Category Archives: Case Study

Cork County Council

Responding more effectively to extreme weather events

Across Ireland, the frequency and severity of storms is steadily increasing, creating logistical challenges for the local authorities that need to maintain local roads. Cork County Council has used Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform to help it monitor issues on roads during extreme weather events, in near real-time, improve its emergency response and support its public communications.

Emergency teams have a clearer understanding of unfolding events during a severe weather emergency

The council can look back over previous crises to see patterns and identify areas for improvement

The general public and emergency responders have up-to-date information about potential hazards

The Challenge

In October 2017, Storm Ophelia propelled hurricane-strength winds across Ireland, taking the lives of three people and causing substantial damage. Yet extreme weather like this can no longer be assumed to be a rare occurrence. According to some estimates, the frequency of storms and severe rainfall events in winter and autumn in Ireland could increase by up to 30 per cent.

Recognising the risk to its local communities, Cork County Council wanted to improve its ability to monitor and communicate the impact of extreme weather events on its road network. It sought to collate information about roads blocked by flood, fallen trees and heavy snowfall and provide this information in near real-time to council teams, in an easily understood format, so that they could respond more effectively, learn from past events and improve communication to the public.

“ TThis historic information enables us to look back at previous severe weather events and learn from the past

Mr Tim Lucey – Chief Executive, Cork County Council

The Solution

The council already used Esri’s ArcGIS web geographic information system (GIS) technology within its organisation and had access to Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform. It also subscribed to a geographic public alert service called MapAlerter, which it used to inform the public on severe weather events and scheduled road closures via text messages to subscribers of the system, as well as posting the information on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. The council decided to leverage its existing investment in both of these services to create a bespoke solution that assists with emergency management.

Now, when field-based council employees observe an issue on a road during exceptional weather, they report it to MapAlerter via text, using road segment codes and message templates. This information is then not only used to generate MapAlerter posts, but is also automatically passed to the ArcGIS Online platform, where it is displayed on an interactive map in near real-time. During storms, teams in the council’s Emergency Incident Room, roads department and other service areas can all view this Severe Weather Map to see a clear picture of the extent of road disruption right across the county. The map refreshes automatically every minute, highlighting new issues as they are reported.

Cork County Council has two views of this information. The first, the ArcGIS Online Severe Weather Map, displays the current situation and can be made available to not only council employees, but also the general public and emergency responders, via Twitter, Facebook, MapAlerter and other news channels. The second version is an ArcGIS Server Portal Map for internal use only, where all the historical data from past events is displayed and can be viewed using the time slider function, so that the council’s staff can look back in time to identify hot spots where the same issues have occurred in sequential extreme weather events.

As ArcGIS Online is a hosted solution, it offers high availability, even in the worst of storms, which is a significant advantage for Cork County Council. “If our offices in Cork are flooded and our in-house IT systems go down, or if senior managers cannot travel into work, we can view the ArcGIS Online map from a temporary emergency centre or from home,” says Judith Vonhof, IS Project Leader at Cork County Council. “In crisis situations, it’s reassuring to know that Esri Ireland has the resources to keep our Severe Weather Map available 24/7.”

“ With the frequency and severity of storms increasing, councils need to be prepared for dealing with them. This system has certainly assisted with this

Mr Tim Lucey – Chief Executive, Cork County Council

The Benefits

Fast, effective responses during extreme weather events
ArcGIS Online provides a single point of reference, where all council employees can see the same, accurate, up-to-date view of an emergency situation, in a clear visual format, as incidents unfold. As a result, council managers can make faster decisions about how best to allocate resources to clear fallen trees at the earliest opportunity following the storm. Similarly, if managers can see that both major roads to West Cork are flooded, for example, the council’s emergency team can direct field-based teams to the area as a priority to erect signs to warn the public of the potential danger.

Improved long term emergency planning
Cork County Council can use the historical maps and time slider functionality of ArcGIS Server to better understand the impacts of past events and use this insight to prioritise road improvements that could help minimise disruption in the future. “You can never know for certain what the next storm will bring,” says Mr Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council. “But, this historic information enables us to look back at previous severe weather events and learn from the past.”

Better information for the public and emergency services
During major storms, Cork County Council can now play an important role in helping to keep members of the public aware of potential hazards and obstructions on the roads. By directing local citizens to the map with all the latest information, the council can help them make better choices about whether to make non-essential journeys and which routes to take. Emergency responders, such as the fire and ambulance service, can also refer to the map to see the latest status and make better decisions about the best routes to reach people in dire need.

Summing up, Mr Lucey adds, “With the frequency and severity of storms increasing, councils need to be prepared for dealing with them. This system has certainly assisted with this.”

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Everything is Somewhere

Minimising risks and costs in commercial surveys

The property management and planning consultancy EIS is using a suite of products from Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it conduct aerial surveys of commercial sites using drones. The out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools enable the company to deliver a fast, cost efficient service for customers, while reducing safety risks.

18+ days shaved from a large survey project at a complex dockyard location

66% cost saving achieved during a survey at a hazardous landfill site

Improved health and safety during land, building and commercial surveys

The Challenge

Organisations that own, manage, develop or maintain large areas of land frequently need to conduct surveys to help them manage assets spread across their property, monitor changes in buildings and plan new developments. Traditional approaches to conducting such land and asset surveys can not only be expensive and time-consuming, but, in some cases, also dangerous. When sites are on steep ground, covered by potentially dangerous landfill waste or adjacent to deep water, for example, there can be significant health and safety risks for surveyors.

EIS identified an opportunity to transform traditional survey methods by using drones to capture aerial imagery of large sites. Its customers ranged from the owners of quarries and recycling facilities to large country landowners and it wanted to be able to offer these organisations a more cost effective survey service, together with a higher quality of survey data.

“ The combination of drones and GIS produces a far better result, far more cost effectively than traditional survey approaches

Jeremy Murfitt – Managing Director, EIS

The Solution

Jeremy Murfitt, Managing Director of EIS, had previous experience of using Esri’s ArcGIS platform and so developed the company’s new aerial survey service by optimising the use of several ArcGIS solutions. He didn’t need to undertake any programming or customisation as he could access all the functionality he needed using ArcGIS tools straight out of the box.

At the start of each new survey project, Murfitt maps the routes that will be flown over a customer’s site using ArcGIS Pro, Esri’s professional desktop GIS software. He identifies the best take-off and landing sites and plans flights taking into account the 20 to 24 minute battery life of his drones. Finally, he uploads the survey maps to ArcGIS Online so that they can be viewed via a smartphone or tablet.

Once on site, the EIS surveyor uses Survey123 to photograph ground markers and record other attributes in a simple-to-use form, with all of the data being uploaded directly to ArcGIS Online. The drones are then set off on their pre-planned flights, capturing images and videos in high resolution.

Next, the images are processed using Esri’s Drone2Map solution, generating output in 2D and 3D. EIS can then perform sophisticated analyses on the imagery using ArcGIS Pro, such as calculations of the volume of soil heaps, or create 3D visualisations of buildings using Esri’s CityEngine. Depending on each customer’s requirements, EIS can either supply raw data for integration into its customers’ GIS systems or create Story Maps using ArcGIS Online to share information with customers in a highly visual and interactive format.

“ Our ArcGIS-driven survey approach takes multiple elements of risk out of the equation, making it far safer to survey large, complex commercial and development sites

Jeremy Murfitt – Managing Director – EIS

The Benefits

Rapid completion of survey projects
Using ArcGIS and drones, EIS can conduct surveys of commercial property more quickly than with traditional survey methods and therefore deliver a highly efficient service to its customers. For example, the owner of a dockyard in Wales anticipated that it would take three surveyors six or seven days to capture data on site, plus a further two or three days to process the data. EIS was able to use its ArcGIS-driven approach to complete the survey of the entire site in less than six hours and deliver data back to the customer within three days.

Significant cost savings for customers
The efficiency of EIS’s survey approach enables the company’s customers to save many thousands of pounds on each survey. An organisation in Yorkshire, for example, paid 66% less than it had budgeted for when it appointed EIS to undertake an aerial survey of its landfill site rather than carry out a ground survey. Murfitt says, “The financial savings are significant, plus customers receive a larger volume of survey data. For some tasks, a combination of drones and ArcGIS produces a far better result, far more cost effectively than traditional survey approaches.”

Improved health and safety for surveyors
As all of the analysis of sites is conducted using ArcGIS, at a desktop, surveyors can work far more safely. They no longer have to use survey instruments on steep slopes or above deep water and don’t have to walk over rough ground crossed by open trenches or covered by potentially hazardous materials. “Our ArcGIS-driven survey approach takes multiple elements of risk out of the equation, making it far safer to survey large, complex commercial and development sites,” Murfitt says.

Better quality data for ongoing asset management
By processing drone imagery in Drone2Map, EIS can present a large quantity of data on digital maps in a format that adds far greater value for customers. In one recent project, EIS surveyed a roof structure using a drone, eliminating the need for a surveyor to be raised above roof level in a crane basket, and created a digital map of the roof, comprising over 400 high resolution images. Over time, EIS will repeat this roof survey and add further layers of data and imagery to the digital map, so the customer can monitor changes in the condition of the roof structure.

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Mines Advisory Group

Building a future without landmines

The Mines Advisory Group has removed nearly 5 million landmines and unexploded ordnance from countries around the world – but millions more remain undetected, putting communities at risk. The organisation is now using a suite of solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help clear landmines more quickly and save lives.

More lives saved, with land being cleared of unexploded ordnance more quickly

Additional land made accessible for farming, alleviating poverty in local communities

Greater safety for land clearance teams, thanks to better information about the terrain

The Challenge

The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) aims to save lives by removing the millions of landmines, booby traps and unexploded bombs that still lurk beneath the ground in countries ravaged by years of brutal war. In Cambodia, MAG has already cleared over 74,600 landmines and 224,400 items of weaponry, but the risk to human life remains immense. Undetected landmines and other abandoned explosive devices continue to kill and injure two people every week in Cambodia, deepening the poverty suffered by thousands of families by impeding their use of the land for farming.

Traditionally, teams of specialists from MAG, working on the ground in Cambodia, relied on a series of manual processes to collect, collate and share information in the field. Observations about search areas were recorded on paper and then typed into spreadsheets and reports at the base. Senior managers could not gain an overall picture of sites until the notes were collated and analysed centrally and, as a result, they were unable to make the rapid decisions required about how best to deploy resources.

“ Using ArcGIS, MAG can cover more ground, more quickly, enabling local communities to live safer lives, sooner

Shathel Fahs – Technical Field Manager, Team Leader, MAG

The Solution

MAG had been using Esri’s ArcGIS as a corporate geospatial information system (GIS) for many years, but the technology was used purely for recording data and generating maps. “Historically, GIS was about showing, on a map, the areas of land we had cleared,” says Greg Secomb, Global Information Systems Advisor, MAG. “We decided to start using GIS not only as a reporting tool, but also as an operational tool to help us improve our effectiveness in the field.”

Commencing in Cambodia, MAG in collaboration with HD R and D Program began to use ArcGIS Online and Collector App for ArcGIS to collect data in the field and make it instantly available to team leaders. “I know exactly where my teams are and how much ground they have cleared, without having to wait two months to get a map,” says Shathel Fahs, Technical Field Manager, Team Leader, at MAG. “It is so powerful to see the map progressing every day.”

At the same time, the organisation replaced all its paper-based reporting in the field in Cambodia with Survey123 for ArcGIS. Described by Fahs as “amazing”, this mobile survey app is used by 17 teams across the country to collect geo-referenced information on all unexploded ordnance (UXO) detected, in dual languages. The data collected is shared instantly via ArcGIS Online and is more accurate, as there is no risk of mistakes occurring during the re-typing of handwritten notes.

MAG now also uses drones in Cambodia to fly autonomously over contaminated areas and photograph the land, in high resolution. Using Esri’s Drones2Map for ArcGIS app, it then transfers these images directly to ArcGIS Online, where the information is instantly accessible to operatives working in the area. As a result, team leaders no longer have to rely on a visual assessment of the terrain, limited to the area that is within the range of their eyesight; instead they have a detailed understanding of the entire area, including beyond hills and within dense forests.

“ We have pioneered a new way of operating in Cambodia and are excited to roll it out to all our teams, working in over 20 other countries

Greg Secomb – Global Information Systems Advisor, MAG

The Benefits

Faster clearance of deadly explosive devices
MAG is now able to clear land and remove potentially deadly devices in Cambodia more quickly, as it has a far better understanding of the terrain. For instance, the insight gained from Drone2Map for ArcGIS allows team leaders to better anticipate when and where they will need mechanical clearing machinery and other specialised resources. Team leaders can also change plans and redirect their teams spontaneously, as ArcGIS Online gives them a rapid picture of the situation on the ground. “Using ArcGIS, MAG can cover more ground, more quickly, enabling local communities to live safer lives, sooner,” Fahs says.

Activities prioritised to alleviate poverty
The use of ArcGIS is also helping MAG to alleviate poverty in Cambodia. If a stretch of land is photographed by drone and identified by ArcGIS Online as being suitable for farming, MAG can prioritise the clearance of this area. As Fahs says, “Instead of just relying on informants for local knowledge, we can identify potential agricultural land ourselves. We can see the whole picture.”

Improved safety for mine clearance teams
With more accurate and current information available at base and in the field, MAG can make better decisions to help protect workers. The organisation can view historical data on ArcGIS Online and see how many devices were found in other similar areas and the density of them. It can then use this information to gauge the likely level of threat and ensure everyone in the team is fully briefed on what kinds of devices to expect.

A more productive and efficient global organisation
ArcGIS has undoubtedly improved the efficiency of MAG’s operations in Cambodia. Indeed, five people are now each saving up to two days effort a week because they no longer need to manually enter data into spreadsheets and databases. These productivity gains will soon be multiplied, as MAG is poised to introduce the same suite of ArcGIS products throughout its entire global organisation. “We have pioneered a new way of operating in Cambodia and are excited to roll it out to all our teams, working in over 20 other countries,” Secomb says.

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The Mighty Creatives

Expanding cultural education by making connections with maps

Having decided to use ArcGIS Online to build a mapping tool to promote and deliver its services, The Mighty Creatives utilised Esri UK’s ArcGIS Online Launchkit to get up and running quickly. This gave the charity the skills and confidence to make digital mapping a central element of its service offering.

Provided staff with the skills needed to create their own maps without external advice or expertise

Gave the team the confidence to exploit digital mapping as a tool to promote the charity’s services

Visualisation of its own data gave the charity new insight into operational information and processes

The Challenge

The charity, The Mighty Creatives, believe that creativity is vital to every child’s development and that, unfortunately, there are too many limited opportunities for children and young people to be creative and to play. Their mission is to change this and to achieve their goal they bring together schools, arts organisation, communities and businesses forging partnerships and enabling collaboration.

To support this creative drive, The Mighty Creatives needed a visual, easy to use, way of enabling organisations to easily discover other organisations working across the East Midlands.

The Mighty Creatives identified that ArcGIS Online from Esri UK could be used to create the solution they needed, but were unsure how to get started. The team had limited experience in geography or digital mapping and without any technical skills they lacked the confidence to move forward.

Furthermore, there were many important questions:

  • What data should we use?
  • How should that data be formatted, imported and managed?
  • How should we present the data in an interesting form?
  • How can we make the system easy to access?
  • How will the new tool work with our existing CRM system?

“ Within the first half an hour, the Esri Consultant swept away our confusion, so we could clearly see what we could do with ArcGIS online and where to start

Laurie Parsons – Development Coordinator (Arts Alliances) – The Mighty Creatives

The Solution

The Mighty Creatives found the answers in the form of an ArcGIS Online Launchkit from Esri UK. An Esri UK Consultant carried out the two-day program at The Mighty Creatives’ office, helping to get the new tool live in the shortest possible time. The Launchkit included support with the installation and configuration of the ArcGIS platform, demonstration of the capabilities of ArcGIS online, and advice and training on how to implement the new tool.

The Consultant put an additional focus on several key areas that were important to The Mighty Creatives:

  • Understanding how to present geographic information so that the visualisation accurately represents the underlying data, without distortion
  • The capabilities of different packages, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS online, and which tools to use in different situations
  • How to use storymaps to create engaging online content and get across the story they wanted to tell

After the Launchkit was completed, The Mighty Creatives quickly built its first online mapping tool. Since then a further five searchable maps have been developed and the team have now started building storymaps. Future plans are increasingly challenging and sophisticated, including for example, demographic analysis to identify geographic distributions of demand and match these with local supply.

“ Working closely with our Esri consultant through the Launchkit instilled confidence in our abilities to create digital maps and use them to promote our service

Laura Bates – Development Manager (Arts Alliances) – The Mighty Creatives

The Benefits

Self sufficiency
The Esri UK Launchkit rapidly provided The Mighty Creatives with the skills needed to create their own maps without the need to call in external advice or expertise. This also gives them the foundations to take on future challenges.

An organisation largely composed of artistic, creative and educational professionals with a lack of confidence in their knowledge of technology have now developed the confidence necessary to use and exploit digital mapping as a tool.

Through its own maps, The Mighty Creatives could see it its own information in a new light, prompting the team to question current processes, reflect on them and see new ways to operate.

Building the mapping tool was a shared learning experience, requiring input from across the team. This promoted buy-in from all parts of the organisation and made a positive contribution to the working environment.

Like many charities The Mighty Creatives needs to carefully manage its expenditure, so it can optimise its reach and impact; the investment in and ArcGIS Online Launchkit was therefore a relatively significant outlay. However, the charity believes that the experience has been exceptionally valuable and is helping the organisation forge new partnerships and drive collaboration.

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Digital Transformation for Government

Digital Transformation for Government

The Science of Where Data makes Government Smarter

Modern Government aspires to make the most of its data, to enable agile, effective and cost effective decision making. Government needs simple and engaging ways to exchange information with staff, citizens and the supply chain.

At Esri we build the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytics software, enabling government to visualise the physical world and business data together, share and collaborate with colleagues and partners, Equip and manage mobile workers and to design and plan the places of the future.

All of this, using out-of-the-box, rapidly deployable secure solutions that are low cost and provide a significant return on investment.

Explore how Esri GIS is used by government to reduce costs, inform policy, attract investment and optimise citizen services, with examples from:

Westminster City Council | Norfolk County Council | Sport Wales | London Borough of Lambeth | Cabinet Office | South Ayrshire Council | Cornwall Council | Environment Agency | Crossrail | Greater London Authority | Transport for London | Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Read the eBook free now by clicking below…

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Empower citizens, improve policy-making and optimise service delivery

1st (United Kingdom) Division

Enhancing field data collection in an austere environment

1st (United Kingdom) Division

Each year the British Army’s 1st (United Kingdom) Division deploys medical units to central Kenya, seeing medical teams working alongside Kenyan Defence Force and Non-Governmental Organisations, to provide primary healthcare, community health education and health outreach clinics in rural locations. In 2017, the Division’s Geo Support team created an innovative mobile survey using off-the-shelf ArcGIS technology, to allow the medical teams to collect patient data more quickly and efficiently.

Faster and easier to implement online and offline surveys

Improved productivity of data collection and better interrogation of results

Enhanced sharing of information with multiple agencies

Innovative use of existing off-the-shelf technology

The Challenge

Exercise ASKARI SERPENT is an annual 1st (UK) Division medical exercise that sees the deployment of a Medical Regiment to rural Kenya. The exercise involves the delivery of health outreach clinics and health education to the local population, alongside Kenyan Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Every patient consultation is recorded, albeit anonymously. The surveys, in rural locations, were originally conducted using laborious, paper-based methods with standard medical consultation forms. At the end of each day, all the paper forms were handed in and then reported to the main HQ, over the radio. Occasionally the results were also recorded onto spreadsheets but while the actual patient medical forms were accurate, there were often inconsistencies with the data on the spreadsheets. With these ongoing disparities, the spreadsheet results were extremely difficult to analyse and producing a meaningful picture of the survey results was a major challenge.

In 2016 the medical units had support from the Division’s Geo Support team for the first time. The Royal Engineer Geographic Technicians are embedded within 1st (UK) Division and have a long-standing partnership with Esri. They assessed that the methodology using paper-based surveys was an inefficient way of doing things, data collection was incoherent, and that a lot more could be done with the analysis and sharing of results.

“ One of the key things for me is that we have been able to exploit our training properly and, using off-the-shelf technology, develop an innovative solution that is helping our user community

Sgt D Barrett

The Solution

The Geo Support team had been using Esri’s ArcGIS platform for their GIS (geographical information system) requirements for many years, but the technology had not previously been used for recording medical data in the field. They immediately recognised the potential for improvement with GIS, identifying Survey123 as a suitable tool for patient data capture.

“Historically, our work focused on using geographic data and satellite imagery to create maps and information products to inform decision-making and support operational readiness, where to build a helicopter landing site for example” says LCpl James Smith. “This was a really interesting opportunity for us to show how we could innovate by using off-the-shelf GIS technology for mobile data collection, with more sophisticated analysis.”

First, the team created a patient data survey with Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS. This was shared with the next deploying medical team onto tablets – already available to the medical teams- so they could test the survey in the field running the Survey123 app, and identify any adaptions that needed to be made. The customised survey was then shared and used by all medical technicians in the field, who would record all patient information in an online survey and submit it after each consultation.

Even surveying in remote locations, where there was no phone signal, was possible. Significantly, Survey123 works offline and allows users to save data to the device they are working with, uploading it when an internet connection becomes available.

The Geo Support team also created a simple web interface that allows users – the majority having no GIS skills – to interrogate the results as they come in and check the source by accessing the individual survey forms. This has been a particularly important development as the medical teams’ work includes monitoring for notifiable diseases including Malaria and Yellow fever.

A Story Map was generated to communicate the results, updated daily, and used to brief up to the Commanding Officer to give the senior team a clear view of what was happening on the ground, all using off-the-shelf technology.

“One of the key things for me is that we have been able to exploit our training properly and, using off-the-shelf technology, develop an innovative solution that is helping the everyday community,” adds Sgt Dave Barrett. “ArcGIS has helped us to get much more out of a pretty scarce resource, helping us to deliver value-added support to 1st (UK) Division.”

“ This is an excellent example of a Junior Leader in the British Army using their initiative and talents to enhance our ability to share information with partners that we work alongside. The Survey123 really hit the mark

Col AG Johnson

The Benefits

Fast and simple to implement
Using the ArcGIS platform, the Geo support team could produce the app with off-the-shelf technology which, for them, meant it was a very low barrier to entry initiative. The medical units already had access to the hardware, ie tablet devices, so the predominant outlay was the minimal time required by the team to develop, then customise the patient briefing form on the mobile app.

Improved productivity of data collection
The medical units can now undertake more patient consultations and collect significantly higher volumes of patient data thanks to the ease of using the Survey 123 app. In 2018 6,000 records were collected using the mobile app, compared to 2,000 paper-based records in 2017. The mobile app also allows teams to work in remote locations with limited internet connectivity; data records are simply uploaded when a mobile signal is available. Timeliness of reporting has also improved, enabling the UK military medical units, working in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, to provide the Kenyan County Health Ministry with this important civilian primary information.

Improved sharing of information
Thanks to the simplicity of reporting via the web interface the data is available to a wider audience, including government departments, facilitating greater collaboration across multiple agencies. An excel spreadsheet has also been generated which allows users to query the data. Ultimately, this access to more accurate data will help all partners to better understand the medical needs of the local population so that better medical care can be delivered to those who need it.

A Story Map was also created as an internal reporting tool, to share results with Army colleagues. Updated daily, the Story Map includes embedded video and images which gives unequivocal insight into conditions on the ground.

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Oil and Gas Authority

Satisfying the data demands of the oil and gas industry

The Oil and Gas Authority is supporting the development of the UK oil and gas industry by publishing authoritative data about the UK’s oil and gas resources via an Open Data Portal powered by Esri’s ArcGIS Hub. New and existing investors now have a single point of access to all the data they might need and can make faster, well-informed decisions about financing new oil or gas explorations.

45,000 unique users visited the Open Data Portal in less than two years

12 weeks of manual data preparation eliminated annually

Clear insight into investment opportunities in the UK oil and gas industry

The Challenge

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) exists “to regulate, influence and promote the UK oil and gas industry”, and the dissemination of information is a critical part of all three of these roles. The organisation holds vast amounts of data about the UK’s oil and gas resources, including active and historic exploration and production data, and it wanted to find a way to make all this information more accessible.

In particular, the OGA wanted to provide potential investors with a single point of access to all the data they might need to inform a decision about financing a new oil or gas exploration. John Seabourn, Head of Digital Services at the OGA, explains: “The OGA is committed to revitalising exploration activity in the UK, to discover new oil and gas resources. We wanted to make information more easily available to support oil and gas companies, attract new investment and help develop what is a very important industry in the UK.”

“ The Oil and Gas Authority’s Open Data Portal gives organisations a clear insight into where the greatest opportunities exist and provides them with the information they need to make decisions about new oil and gas explorations

John Seabourn – Head of Digital Services – Oil and Gas Authority

The Solution

Initially, the OGA thought it would need to build its own open data portal, using data models and hyperlinks. Then, it discovered Esri’s ArcGIS Hub, a hosted and managed solution that is available within ArcGIS Online. “All we needed to do was expose our existing ArcGIS Server to ArcGIS Hub and all the hard work was done for us,” Seabourn says. “It is a very simple, elegant solution that suits all our requirements.”

The organisation called upon Esri UK’s Professional Services group to provide some assistance with the deployment of the solution. Most beneficially, the Esri UK consultants shared their knowledge of ArcGIS Hub and delivered bespoke training for the organisation’s employees to give them the confidence and skills they needed to expand and further develop the portal in the future.

Developed using out-of-the box functionality, the first Open Data Portal was up and running within just six weeks. The OGA continued to add new services over time and completely refreshed the portal about eighteen months after its launch. “One of the real advantages of ArcGIS Online is its flexibility,” says Tanya Knowles, GIS Manager at the OGA. “It is very easy for us to add new data sources and change the presentation of our data in response to customer feedback or short term events, such as licensing rounds on the UK Continental Shelf.”

Oil and gas companies, academics, industry consultancies, government bodies and investors now have a single gateway to a wealth of information and can view the data via online dashboards, web apps, stream it directly into their own systems or download it in a range of formats. “ArcGIS enables us to make a huge variety of data accessible, including information that the industry wouldn’t expect, such as specialist reports and production data in a spatial format,” Knowles observes.

“ ArcGIS enables us to make a huge variety of data accessible, including information that the industry wouldn’t expect, such as specialist reports and production data in a spatial format

Tanya Knowles – GIS Manager, Oil and Gas Authority

The Benefits

A valuable service used by over 45,000 people
Undoubtedly, the OGA has succeeded in developing an information service that meets the needs of the industry. From October 2016 to July 2018, the organisation accrued over 55 million requests to its ArcGIS Server that powers its Open Data Portal, from 45,000 unique users. Over this same period, the weekly traffic to the server increased by 700%, and visitors began to access five times the number of pages, which demonstrates the growing value of the service. In a single week in May 2018, there were 1.2 million requests to its ArcGIS Server.

Clear insight into investment opportunities
The Open Data Portal is helping the Oil & Gas Authority to promote the UK’s oil and gas industry and attract investment to the UK, by making accurate, pertinent information readily accessible to potential investors. “There are up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent still to be recovered from the UK Continental Shelf,” Seabourn says. “The Oil and Gas Authority’s Open Data Portal gives organisations a clear insight into where the greatest opportunities exist and provides them with the information they need to make decisions about new oil and gas explorations.”

Industry-wide time and cost savings
The creation of the Open Data Portal has led to significant time and cost savings, not only for the OGA but for companies right across the industry. At the OGA, a cartographer used to spend one week a month preparing data updates for publication on the organisation’s website; now data updates run automatically, overnight, with no manual intervention. Other companies benefit from being able to access data in precisely the format they need, or stream it directly into their systems, which removes many hours of data preparation and updating.

A single, authoritative source of industry data
Finally, the Open Data Portal helps the OGA to regulate and positively influence companies in the industry, by providing them with a single, authoritative source of data. Everyone can see the same operational picture, which improves understanding and collaboration. Summing up, Seabourn says, “ArcGIS has proved its value. The success of our Open Data Portal has justified more investment in data, technology and digital services.”

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Field Studies Council

Inspiring both students and teachers

Each year over 150,000 secondary school students and their teachers visit centres run by the Field Studies Council (FSC) to learn about the environment, undertake fieldwork and explore new scientific techniques. Since 2014 FSC has been embedding Esri’s ArcGIS platform as a core technology to help students acquire real-world skills, as well as supporting teachers in delivering engaging geography lessons with integrated GIS skills.

Students gain first-hand experience of using GIS in the field

Teachers derive inspiration from best practice use of GIS in education

FSC benefits from the support of Esri UK’s education specialists

The Challenge

Geographic information system (GIS) technology now features prominently in both the GCSE and A level geography specifications, and students studying at both levels need to understand how GIS could be used to collect, visualise, analyse and interpret data. However, the use of GIS in schools is often impeded by teachers’ lack of experience and confidence in using the technology, along with challenges of access to hardware in school.

As an environmental education charity that runs thousands of residential and day courses for geography, geology and biology students and professionals every year, the Field Studies Council (FSC) wanted to take a leadership role in the use of GIS in teaching. Rather than rely on simplistic solutions like Google Earth, it wanted to showcase the use of market leading GIS technology and equip both students and teachers with the skills to succeed.

“ Using ArcGIS, students spend more time thinking about what their data means and less time manually creating maps and handling data

David Morgan – Education Technology Officer – Field Studies Council

The Solution

There were two primary reasons why FSC selected Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Firstly, the organisation found the software very intuitive to use and felt it would be an easy system for young people and non-technical, teaching staff to become proficient in. Secondly, FSC felt well supported by Esri UK’s team of education specialists, who were on hand to help FSC employees build their capabilities with the solution and develop teaching resources.

FSC now uses a suite of ArcGIS solutions across all nineteen of its centres in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Students start by performing research using data from Esri’s Living Atlas and ArcGIS Online to explore environmental or geographic issues and develop their knowledge of the study area, helping them to plan their investigations. They then use Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 for ArcGIS in the field to collect data via mobile devices and undertake studies on anything from glaciated landscapes and the impacts of flooding to human ‘moods’ in urban areas.

All of the data collected in the field using Collector and Survey123 is instantly uploaded to ArcGIS Online on their return to the classroom, so groups do not waste time processing and copying data. They can then view their data alongside that collected by their peers on interactive maps in ArcGIS Online to identify trends and analyse data. The cloud-based nature of ArcGIS Online means that students and teachers can access their project data from home or school after their residential trip.

“ ArcGIS connects students to the real world. It shows them that they are developing skills that have an application in a wide range of careers, beyond school and education

David Morgan – Education Technology Officer, Field Studies Council

The Benefits

An enhanced learning experience
Students that attend FSC courses have an enhanced learning experience, because they can analyse the data they have collected in the field as soon as they get back to the centre and combine their own findings with relevant contextual data, on interactive maps, at the push of a button. “Using ArcGIS, students spend more time thinking about what their data means and less time manually creating maps and handling data,” says David Morgan, FSC Education Technology Officer. “That means learners can spend more time tackling higher level questions and ensure they get the most value from their studies.”

A platform for continued learning
As FSC allows students and teachers to continue to access their own data via ArcGIS Online long after the end of residential courses, students are able to build on what they learned. “For lots of our students, the work that they do on a fieldtrip provides the basis of coursework for their A levels” Morgan says. “With ArcGIS, the data they need for their projects is exactly where they left it, and, most importantly, they know how to analyse it with ArcGIS.”

A demonstration of good practice for teachers
During school visits, teachers are themselves often inspired by FSC’s use of ArcGIS. GIS with the FSC is integrated, student led, differentiated for each student’s ability and broad enough to allow students to self-direct in ways which will support their understanding around a topic. Many teachers return to attend professional courses, run by the FSC, aimed specifically at helping teachers to use ArcGIS to support teaching of GCSEs and A levels, as well as Highers and Advanced Highers in Scotland. “When teachers see ArcGIS being used well, they say how can I do that?” Morgan says.

Real-world skills for the future
With access to the latest ArcGIS solutions, students at FSC centres gain experience of using the kinds of GIS tools that professional geographers and ecologists use in their jobs. “ArcGIS connects students to the real world,” observes Morgan. “It shows them that they are developing skills that have an application in a wide range of careers, beyond school and education.”

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Strutt & Parker

Geo-enabling the UK’s sparkling wine industry

Land and real-estate agency Strutt & Parker is working with some of the world’s leading wine producers to help expand the production of sparkling wine in the South East of England. Using a solution based on ArcGIS Online called FarmView, it can rapidly identify the best sites for vineyards, taking into account a vast array of factors including soil type, terrain and climate.

Over 1,500% return on investment achieved by Kent office

A four-fold improvement in productivity for viticulture land agents

More successful grape crops due to better selection of land

“ Our ArcGIS solution has made us far more competitive and profitable, compared to other agencies

Edward Mansel Lewis – Senior Associate Director – Strutt & Parker

The Challenge

Subtle changes in the climate in England, caused by global warming, are creating ideal conditions for the production of sparkling wine. As a result, more and more wine producers are looking to acquire land in South East England to plant vineyards. The government is actively supporting the expansion of the British wine industry and has set a target for the total area of vineyards in the UK to exceed 3,000 hectares by 2020.

The land agency firm Strutt & Parker was commissioned by a major wine grower to identify land in Kent with precisely the right soil type, elevation, aspect weather patterns and slope for optimal grape cultivation. However, there was no single source of data that the organisation could turn to in order to assess the suitability of each available parcel of land. Agents needed to undertake research across multiple websites and data sources, interpret maps at different scales and manually generate reports for the client, which was extremely time consuming.

“ FarmView not only benefits our clients with an insightful and authoritative appraisal of a site’s value, but it has also significantly improved our own business processes, saving time and money

Nicholas Watson – Head of Land Management in the South East, Strutt & Parker

The Solution

Strutt & Parker discussed its challenges with Mapman, a digital mapping consultancy in Kent. One of Esri UK’s Startup programme partners, Mapman realised immediately that it could use Esri’s ArcGIS Online solution to build an app that would give land agents instant, 24/7 visibility of all of the data they needed, on a single interactive map.

Mapman used ArcGIS Online and authoritative data from the Ordnance Survey, Cranfield University, the Met Office and other open sources to create a viticulture app, which it named FarmView. “I have long experience of using ArcGIS and am very confident in it as a digital mapping platform,” says Pete Wain, Managing Director of Mapman. “It is very easy to deploy new applications and share data, plus it is scalable, resilient and has security built in. I wouldn’t have considered building FarmView with any other GIS system.”

Strutt & Parker jumped at the opportunity to become the first corporate user of FarmView. Using the ArcGIS Online solution, its land agents can select any parcel of land and click on it to see an immediate assessment of its soil, terrain and climate, indicating the land’s suitability for vineyards. Land agents can also apply a search function to see, in an instant, where suitable land exists across a specific region or county.

Significantly, Strutt & Parker can use the location intelligence of FarmView to create data-driven and branded reports, with embedded statistics, to send to clients. The thoroughness of the analysis facilitated by ArcGIS Online, and clarity of FarmView’s reports, makes it very easy for the organisation’s clients to understand the relative merits of different land parcels and make confident decisions about the suitability of the land.

“ I have long experience of using ArcGIS and am very confident in it as a digital mapping platform

Pete Wain – Managing Director – MapMan

The Benefits

Over 1500% return on investment
Since subscribing to the ArcGIS-based solution from Mapman, Strutt & Parker has been highly successful in winning new clients and orchestrating land sales, particularly in Kent. Edward Mansel Lewis, Senior Associate Director at Strutt & Parker, says, “The cost of FarmView was split equally between the Kent, Essex, Sussex and Surrey offices within our firm. Using billing figures from the Kent team, since the mapping platform was introduced, we calculate that we have made a return of 1,571% on this quarter share of the investment alone.”

“Extraordinary” time savings
If a farmer or landowner calls to discuss selling fields, Strutt & Parker agents can see within just three or four minutes if that particular land parcel is suitable for vines. “We can identify suitable sites in a quarter of the time that we would previously have spent on each project,” says Mansel Lewis. “FarmView allows us to see, in one picture, all of the features that will determine if a site is right for a vineyard or not. The amount of time that we save, as a result of this ArcGIS-based solution, is just extraordinary.”

Improved profitability and competitiveness
Using FarmView, Strutt & Parker has now built up a bank of several thousand acres of land suitable for vineyards, which gives it a massive competitive advantage over other agents, who might have to search for land on a case by case basis. “Our ArcGIS solution has made us far more competitive and profitable, compared to other agencies,” Mansel Lewis says. “After demonstrating our new mapping solution, we were fortunate enough to win a contract with the largest wine producer in the UK.”

Nicholas Watson, Head of Land Management in the South East for Strutt & Parker, adds, “FarmView not only benefits our clients with an insightful and authoritative appraisal of a site’s value, but it has also significantly improved our own business processes, saving time and money. FarmView is helping to further establish Strutt & Parker as the UK’s leading viticulture consultancy service.”

More successful wine production in the UK
Ultimately, it is Strutt & Parker’s clients who will benefit most, as they will purchase precisely the right kind of land to ensure their success. Mansel Lewis observes, “Our clients have been delighted with the sites that we have found for them using our new mapping platform. Over the course of the next few years, many new vineyards will appear throughout the Kent countryside and you can be sure that the majority of them will have been identified, in the first instance, using the ArcGIS capabilities in FarmView.”

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