fraction of this time

The Challenge

When planning new road links, staff need to know the location of existing transport routes and centres of population; when designing new amenities, they need to know what environmental constraints might exist. The challenge was to make this information readily available to support staff in their day-to-day role.

Previously, WSP had a single data repository (including Ordnance Survey, NAVTEQ and demographic data), but used two different Esri tools for working with it: ArcIMS for around 100 non-specialist users, and ArcGIS Desktop to provide advanced functionality to around 300 specialists. WSP wanted to make data available to all 2,800 employees, irrespective of location and level of GIS expertise. Consequently, any new system had be intuitive and easy-to-use.

“ We wanted to give our employees easier access to maps and enable them to obtain the geographic information they need without having to ask a GIS specialist 

David Edem – UK GIS Manager at WSP

The Solution

Esri’s ArcGIS Server was identified as the best solution, partly because the Flex API (Application Programming Interface) in v9.3 makes it easy to create customised mapping applications, combining web services from ArcGIS Server with other web content, for delivery over an intranet or the web.

In addition, WSP chose Google Maps API Premier to provide access to background mapping and Google AJAX Search API for location finding.

Within four months, WSP developed a corporate mashup called iGIS to deliver GIS services to its UK employees. It integrates Google base maps and location services with the WSP’s geographic data assets and the powerful geo-processing capabilities of ArcGIS Server, which makes many terabytes of data instantly accessible across the entire UK operation.

The result is a user-friendly mapping application that allows users to perform such tasks as query population statistics by area, undertake proximity searches, sketch site boundaries and print maps on demand.

“ iGIS is rapidly becoming an essential business tool that is used regularly by a wide range of employees 

David Edem – UK GIS Manager at WSP

Benefits

Adoption was rapid (760 staff in the first fortnight and more than half the 2,800 UK staff within months) and the benefits too.

Data and functionality previously available to a few specialists is now available to all, taking GIS to new areas of the business. The intuitive iGIS interface, coupled with standard templates for figures and plans, has enabled GIS novices to produce high quality work for clients, including simple site location plans, analysing the demographics of an area, or undertaking complex spatial searches.

What previously took hours to pull together is now available in a fraction of the time, which is important in a business where many projects are charged on an hourly basis. iGIS allows WSP consultants to arrive on site with better knowledge of likely ground conditions and to offer a quicker, lower cost and higher quality service to clients.

ArcGIS Server has revolutionised data management: by having a central online data catalogue, WPS has saved money by eliminating unnecessary duplication and monitoring group spend more effectively to negotiate better rates.

Directors at WSP have been very impressed: “This is an exciting development of our GIS capability, which will materially improve the speed and efficiency of the delivery of a wide range of our project technical activities, calculations and presentation material,” says Mike Sheehan, Director, WSP Group. “iGIS helps to keep WSP competitive and stand out in the marketplace.”

Driven by positive feedback from staff and high demand, WSP plans to expand iGIS in the UK by adding further datasets and functionality and to roll it out globally across the entire group.

Recent improvements include adding new environmental and cultural heritage datasets and there are plans to add a geological map library catalogue showing where paper-based mapping has been purchased and where it is held.

In addition, WSP plans to use ArcGIS Server to develop value-added services for clients, whowill be able to access their own data, analyse the results, drill down into layers of information and print their own maps, all via a secure login.

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