Category Archives: Case Study

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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SeaRoc Group

Reducing risks and costs in offshore renewable energy

The marine management consultancy SeaRoc Group analyses seabed movements and monitors the condition of underwater cables using Esri’s ArcGIS platform. With this insight, it can help wind farm operators to reduce the risk of cable failures, minimise maintenance costs and prevent interruptions in the supply of renewable energy to the National Grid.

Reduced risk of cable damage and interruptions to the supply of renewable energy

Cost savings from proactive rather than reactive maintenance planning

Clear visualisations of priority issues, to improve decision making

The Challenge

In the offshore renewable energy industry, cables and other assets worth millions of pounds are buried in sandy seabeds, hundreds of metres beneath the surface of the sea. If movements occur in the seabed over time, these cables and assets can become exposed and then damaged by the movement of the tides. Electricity circuits can be broken, leading to a suspension in energy transfer to the National Grid, complex and costly repair jobs and significant financial losses for renewable energy producers.

As a specialist marine management consultancy, SeaRoc Group (SeaRoc) provides a wide range of services and systems for clients in the offshore renewable energy market. It identified an opportunity to use geographic information system (GIS) technology to help its clients monitor seabed movements more effectively and gain better information about potential risks to improve their operational planning.

“ By using ArcGIS to analyse changes in a dynamically evolving environment, we are helping our clients to sustain the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, for the future

Amanda Forbes – Senior GIS Analyst – SeaRoc Group

The Solution

SeaRoc has been using solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform since its inception in 2002 and used Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop and Spatial Analyst Extension to develop its new client service.

The company commissions regular biometric surveys of the seabed, conducted from boats, and inputs the resulting data into ArcGIS Desktop in high resolution. SeaRoc then converts this data into image files and uses Esri’s Spatial Analyst Extension to compare it with previous biometric surveys. Through this spatial analysis, the company can identify areas where seabed changes have occurred and pinpoint sections of cable and assets that have become exposed. As Amanda Forbes, Senior GIS Analyst at SeaRoc, says, “ArcGIS enables us to see things underwater that are extraordinarily difficult to see otherwise.”

Subsequently, SeaRoc uses ArcGIS Desktop and the Spatial Analyst Extension to calculate possible future changes to the condition of cables and assets, based on predictions of how the seabed will change. The company shares this seabed analysis with its clients in the offshore renewable energy industry, by giving them access to an ArcGIS web portal. It also uses ArcGIS to create colour-coded maps to incorporate into reports and presentations, providing a strong visual picture of the condition of buried assets.

“ ArcGIS enables us to see things underwater that are extraordinarily difficult to see otherwise

Amanda Forbes – Senior GIS Analyst, SeaRoc Group

The Benefits

Reduced risk of cable damage
Through the use of ArcGIS, SeaRoc is able to provide its clients with accurate information about precisely where the seabed is shifting and how these movements impact buried cables and assets. Offshore wind farm operators can then use this insight to quickly instigate the necessary measures to protect their assets and reduce the risk of cable damage. “When you know what the seabed is doing, you can prevent issues from arising that could have serious financial consequences,” Forbes says.

Lower operational costs
Using the ArcGIS analysis from SeaRoc, offshore wind farm operators can reduce their maintenance costs, by planning their maintenance activities more proactively, according to the relative vulnerability of each location or asset. ArcGIS clearly visualises the likely seabed changes over one, three and five years, enabling organisations to develop better informed, long-term asset management plans, reduce the need for expensive reactive repairs and improve their operational efficiency.

Improved clarity in reports and data sharing
SeaRoc is able to make the findings of its seabed analysis simple to understand, by using ArcGIS to create a range of colour-coded maps in hard copy and interactive, online formats. “ArcGIS works really well as a visualisation tool,” observes Forbes. “Areas of critical concern are shown in red on the maps, making it really clear where intervention is needed urgently to protect underwater assets.”

A reliable supply of sustainable electricity
Finally, SeaRoc’s new ArcGIS-based service will help to ensure that offshore wind farms continue to generate the optimum quantity of sustainable electricity, by reducing the likelihood of outages due to cable damage from seabed movements. This is a particularly important benefit given that the UK is facing a potential energy supply shortage in the future and needs to increase its generation of renewable energy. “By using ArcGIS to analyse changes in a dynamically evolving environment, we are helping our clients to sustain the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, for the future,” Forbes concludes.

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Northern Ireland Water

Creating a “place of opportunity” with enterprise GIS

When Northern Ireland Water selected Esri’s ArcGIS mapping platform as its new corporate GIS system, it didn’t just get all of the functionality that the business needed. It also gained a suite of additional tools, creating a “place of opportunity” for improving its customers’ experience, reducing costs and removing inefficient processes.

Call centre agents can deliver better customer service with instant visibility of emerging situations

Engineers can design new water networks for developers significantly faster with automated tools

Field-based teams can upload asset information direct to the Corporate Asset Register with mobile apps

The Challenge

Northern Ireland Water was founded in April 2007 as a government-owned company to provide water and sewerage services for 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland. In its first decade, the company underwent a significant transformation, developing new operating models to enhance the way that it delivered customer services and maintained 42,300 km of water mains and sewers. By 2017, however, the company’s aspirations for continued business improvement were being constrained by its two, separate, existing geographic information system (GIS) applications.

“The need for location-based services was growing throughout the organisation, not only for office-based staff but also for our mobile workforce,” says Sean O’Boyle, Asset Information Development Manager at Northern Ireland Water. “We urgently needed to replace our fragmented approach to GIS with a single enterprise system that would support the entire organisation and fuel our drive to deliver even better customer services.”

“ ArcGIS gives us all of the features and capabilities that we were looking for – but it also takes us to another place of opportunity. We can rapidly deploy new web and mobile applications using standard, out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools, to meet new business requirements and moreover we can do this all in house

Sean O’Boyle – Asset Information Development Manager, Northern Ireland Water

The Solution

Northern Ireland Water selected Esri’s ArcGIS because the solution’s capabilities exceeded the organisation’s predicted requirements. “ArcGIS gives us all of the features and capabilities that we were looking for – but it also takes us to another place of opportunity,” explains O’Boyle. “We can rapidly deploy new web and mobile applications using standard, out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools, to meet new business requirements and moreover we can do this all in house.”

With support from Esri Ireland, Northern Ireland Water completed the initial project implementation at an impressive pace, moving from no ArcGIS capabilities at all to a full enterprise ArcGIS platform in less than a year. The consultants from Esri Ireland passed on their knowledge to employees during the project, so that by the time the systems went live, in-house teams were competent in using and managing ArcGIS. “The whole project went live on budget and on time, according to the schedule we set on day one,” notes O’Boyle.

ArcGIS is now used daily by hundreds of users and is available to 1035 employees in total. It is integrated into key workflows right across the organisation and is a core part of the organisation’s Corporate Asset Register, the second most used application within the business after email.

A key solution for Northern Ireland Water is Esri’s ArcGIS for Water Utilities, a set of maps, services, apps and automated processes that have been specifically developed to meet the needs of international water companies. The integrated nature of ArcGIS means that business specialists can edit asset or customer data using ArcGIS on the desktop and then make it instantly accessible to employees via web apps and mobile solutions, all at the click of a button.

“ Northern Ireland Water’s new Corporate GIS, implemented using ESRI technology, gives us the advantage of being able to swiftly deploy spatial solutions to aid decision making

Sara Venning – Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Water

The Benefits

Responsive services for customers
The enterprise-wide implementation of ArcGIS gives all employees in the organisation instant access to accurate location information, which they can use to help them deliver a more responsive customer service. For instance, the locations of all issues reported by customers are streamed real-time on a web map. Displayed on a four metre screen in the customer call centre, this situational awareness map allows incident managers to better monitor the situation in real-time and react quickly to resolve issues.

More efficient business processes
ArcGIS has improved business efficiency by replacing numerous manual, paper-based processes and eliminating the unnecessary duplication of data. In the Developer Services team, for example, engineers now use ArcGIS to design water main networks for planned new residential developments significantly quicker than before, enabling them to deliver a fast, professional and cost-effective service for customers.

A streamlined approach to capital delivery
Northern Ireland Water has exploited the seamless functionality of ArcGIS platform to build a successful proof of concept which delivers the capability to manage the complete life-cycle from engineering design through approvals, construction and on to “as built” asset records making what Paul Davison, Head of Water Capital Delivery at Northern Ireland Water, describes as “A step change in collecting accurate asset data.”

Enhanced safety for personnel working in the field
Using Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, Northern Ireland Water is now developing a new mobile app that will help the company to identify and respond to potential health and safety risks more quickly. Employees will use their smartphones or tablets to collect data in the field about the locations of trenches, equipment, infrastructure and other potential hazards. Whereas this information might previously have taken up to two weeks to be typed up in a report, it will be transferred to head office in real-time, saving time and allowing managers to intervene rapidly if a safety issue is identified.

Better informed decision making
In a wide variety of ways, ArcGIS gives senior managers at Northern Ireland Water faster access to better quality information. The organisation’s Chief Executive Sara Venning says: “Northern Ireland Water’s new Corporate GIS, implemented using ESRI technology, gives us the advantage of being able to swiftly deploy spatial solutions to aid decision making. This has been particularly evident during incident planning where logistics and location information is of critical importance to us in striving to respond rapidly to our customer needs.”

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RSPB

Optimising the use of drones to protect vulnerable species

The UK’s largest nature conservation charity, the RSPB, is using Esri’s Drone2Map solution to help it process, analyse and share imagery captured by drones. As a result, the organisation can now make more effective use of aerial images, to help it improve habitats and protect endangered bird species and other wildlife.

Improved understanding of the types of habitats and vegetation on reserves

More effective monitoring of the success of habitat interventions over a period of time

Cost savings from reduced field work and better operational planning

The Challenge

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) manages over 200 nature reserves in the UK, to protect and nurture vital habitats for hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. These reserves range from craggy islands with steep cliffs to vast wetlands and remote moors. Monitoring changes in food sources, habitats and breeding populations in these areas can be very difficult, due in part to their inaccessibility and also to the necessity of minimising any disturbance to the wildlife.

To address these challenges, the RSPB contracts specialist companies to fly over its reserves and take aerial photography. The imagery supplied is extremely valuable, but this approach is too expensive and inflexible to use often and across all reserves. With the decreasing cost of drones and the improving quality of lightweight digital cameras, some of the RSPB’s reserve managers started to acquire drones to enable them to capture aerial imagery on demand. The RSPB was keen to support and encourage this use of drones, but didn’t have a standard way of processing the imagery captured, storing it centrally and making it accessible to everyone in the organisation.

“ We can publish drone imagery to ArcGIS Online with a few clicks of a button, and thereby make it possible for anyone in the organisation to view the maps, zoom into specific regions and examine habitat types

Adrian Hughes – Head of GIS Services, RSPB

The Solution

The RSPB is a long-time user of Esri’s ArcGIS platform and selected Esri’s Drone2Map solution to underpin its new centralised approach to processing, analysing and sharing aerial imagery. “Drone2Map was the obvious solution for us to use, as it integrates seamlessly with our other Esri products,” says Adrian Hughes, Head of GIS Services at the RSPB. “It is also very cost effective for us, as we can share a single license between multiple users.”

Using Drone2Map, the RSPB can now convert aerial image files, captured via drones, into a single, seamless, geospatially-referenced map of areas of interest within reserves. It can then publish the map directly to the cloud, using ArcGIS Online, and make it available to staff to view via the organisation’s in-house ArcGIS platform, known internally as Merlin. “Drone2Map is really easy to use,” Hughes says. “We can publish drone imagery to ArcGIS Online with a few clicks of a button, and thereby make it possible for anyone in the organisation to view the maps, zoom into specific regions and examine habitat types.”

RSPB employees can also use ArcGIS Pro to undertake sophisticated analyses of the drone imagery and gain a deeper insight into habitat types. For example, a team working at the Abernethy Reserve in Scotland has used Drone2Map and ArcGIS Pro to analyse aerial imagery, classify different types of vegetation growth across the reserve and quantify changes in the growth of essential food sources for bird species such as the golden plover, black grouse and capercaillie.

“ Drone2Map has created a better understanding of our reserves, changed our work programmes and improved our management plans

Richard Humpidge – RSPB Reserve Manager

The Benefits

More effective habitat conservation
Using Drone2Map, the RSPB is able to gain a deeper understanding of its reserves and, as a result, implement more effective habitat conservation schemes. At the Fetlar Nature Reserve in the Shetland Islands, for example, a site manager completely changed the management of a swampland area, after viewing aerial imagery with ArcGIS and realising that there was too much open water on the land. Pools of water in the reserve were subsequently filled, creating a far more suitable habitat for the red-necked phalarope. “Drone2Map has created a better understanding of our reserves, changed our work programmes and improved our management plans,” says Richard Humpidge, an RSPB reserve manager.

Sensitive and cost-effective observations of nesting birds
With its new centralised system for processing and sharing drone imagery, the RSPB can now make greater use of drones to monitor nesting birds from a distance, without disturbing them. Recently, Drone2Map was used to process imagery taken of the only known breeding pair of little gulls in the UK. Drone2Map has also been used to create seamless images of inaccessible cliffs, allowing staff to count the number of nesting guillemots. “RSPB staff used to hire a boat and manually count seabirds on the cliff face, from the water,” says Humpidge. “By not hiring the boat, we saved the equivalent of the cost of a drone and were able to undertake a far more accurate count of the birds as well.”

Improved monitoring of habitat interventions
Using Drone2Map and ArcGIS, RSPB will be able to compare and analyse drone imagery taken at regular intervals over a period of time to monitor changes that occur following the introduction of new habitat interventions. In Swindale Beck Valley, in the Lake District, the RSPB has been involved in a project to restore the original meandering course of the river, to slow the water flow and encourage the growth of aquatic plants that are a valuable food source for birds. The organisation has used Drone2Map to create a 3D image of the new river course and will use this as the base layer image to monitor future changes in the valley.

More cost effective operations
Over time, the RSPB expects to make significant cost savings from its increasing use of drones and ability to analyse drone imagery effectively. Not only will it save money from not commissioning light aircraft to take aerial photography; it will also make savings from better operational planning. For example, when implementing habitat management schemes, it will be able to view images on Merlin, see the best access routes for diggers and more precisely identify the best locations for works to take place, saving days of field work.

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Costain

Building competitive advantage with enterprise GIS

The engineering solutions company Costain started out with just a single licence for Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop solution. Now, ArcGIS is a pivotal, enterprise system that is increasing employees’ productivity, improving client services and giving the company a strong competitive advantage.

Road inspectors complete 60% more surveys in a week using ArcGIS mobile solutions

An environment team saves around 18 hours a week with an ArcGIS web app

Contact centre staff respond promptly to maintenance requests using ArcGIS Enterprise

The Challenge

For many years, geographic information system (GIS) technology was little used at Costain. The company had a single licence for Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop application and, from time to time, it used subcontractors to create stand-alone GIS applications for specific projects. “We had different approaches for different contracts, with GIS services being commissioned for some and not others,” says Orla McManus, Head of GIS for New Business, at Costain.

As demand for GIS solutions increased, the use of subcontractors became a significant cost for the business. Furthermore, as each GIS application developed had a limited scope, defined by the needs of a specific project, the benefits of using GIS were constrained. Costain therefore decided to expand its use of Esri’s ArcGIS platform internally and use it as a strategic tool to help it deliver industry-leading, technology-driven engineering solutions.

“ Our extended use of ArcGIS puts us in a stronger position to win new business and deliver exceptional service for our clients in some of the UK’s biggest engineering projects

Orla McManus – Head of GIS – New Business, Costain

The Solution

Costain deployed ArcGIS Enterprise to create a single portal for geospatial information, for the entire organisation, hosted in its UK datacentres. It then developed a series of ArcGIS mobile apps and ArcGIS web apps to provide specific groups of employees with the capabilities they need to access data pertinent to their contracts and perform their jobs.

ArcGIS is currently used by groups of Costain employees including:
– Roads inspectors for managing 150,000 assets on a seven year highways and road maintenance contract
– Environmental teams for carrying out ecology, tree and archaeology surveys along a transportation route
– Contact centre staff for responding to telephone queries, noting asset defects and passing on information to maintenance teams

Costain has also created a ‘Costain on a map’ app to provide all employees with a gateway to the company’s growing reservoirs of geospatial data, as well as other systems, such as HR and Building Information Modelling (BIM). “Today, GIS has overtaken BIM in terms of uptake within the business and has very much become our go-to tool for information,” says Sophie Stouki, Head of GIS for Operations, at Costain.

“The ability of ArcGIS to collate data from many internal and third party sources and make it available to lots of people via a web browser is really powerful,” Stouki adds. “Employees don’t need advanced data skills or training to be able to access and use a wealth of open source and live operational data. We currently have around 1200 ArcGIS users, but this figure is going to explode into the thousands. GIS is going to be a part of pretty much every project going forwards.”

“ We currently have around 1200 ArcGIS users, but this figure is going to explode into the thousands. GIS is going to be a part of pretty much every project going forwards

Sophie Stouki – Head of GIS – Operations, Costain

The Benefits

Effective data sharing and collaboration
Costain’s enterprise GIS platform has significantly improved data sharing within the organisation and made it possible for employees to access a wide range of data sources on demand, from any location, via interactive web maps. As a result, employees now collaborate more effectively and save time across a wide range of activities. For instance, a team of ten environmental specialists has saved as many as 18 hours a week by using an ArcGIS web portal to gain rapid access to environmental data, reducing both the cost and duration of a key client project.

Increased productivity in the field
The roll-out of mobile ArcGIS apps in the field has led to significant productivity improvements, as employees no longer have to travel back to the office to find out information, print out maps or type up reports. For example, road inspectors working on one of the company’s largest highways management contracts now complete 60% more surveys in a week and provide live asset updates to the control room, rather than submitting reports three days later.

More efficient delivery of services
ArcGIS helps Costain to deliver more efficient services to its clients by making it far easier for employees to identify individual street assets and record information about their condition. Contact centre operatives, for example, have the information they need at their fingertips to identify faulty street lights accurately and can pass on a more precise location to the maintenance teams. Costain can, therefore, affect repairs more promptly and deliver a responsive service for its local authority clients and citizens.

Improved management of large contracts
On long-term highways maintenance contracts the use of ArcGIS helps managers to better understand the extent of required works. They can see, at a glance, which areas of grass and vegetation they are responsible for cutting and ensure verges and hedges covered by the contract are not missed. Equally, they can easily see adopted and private land, as well as third party apparatus, and avoid unnecessary interventions and associated costs.

A commercial advantage in tenders for new business
In a highly competitive marketplace, Costain is now better able to tender for high value new contracts as it uses ArcGIS to help demonstrate its ability to deliver advanced, technology-driven engineering solutions. “Prospective clients increasingly see GIS not as a nice-to-have, but as a definite requirement,” explains McManus. “Our extended use of ArcGIS puts us in a stronger position to win new business and deliver exceptional service for our clients in some of the UK’s biggest engineering projects.”

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Emu Analytics

Driving the roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The data science and software company Emu Analytics has used Esri’s ArcGIS platform to show local authorities exactly where electric vehicle charging points should be installed on residential streets to meet rising demand for electric vehicles. Its pioneering analysis is helping councils to access government funding and accelerating the roll-out of charging infrastructure.

Complex demographic and spatial analysis conducted in a single, automated analytical process

Bespoke reports for 404 local authorities created in less than a minute, at a push of a button

Data shared in a meaningful, interactive format using StoryMaps to improve decision making

The Challenge

Amid growing awareness of the environmental impacts of diesel and petrol engines, more and more people are considering switching to electric vehicles (EVs). This has led to heightened demand for EV charging infrastructure, particularly in residential areas. Emu Analytics has calculated that an additional 83,500 EV charging points could be required in the UK by 2020, which represents an 83% increase in just two years.

To help local authorities respond to this demand, the UK Government has made a substantial grant available to cover 75% of the cost of installing new charging infrastructure on residential streets. The vast majority of councils have, however, been unable to submit grant applications as they haven’t had the necessary data to prove exactly where on-street charging infrastructure is needed.

“ By using ArcGIS to show local authorities where to prioritise the roll-out of charging infrastructure, and by giving them the data they need to apply for funding, we are helping to remove one of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle usage

Alice Goudie – Senior Location Intelligence Analyst, Emu Analytics

The Solution

Using its existing ArcGIS platform and Python, Emu Analytics has created an automated analytical process that provides local authorities with the data they need to apply for the government grant and accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure. The process predicts future demand for EV charger points, at street level, across the whole of the UK, and generates a unique report for each of the UK’s 404 local authorities with barely any manual intervention.

Firstly, ArcGIS identifies clusters of young, educated and well-paid individuals who match the profile of electric vehicle ‘early adopters’. Then the technology uses open source data from the Department of Transport on vehicle ownership to identify high densities of diesel car owners, who may be persuaded to switch directly from diesel to electric rather than from diesel to petrol. Other potential groups of early adopters are also identified in deprived areas, to ensure that all sections of society are considered.

Next, ArcGIS uses Ordnance Survey road maps and Land Registry data to measure the distances between buildings and the road, to identify properties that are unlikely to have driveways where private EV charging points could be installed. All of the demographic, vehicle ownership and driveway analysis is then combined on digital maps in ArcGIS Desktop to reveal ‘hot spots’ where there is potential high demand for on-street EV charging infrastructure.

At a touch of a button, Emu Analytics can embed maps and statistics from ArcGIS into bespoke four-page reports for local authorities, highlighting precisely those residential areas where EV charging infrastructure would be most used. Emu Analytics can also create Esri Story Maps to present local authorities with its analysis in a highly visual and interactive format.

“ The power of StoryMaps is that everyone can look at the areas they are interested in on a map and interrogate the data themselves to make better-informed decisions

Alice Goudie – Senior Location Intelligence Analyst, Emu Analytics

The Benefits

Faster roll-out of EV charging infrastructure
Through its use of ArcGIS, Emu Analytics can provide local authorities with the evidence they require to apply for the government grant and accelerate the roll-out of on-street charging infrastructure. One of the main factors currently impeding the widespread adoption of EVs is the shortage of EV charging points, so, by helping local authorities to install charger points more quickly, Emu Analytics is also helping to drive the growth in sustainable forms of transport. “By using ArcGIS to show local authorities where to prioritise the roll-out of charging infrastructure, and by giving them the data they need to apply for funding, we are helping to remove one of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle usage,” says Alice Goudie, Senior Location Intelligence Analyst, Emu Analytics.

Over 400 unique reports in less than a minute
Significantly, Emu Analytics has been able to use ArcGIS to create a rapid, repeatable analytical process so that the company can produce bespoke reports for each of the UK’s 404 local authorities, at the push of a button, in less than one minute. “Rather than having to produce map images and find the right data 404 times for 404 separate local authority reports, ArcGIS does it for me,” Goudie says.

Improved decision making throughout local authorities
Through the development of ArcGIS StoryMaps, Emu Analytics can make its detailed analysis available to clients in a format that they can easily understand and use to help them make effective decisions. The head of the council can see the data clearly explained in overview, while transport planners and highways staff can drill down to individual street level. As Goudie says, “The power of StoryMaps is that everyone can look at the areas they are interested in on a map and interrogate the data themselves to make better-informed decisions.”

A new value-adding service
Finally, ArcGIS has enabled Emu Analytics to offer an additional value-adding service for local authorities and develop a new revenue stream for its business. “This new service promotes our ArcGIS capabilities and shows our ability to use GIS in innovative way to solve business challenges,” Goudie observes.

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4site

Accelerating the delivery of next generation fibre networks

Engineering firm, 4site has reduced the time required to survey fibre networks in the field by 50% and improved the quality of its data using Esri’s ArcGIS platform. The company can now design smarter networks to reduce costs for its telecoms industry clients and support the faster roll-out of next generation fibre networks.

Mobile teams can complete network audits and capture data in the field 50% more quickly

Planners can produce designs for new fibre network installations with a 25% faster turnaround

Telecoms clients can make savings of up to 20% during the build phase, due to more accurate data

The Challenge

When telecoms companies roll out new fibre communications networks, the success and long-term profitability of the venture can hinge on the quality of the data collected at the very outset. For, if the data is incomplete or out of date, unforeseen issues can emerge that increase costs during the build phase and impede the efficient operation of the network for years to come.

The traditional approach for collecting data to inform the installation of new fibre networks was a highly manual one, fraught with the potential for errors. Surveyors typically used printed maps, note pads, laptops and cameras to conduct surveys in the field up to three days a week and then spent around two days in the office transferring their findings to spreadsheets. The engineering solutions company 4site identified an opportunity to streamline this survey process to not only improve the accuracy of the data collected, but also shorten the time required to share it.

“ 4site has reduced its turn-around time for designing new fibre networks by around 25%

Niall Looney – Operations Director, 4site

The Solution

After evaluating a number of possible geographic information system (GIS) solutions, 4site selected Esri’s ArcGIS platform, including Collector App for ArcGIS, as the foundation for a customised survey app and process. “The real power of ArcGIS is that you can adapt it,” says Niall Looney, Operations Director at 4site. “We were able to use products from the ArcGIS platform to develop a GIS-led survey workflow called 4Survey that we believe is the first of its kind in the fibre deployment industry.”

Now, 4site’s mobile teams use smartphones and ipads to view, query and collect data in the field pertaining to existing and planned fibre networks. The 4Survey app allows them to complete audits guided by pre-set drop-down boxes, verify existing network features, take and upload images, validate network maps and add new information points with attributes.

All of the information collected in the field using the ArcGIS mobile app is transferred digitally back to 4site’s planners in the company’s Fibre Centre for Excellence in Limerick, Ireland, in what is a completely paperless process. The planners can see survey data as soon as it becomes available and start designing new networks instantly. In the first six months following its introduction, 4Survey was used to provide survey, design and planning services for the roll out of fibre to more than 100,000 homes and businesses.

“ 4site’s clients could reduce their build costs by up to 20%, which, depending on the infrastructure profile, could result in savings of millions of Euros

Niall Looney – Operations Director, 4site

The Benefits

50% reduction in survey time
Using its ArcGIS survey app and workflow, 4site can now complete fibre network surveys for its clients 50% more quickly than before and, therefore, offer a highly efficient survey service for its telecommunications industry clients. Field-based surveyors work significantly more productively in the field, as they can perform all their required tasks using just one device and no longer have to return to the office to type up reports or manually link images to audits.

Faster delivery of next generation fibre networks
Because 4site’s planners receive complete, accurate survey data direct to their desktops, the instant it is collected, they can now complete the planning and design phase for new fibre installations much more quickly. “4site has reduced its turnaround time for designing new fibre networks by around 25%,” estimates Looney. “This means that we can help our clients to reduce their time to market and help them deliver next generation fibre networks to homes and businesses more quickly.”

Significant cost savings in build phase
The improved accuracy of the survey data collected is expected to result in significant cost savings for 4site’s clients during the build phase. Fewer unexpected issues will occur as a result of incorrect information, reducing the need for last minute design changes, expensive work-arounds and repeat site visits. According to Looney, “4site’s clients could reduce their build costs by up to 20%, which, depending on the infrastructure profile, could result in savings of millions of Euros.”

Improved profitability for telecoms operators
With the higher quality of data that is now collected during the new 4Survey process, 4site can work with its clients to design smarter fibre networks that will optimise future revenues and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. For example, networks can be planned to maximise the potential of clusters and ensure the network extends to as many potential customers as possible. “We can verify the areas that are seemingly unviable at an earlier stage and develop solutions to make them viable as part of the core fibre roll out,” explains Looney.

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Scotland’s Coastal Change Assessment

Assessing the future impact of coastal change

ArcGIS shows us not only where coastal change has occurred in Scotland over the last century, and how quickly, but where future changes will occur and which of our infrastructure assets will be at risk.

Public sector organisations can collaborate more effectively with a shared understanding of coastal change

Businesses can identify risks to their property and make well-informed decisions to protect their assets

Members of the public can better understand and prepare for coastal changes in Scotland

“ If we had been doing this project five years ago, before ArcGIS Online, we wouldn’t have been able to be as responsive to the original vision of the project and share our coastal change insight with everyone

Lachlan Renwick – GIS Services Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage

The Challenge

While Scotland is renowned for its spectacular coastal cliffs and scenic rocky coves, 19% of the country’s 21,000 km of shoreline is formed of beaches, sand dunes and saltmarshes. Government and university experts are concerned about the potential long-term implications of climate change on these soft landforms, because they are highly susceptible to erosion, as well as accretion from the build-up of sediments along the coast.

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of the likely future impacts of climate change on Scotland’s soft coastal landscapes and joined forces with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the University of Glasgow to undertake the country’s first ever National Coastal Change Assessment. However, before researchers could begin to assess future risks, they first needed to understand what changes had taken place in the last 120 years, where they had occurred and the pace at which these changes had happened.

“ Ultimately the information in DynamicCoast.com helps Scotland, its businesses and communities become more resilient to climate change

Professor Jim Hansom – Principal Researcher for Dynamic Coast, University of Glasgow

The Solution

With funding from Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW), researchers used Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop to analyse geo-rectified historical maps from the 1890s and 1970s alongside modern maps and LiDAR surfaces. They used over a million data points in the soft, erodible sections of the Scottish shoreline and built up a fully interactive map, enabling them to not only depict a century of coastal change, but also calculate the rate of change for every 10 metres of the soft coast. The analysis showed an increase in erosion extent of 39%, a fall in extent of accretion of 22% and a doubling of erosion rates, above historic baseline levels.

Using this evidence base, the researchers then performed sophisticated spatial analysis to identify areas likely to experience future change. They highlighted the areas of anticipated future erosion in dark red on the map and included a ten metre erosion influence area, which together includes more than 50 buildings, 5 km of roads, 2 km of railway and 2 km of water pipes that may be threatened by erosion by 2050. Over £340m of assets are at risk if erosion continues, however, in total, £13bn of assets are protected by ‘natural defences’.

Finally, the project team used Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform to share its insight into coastal erosion via an accessible web map that everyone can easily view, interrogate and understand. Called DynamicCoast.com, it enables people to browse every beach in Scotland, zoom in to view potential erosion risks at any location, using any device, whether they are at home, at work or standing on a beach. Lachlan Renwick, GIS Services Manager at Scottish Natural Heritage says, “If we had been doing this project five years ago, before ArcGIS Online, we wouldn’t have been able to be as responsive to the original vision of the project and share our coastal change insight with everyone.”

“ The GIS-led research approach we developed gives us accurate, statistical evidence and allows us to provide objective recommendations with confidence

Dr Alistair Rennie – Dynamic Coast Project Manager, Scottish Government

The Benefits

Firm evidence of climate change along Scotland’s coast
Using ArcGIS Desktop, researchers have gained tangible evidence about climate change, which they can use to make secure judgements about the future. “As scientists, we are all inherently cautious about making future predictions, yet as advisors we need to give advice to help the Scottish Government, businesses and citizens prepare for the future,” says Dr Alistair Rennie, Dynamic Coast Project Manager, Scottish Government. “The GIS-led research approach we developed gives us accurate, statistical evidence and allows us to provide objective recommendations with confidence.”

Improved resilience to climate change
By accessing DynamicCoast.com, the public and organisations can now easily find out how the continuance of past coastal changes may impact their property and assets and, as a result, make better informed decisions to reduce their longer term risks and costs. For instance, electricity suppliers can use the information to plan the installation of new electricity cables with more confidence, to avoid those areas where their condition and safety may be jeopardised by erosion or changing sea levels in the future. The University of Glasgow’s Prof. Jim Hansom, Principal Researcher for Dynamic Coast, says: “Ultimately the information in DynamicCoast.com helps Scotland, its businesses and communities become more resilient to climate change.”

Greater public awareness of coastal change
As the data is displayed on simple-to-use, interactive maps via ArcGIS Online, people with absolutely no prior experience of GIS can easily understand the implications of continued erosion and climate change on the areas of coastline where they live, work or visit. “For many climate change is a vague and distant topic, but everyone can now see for the first time, precisely how much change has happened and what the future impacts may be on the specific beaches they love,” Renwick says.

A collaborative response to the challenges of coastal change
The versatility of the ArcGIS platform, and the breadth of the analysis available, is the cornerstone of future collaboration between government bodies in Scotland and will lead to more joined-up responses to the challenges of coastal change. Organisations like SNH, SEPA, Historic Environment Scotland and Local Authorities can work more effectively together to assess the implications for threatened sites of historical and environmental interest and put strategies in place to protect and preserve them for future generations.

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Greater London Authority

Meeting rising demand for school places across London

In a ground-breaking project initiated by the London Mayor’s Office, the Greater London Authority has launched an online atlas of London schools, across its 33 London boroughs. The unprecedented clarity of information in the atlas will help the capital meet rising demand for school places, as well as allow families to make better-informed decisions when selecting schools.

London boroughs can understand the cross-boundary flow of pupils to better anticipate demand for school places

Education providers have evidence to justify their funding applications for new schools and expansion projects

Families can see consistent information about all schools and make the right choices for their children

The Challenge

In just eight years’ time, by 2025, London is predicted to need as many as 160,000 additional school places. This phenomenal growth is significantly faster than any other area of the UK and presents a significant challenge for the 33 London borough councils, which are responsible for providing school places in the capital. The complex relationship between population growth and demand for places varies hugely by location and over time, as ‘bubbles’ of growth can work their way through the school system. Understanding the picture spatially is vital because as many as 20% of young people cross borough boundaries to go to school each day.

The picture is similarly complex for parents in the capital who have to decide which schools to apply for or which new area to move into. Although some local authorities publish guidelines or catchment maps, their approach varies, making it difficult for parents to compare the likelihood of getting into different schools and the onward flow from primary schools to secondary schools.

“ ArcGIS gave us the robust platform we needed to openly share the findings from the Mayor’s Educational Inquiry recommendations

Paul Hodgson – GIS and Infrastructure Manager, Greater London Authority

The Solution

Recognising these challenges, The Mayor of London launched an Educational Inquiry and recommended the pan-London collection and analysis of data about school places. The Greater London Authority (GLA) used Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop solution in combination with other products to analyse anonymised data from the National Pupil Database, which comprises information on 8 million pupils, gathered over a five year period. “There aren’t that many systems which can handle the breadth and complexity of pupil and location data that we wanted to analyse and visualise,” says Paul Hodgson, GIS and Infrastructure Manager at the GLA. “ArcGIS gave us the robust platform we needed to openly share the findings from the Mayor’s Educational Inquiry recommendations.”

The organisation then used ArcGIS Server and JavaScript to create a customised, highly intuitive and interactive online map to display its data. This map, named the London Schools Atlas, shows for the first time the areas where pupils from particular schools live, historic catchment areas and feeder schools. Parents can click on their address and select a nearby school to see not only what percentage of children from their area attend this school, but also view the exam results and Ofsted inspection grades for this school and even calculate the journey time by foot or public transport.

The GLA supplemented the London Schools Atlas with data on birth rates, moves in and out of the capital, building developments and other factors that will have an impact on the net growth in pupil numbers in the period 2015-2025 to create graded maps that clearly highlight those areas of London where additional school places will be required in the future, to support critical education planning.

“ One of the GLA’s core missions is to provide strategic coordination across London. This project is a good example of how the GLA is fulfilling that role and adding value for Londoners

Paul Hodgson – GIS and Infrastructure Manager, Greater London Authority

The Benefits

Clear information for parents and carers
Following the launch of the London Schools Atlas, parents and guardians have a single point of reference for consistent, accurate information about all primary, secondary and specialist schools in London. They can access the interactive map from any desktop, tablet or mobile device and easily find the information they need to ascertain the probability of getting places at different schools. “There’s often a lot of anecdotal information at the school gate about how close you have to be to schools to get a place and which secondary schools primary pupils generally feed into,” Hodgson says. “The London Schools Atlas enables parents to make informed decisions when making and ranking their six school choices as part of the school application process.”

Accurate evidence to support future planning
Critically, The London Schools Atlas gives London’s 33 borough councils the evidence they need to approach the Department of Education for central government funding for new schools and school expansion projects to meet the population growth. Likewise, free school groups and academies can use the data presented in the London Schools Atlas to make sure that their proposals for new schools are in the right locations to fulfil projected demand. “It has been estimated that 4,000 new classrooms of 30 children will be needed in London over the next ten years, but not all in the same place at the same time,” Hodgson remarks. “The London Schools Atlas helps all education providers to understand at a local level, where and when places are required.”

Added insight coupled with reduced administration
Education managers working within borough councils now have added insight into demand for school places in their boroughs, because, for the first time, they can clearly see the cross-border flow of pupils. The project also saves time in education departments in boroughs right across the capital, because, as Hodgson says, “instead of publishing schools information 33 times in 33 different formats, it is just done once.” Indeed, individual boroughs will now be able to spend less time looking for and analysing information and can focus instead on meeting pupil needs and raising education standards.

Exemplary public sector coordination
In many ways, the London Schools Atlas is a beacon of best practice for London, as it demonstrates how the London Mayor’s Office and the GLA can provide leadership to improve efficiency and optimise public services in the capital. Hodgson says: “One of the GLA’s core missions is to provide strategic coordination across London. This project is a good example of how the GLA can fulfil that role and add value for Londoners.”

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