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Staff across planning applications, highways maintenance and emergency planning use ArcGIS to improve the quality of services for citizens.

Improving efficiency with enterprise GIS

Notable efficiency improvements have been achieved by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham since it made GIS capabilities available to employees across the entire council. Users in departments such as parking, planning applications, highways maintenance and emergency planning all use Esri’s ArcGIS platform to improve the quality of services for citizens.


Case study – Local Government


The Customer

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is responsible for an area of Greater London that is only 6.3 square miles, but contains over 180,000 residents, 105,000 properties, 1030 streets and 22,000 road signs. Geography is an important aspect of all this data, but was managed by different people on separate systems.

The enterprise-wide deployment of ArcGIS enables up to 1,250 concurrent users to produce as many as 200,000 maps every month

In the planning department, users can process around 3,000 planning applications more quickly than before using GIS

The environmental services department can handle enquiries more efficiently and plot trends to deliver better public services

The Challenge

Prior to 2000, Hammersmith and Fulham used a number of different Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawing tools. While these solutions performed adequately, they only benefited specific individuals in single departments.

The borough therefore decided to develop and deliver an enterprise-wide GIS strategy, with the goal of establishing a corporate geographic information standard that could be used across the authority, making geographic information available to all 7000 employees – not just highly technical users – and incorporating GIS into a broad range of council activities and services.

“We recognised how GIS could help to modernise many processes, drive efficiency and improve service, but achieving this meant a total change in attitude towards GIS”, says Tina Dawson, GIS manager at H&F Bridge Partnership, working for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

A formal review of the software available led to choosing Esri UK to supply the GIS solutions.

“ Our evaluation process showed that Esri’s was the only GIS platform capable of delivering enterprise-level scalability and use. Other solutions were departmentally focused and did not enable us to share geographic information across the council as effectively

Tina Dawson – GIS manager at H&F Bridge Partnership, working for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

The Solution

Esri UK helped Hammersmith and Fulham create a central database of spatial information, integrated with its land and property gazetteer. Employees were given intranet access to the data and a broad range of mapping capabilities, via a browser. This provides easy access to accurate data ranging from planning applications to street furniture. Sensitive data is handled via a secure, password-controlled mapping resource.

The next stage was to give residents access to geographic data via online applications, e.g. for locating council services.

Today, the geodatabase holds around 100 gigabytes of data and supports up to 1,250 concurrent users. As many as 200,000 maps are generated every month and this figure continues to increase.

“Our evaluation process showed that Esri’s was the only GIS platform capable of delivering enterprise-level scalability and use. Other solutions were departmentally focused and did not enable us to share geographic information across the council as effectively”, said Tina Dawson.

“ GIS plays a key role in all aspects of environmental services, not only in the detailed plotting of trends, but also in the improvement of day-to-day processes, enabling a better service to the borough’s citizens

Nigel Pallace – Director of the Environment Services Department

The Benefits

All Hammersmith and Fulham staff benefit from the undisputed success of enterprise-wide GIS – from the chief executive to planning officers and call centre agents, seamlessly sharing information across departments:

Parking suspensions and skip licences: It is easy for staff in the Planning Department and Highways Department to check each other’s records to ensure that requests are granted or denied promptly and appropriately.

Planning applications: Faster processing of around 3,000 planning applications and thousands more enquiries per year.

Highways maintenance: The GIS stores the precise location and state of repair of assets on multilevel, interactive maps, enabling strategic maintenance planning.

Emergency planning: CCTV camera sites, hospitals, electricity sub stations and potential evacuation centres etc are mapped and stored for rapid despatch to emergency services.

Environment enquiries: Call centre operators can quickly zoom to specific streets and addresses to pinpoint the location of a problem and contact the most relevant person to handle it.

“ Many parts of the council simply couldn’t operate without GIS now, and H&F Bridge Partnership’s aim is to integrate it with all business processes within the council… We want to put GIS at the heart of everything we do

Tina Dawson – GIS manager at H&F Bridge Partnership, working for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

The Future

Hammersmith and Fulham’s online interactive map for residents was a finalist in the GIS section of the 2005 European Information Management Awards, and a project to enable residents to view street works on the internet was nominated for the Society of IT Managers (SOCITM) e government successes database.

This level of success means that the borough plans to keep on expanding its use of corporate GIS until it underpins the work of every department. “GIS is now recognised as a key component of our business systems” says Dawson. “Many parts of the council simply couldn’t operate without GIS now, and H&F Bridge Partnership’s aim is to integrate it with all business processes within the council… We want to put GIS at the heart of everything we do,” concludes Dawson.

” Further benefits come from the creation of H&F Bridge Partnership: a Joint Venture Company (JVC) between the borough and Agilisys. This partnership plans to run training courses for staff and will work with departments that use GIS minimally to identify how it might help improve service delivery. It also plans to make GIS data available to local schools and share emergency planning GIS data with neighbouring boroughs, eventually creating a comprehensive map-based resource that could be used in the event of a major incident in London.

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