Category Archives: Mapping and Visualisation

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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Westcountry Rivers Trust

Leading a collaborative approach to river conservation

The Westcountry Rivers Trust is safeguarding fragile river environments in the South West of England, by helping large groups of stakeholders to reach consensus about river usage and conservation. It uses Esri’s ArcGIS Online and data from the national umbrella body, The Rivers Trust, to clarify the ecological impacts of human activity on rivers and prioritise schemes to improve water quality and biodiversity.

Improved understanding of environmental challenges among diverse groups

More effective and collaborative decision making about conservation priorities

Targeted conservation projects that address urgent environmental issues

The Challenge

Rivers in the South West of England flow hundreds of miles, crossing county borders and traversing land owned or managed by as many as 2,000 stakeholders, ranging from local authorities and utilities, to water sports operators and farmers. These organisations, groups and individuals have a shared responsibility to work together to protect their nearby river environments for wildlife and future generations, but can often have widely differing points of view.

Like other rivers trusts throughout the UK, the not-for-profit organisation Westcountry Rivers Trust works with large groups of such stakeholders as part of a catchment-based approach to managing river courses in its region. It aims to facilitate open communication and gain agreement from all groups involved to pave the way for river conservation schemes. “Everyone has their own language for talking about rivers,” observes Sarah Wigley, Data and Evidence Officer for Westcountry Rivers Trust. “Commercial organisations, government bodies and community groups all use different terminology and have very different priorities for river use. Our challenge is to find a way to help everyone understand each other’s needs and to see the bigger picture.”

“ Interactive, digital maps give people from varied backgrounds a common language for collaboration and communication

Sarah Wigley – Data and Evidence Officer, Westcountry Rivers Trust

The Solution

In 2013, the national, umbrella organisation, The Rivers Trust, was assigned by Defra the role of supporting river catchment partnerships across the country (as part of the Catchment-Based Approach initiative). Part of this role was to encourage the use of data and evidence in river catchment management.  Since then, The Rivers Trust has gathered and published a wide range of datasets using Esri’s cloud-based ArcGIS Online platform, including information on river flooding, commercial activity, biodiversity, water quality, land character and soil typology.  All this data is attributed with river catchment boundary information, so it is easy for catchment partnerships nationwide to use. This online data portal is a valuable resource and has already promoted the use of ArcGIS Online amongst many local partnerships.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust uses Esri’s ArcGIS Online and the data from The Rivers Trust to analyse issues of particular environmental concern, comprehend river ecosystems and present the information clearly to river catchment partners.  It uses interactive, digital maps during workshops and meetings, and produces high quality maps for reports to help multiple stakeholders, from any background, better understand and appreciate key issues.  The trust is also beginning to use ArcGIS Online to create persuasive Story Maps that help to highlight issues and explain conservation projects in a highly visual and engaging format.

“ Over time, ArcGIS Online will play a key role in helping river catchment partnerships to improve river quality and biodiversity

Sarah Wigley – Data and Evidence Officer, Westcountry Rivers Trust

The Benefits

Clearer communication of environmental issues
The Westcountry Rivers Trust has been able to significantly improve the effectiveness of catchment-based partnerships in the South West by using ArcGIS Online to present complex information, exceptionally clearly, on maps. Groups and individuals, who may not previously have realised that their commercial, agricultural or leisure activities were having an impact on water quality or biodiversity, can now better understand the environmental consequences. As Wigley says, “ArcGIS can open peoples’ eyes to the broader issues.”

More collaborative, multi-party decision making
Critically, the use of ArcGIS Online helps all of the diverse organisations and individuals involved in catchment-based partnerships to reach collective agreement. “Interactive, digital maps give people from varied backgrounds a common language for collaboration and communication,” Wigley says. “It’s an effective way to bring people together, at the same level, to understand different points of view and work together to make decisions.”

Implement more targeted conservation projects
By using ArcGIS to analyse data on river catchment areas more systematically, the Westcountry Rivers Trust is now able to easily identify issues of concern and can better prioritise conservation projects. In Cornwall, for example, the Westcountry Rivers Trust was able to use ArcGIS to identify declining fish populations and instigate a project to remove barriers at strategic sites along two key rivers to improve access to up-stream breeding areas. “Over time, ArcGIS Online will play a key role in helping river catchment partnerships to improve river quality and biodiversity,” Wigley says.

Raised awareness of the need for river conservation
Finally, by creating Story Maps, the Westcountry Rivers Trust now has a new means of raising public awareness of river conservation issues and the impact of poor land practices alongside rivers. “Story Maps are a good way of presenting scientific data to members of the public in a way that they can easily understand,” Wigley says. “We plan to use Story Maps increasingly in the future to engage the wider community in river conservation programmes.”

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Queen's 90th Birthday: Where The Over 90s Live

Featured in The Telegraph’s coverage of the Queen’s 90th Birthday, this map reveals where the most people aged over 90 live in Great Britain.

Queen’s 90th Birthday – Where The Over 90s Live

Featured in The Telegraph’s live coverage of Queen Elizabeth the II’s 90th Birthday, Esri UK used data from Office for National Statistics to create this interactive map showing where the most people aged over 90 live in Great Britain.

This map allows you to explore how many over 90s live in each local authority area and what percentage of the population they make up.


Featured:

The Telegraph

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London Speed Cameras

Explore the more than 250 fixed roadside speed cameras in Greater London which collectively caught nearly 10,000 speeding drivers in 2015.

London Speed Cameras

In 2015 more than 250 fixed roadside cameras in Greater London collectively caught nearly 10,000 speeding drivers. Featured in articles by ITV News and the Evening Standard, this interactive map allows you to explore the locations of each camera and statistics about recorded offences.

Featured:

ITV News

Evening Standard

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Most Popular Baby Names Since 1997

Explore the most popular baby names in the regions of England and Wales between 1997 and 2015.

Most Popular Baby Names Since 1997

Each year the Office of National Statistics releases new data on the most popular baby names in England and Wales. Esri UK created these animated maps showing how choices have changed over time, to support coverage by news websites such as The Independent.

The two maps, one for girls names and one for boys names, show the most popular choices by region for each year from 1997 through to 2015.

Girls Names

Boys Names

Featured:

The Independent

Mirror Online

Daily Express

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European Union Referendum Results Map

The Times used Esri UK’s Map Maker service to develop a map which supported their coverage of the European Union Referendum in June 2016.

European Union Referendum Results Map

Strength of majority

Leave:
50%  65%+
Remain:
50%  65%+


The Times used Esri UK’s Map Maker service to develop a map which supported their coverage of the European Union Referendum in June 2016.

This map shows each voting area as an equally sized hexagon. Northern Ireland is displayed as a single region.


Featured:

The Times

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The Atomic Age: Mapping Nuclear Detonations

 

An interactive map of all 2,624 nuclear detonations since the 1945 “Trinity” test near the end of World War Two ushered in the so called “Atomic Age”.

The Atomic Age: Mapping Nuclear Detonations

This interactive map, featured in an article by The Independent, details all 2,624 successful nuclear detonations since the “Trinity” test in July 1945. This culmination of the Manhattan Project marked the start of the so called “Atomic Age”.

Featured:

The Independent

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History of the Zika Virus

The World Health Organisation has declared the zika virus a global public health emergency. This map explores how the virus has spread since 1947.

History of the Zika Virus

In 2014 an outbreak of the Zika Virus began in Brazil. By 2016 it had grown into an epidemic across much of Central and South America. This Story Map, featured in an article by The Times, explores the origins of the virus since it was first identified in 1947 and it’s path to becoming a global public health emergency.

Featured:

The Times

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