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Interactive maps can be embedded into any page of our website, providing a cost effective way to inform citizens about our value add services.

Improving information clarity and accessibility for citizens and employees

This unitary authority completely revamped its online mapping capabilities by deploying Esri UK’s LocalView Fusion platform. It now has a single, cost effective solution that enables it to make relevant and meaningful information more accessible to the general public and deliver advanced GIS capabilities to more council employees.


Case study – Local Government


The Customer

Founded by the Romans, York is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. The City of York Council is a unitary authority caring for a population of around 195,000, within the city’s ancient walls, and in the suburbs and rural areas beyond: an area of over 271 km2.

The council can now embed interactive maps into any page of its website, providing citizens with value-add information about the services they are interested in.

Over one hundred days the council’s online maps received 115,000 hits, a highly cost-efficient way of providing improved customer service

LocalView Fusion now delivers sophisticated GIS capabilities for employees via the council intranet

The Challenge

Like most UK local authorities, the City of York Council developed online mapping capabilities in 2005, in response to government directives and guidelines. Esri UK’s LocalView was still meeting these needs, but the geographic information system (GIS) team wanted to develop its publicly accessible GIS capabilities to deliver enhanced services for citizens. Simon Lutman, GIS project officer at City of York Council, says: “Our aim wasn’t necessarily to produce fancier maps, but rather to make it even easier for people to use the online GIS service to find precisely the information that they needed.” The other challenge was to develop a new geospatial intranet application that was compatible with Internet Explorer 8.

“ We don’t have the resources in-house to develop complex applications […] It worked out much less expensive to use LocalView Fusion than upgrade our existing system

Simon Lutman – GIS Project Officer at City of York Council

The Solution

Designed specifically for local authorities, LocalView Fusion is based on ArcGIS technology. It provides a straightforward way to publish geographic information as digital maps, using a single technology platform for both Internet and intranet. More than just a simple enhancement of LocalView, it is an entirely new platform, with a range of new capabilities and a contemporary look and feel. “I don’t think I realised quite how different it was until it was installed and up and running”, says Lutman.

For citizens, the council created separate, highly focused GeoWindows that display information relating to specific council services, including transport, business and economy, education and learning, environment and planning. For example, an interactive map within the transport section of the website just displays information pertinent to transport, such as bus stops and car parks. The council also retained their single, all-services, map with over 50 data layers; this is used for ‘where’s my nearest’ queries across the full range of council services.

For staff, a GeoTemplate was used to deliver display and analytical capabilities. “Everyone now has GIS on their desktop”, says Lutman. “LocalView Fusion provides customisable maps for everybody.”

“ LocalView Fusion is a total solution. It covers everything that councils need, in a single solution that is supported and will be upgraded as new technology emerges

Simon Lutman – GIS Project Officer at City of York Council

Benefits

Clearer, more accessible information
Interactive maps are embedded directly into the relevant web pages. Lutman explains: “In the future, if citizens are looking at a specific transport page on our website, they will see a map that shows bus stops, car parks and other relevant information. They won’t have the complexity of having to navigate away from the web page and activate specific map layers.”

Added value for citizens
Council data has been combined with relevant data from external sources. For example, citizens can click on a bus stop and see the routes and times of buses that stop there. “It’s about adding value for citizens, by providing links to information that people might not otherwise be able to find”, says Lutman.

Cost efficient customer service
It costs around £0.32 to service an enquiry via the web, as opposed to £2.90 via telephone. Since installing LocalView Fusion, the council has recorded around 700 daily hits for its online maps, and in 100 days between January and April 2011, it received over 115,000 hits, 45% of which were for the new transport GeoWindow. “LocalView Fusion tells me in black and white how many people are using the service, which is great”, Lutman enthuses.

Reduced development costs
The City of York Council now has the benefits of an in-house solution, without the time and expense of commissioning external development. “We don’t have the resources in-house to develop complex applications”, Lutman explains, adding “It worked out much less expensive to use LocalView Fusion than upgrade our existing system.”

Advanced GIS for staff
The council’s employees now have more advanced GIS capabilities than the previous intranet-based solution provided. They are equipped to answer complex business queries, such as “Which properties will we need to evacuate if we have to set up a cordon or buffer zone around a particular site?” As Lutman says, “In the past you would have needed a full-functioned GIS to do this kind of query. A lot of staff who would have previously needed access to an ArcGIS Desktop licence, now no longer require it. LocalView provides access to all the data and functionality users need. I believe it will prove useful in a range of ways.”

“ In the future, if citizens are looking at a specific transport page on our website, they will see a map that shows bus stops, car parks and other relevant information. They won’t have the complexity of having to navigate away from the web page and activate specific map layers

Simon Lutman – GIS Project Officer at City of York Council

The Future

The GIS team plans to develop even more customised GIS applications to embed into specific pages of the council website and to introduce Ordnance Survey’s VectorMap Local as a dynamic and visual base mapping layer. This will make its GIS services even more user-friendly and accessible.

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