Category Archives: Platform

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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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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Thames Water

Transforming business processes enterprise-wide

The UK’s largest water and wastewater services company replaced multiple disparate GIS systems with Esri’s ArcGIS platform and integrated it with its SAP customer relationship management (CRM) solution. This single enterprise-wide GIS is now used by 2,000 office-based employees and 900 field workers to help them make better decisions, work more efficiently and deliver excellent customer service.


Case study – Utilities


The Customer

Serving up to 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and wastewater services company. It supplies around 2,600 million litres of tap water and removes and treats more than 4 billion litres of sewage every day.

Call centre agents can locate issues more precisely and provide a faster, more appropriate response to customers, improving customer satisfaction

Field workers use ArcGIS Mobile to locate jobs and assets more easily, which enables them to work more productively and speed up repairs

ArcGIS gives managers a deeper understanding of the condition of assets, so they can better plan replacement programmes

The Challenge

Thames Water has been using geographic information system (GIS) solutions from Esri UK for over six years and this single technology now supports almost every part of the organisation. However, the situation used to be quite the opposite.

Previously, Thames Water relied on a wide number of geographic mapping tools to enable different groups of employees to perform different tasks in different parts of the business. “All these solutions met a need, but none of them met all our needs,” explains Jon Regan, head of business integration centre at Thames Water. “We had pockets of functionality and knowing which system to use for different business processes was quite confusing.”

These separate systems were not only hard to maintain and use, but also contributed to an unsatisfactory quality of asset data. “We had long lead times for making field updates and sometimes it took months to record the new position of an asset,” Regan says. “Simply keeping a single version of the truth was very challenging.”

“ We were not just deploying a new technology to replace, simplify and rationalise our existing geographic systems; rather we were investing in a strategic platform that we could continue to evolve over time to meet the needs of the business

Jon Regan – head of business integration centre, Thames Water

The Solution

To address these issues, Thames Water replaced all of its previous, disparate systems with Esri’s ArcGIS platform. But it didn’t stop there. The solution also gave Thames Water the ability to extend GIS into many other parts of the business where it could deliver added value. “We were not just deploying a new technology to replace, simplify and rationalise our existing geographic systems; rather we were investing in a strategic platform that we could continue to evolve over time to meet the needs of the business,” Regan says.

One of Thames Water’s new GIS developments is the integration of ArcGIS into the organisation’s SAP customer relationship management (CRM) system. Now, for the first time, when customers contact Thames Water, call centre agents can locate the caller, identify assets in relation to that customer address and easily see any outstanding maintenance activities are. This information makes diagnosing customer issues easier.

In addition, Thames Water has used the ArcGIS platform to exchange accurate asset and location information with its mobile engineers, surveyors and field workers. When they launch their ruggedised laptops, ArcGIS Mobile automatically opens at their location and enables them to enter information about the job in hand. Any asset updates recorded in the field are automatically audited and transferred to the central asset database, where they are visible to everyone in the company.

“ The combination of GIS with CRM empowers our customer agents with better information, helping them to diagnose customer issues more accurately and initiate the best response

Jon Regan – head of business integration centre, Thames Water

Benefits

ArcGIS gives Thames Water a single, accurate and up-to-date record of all of its assets and makes this vital business information accessible to employees right across the business. 2,000 office workers and 900 field agents all use the same GIS to help them make better decisions, work efficiently and deliver excellent customer service.

In the customer contact centre, agents use ArcGIS to help them respond more quickly and appropriately to customer queries and issues. “The combination of GIS with CRM empowers our customer agents with better information, helping them to diagnose customer issues more accurately and initiate the best response,” Regan says.

In the field, employees can work more productively, as they are directed to the right place straight away and don’t waste time looking for assets that have been moved. They can instantly see the locations of Thames Water’s own assets and the property of other utilities (such as buried cables) and make decisions that can speed up repairs and minimise public inconvenience. Regan notes: “Having the right data helps us in so many ways to improve the efficiency of our processes.”

The asset management teams use ArcGIS to gain a deeper understanding of the condition of the organisation’s assets. They analyse asset performance and make informed decisions about which assets need replacing first and where investment should be directed, to get a better return on capital.

ArcGIS has also led to cost savings, particularly in back-office areas and IT. For example, now that asset update information flows directly and automatically from agents working in the field direct to the central asset database, few administrators are required to process data. Similarly, in the IT department, it is more cost effective to manage a single solution rather than multiple separate systems.

Without doubt, ArcGIS has become an indispensable enterprise system for Thames Water and will continue to play a vital role in the business, as it steadfastly evolves to meet the needs of customers and regulators. Regan concludes: “ArcGIS is a strategic platform that will give us even more benefits over the long term.”

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Veolia Water

Turning the tap on enterprise-wide efficiency gains

Replacing two legacy systems, Veolia Water deployed Esri’s ArcGIS platform to create a single, integrated GIS for over 600 employees. This enterprise-wide GIS strategy is increasing the efficiency of business processes and leading to long term cost savings, as well as improvements in customer service.

The Customer

Veolia Water UK relies on geographic information systems (GIS) to supply over 900 million litres of fresh drinking water to 3.5 million customers every day, using around 16,000 km of water mains.

ArcGIS gives all employees a single, accurate, up-to-date view of assets, leading to better decision making

Customer service is improved as the organisation can respond to leaks more quickly and work more efficiently

Veolia Water expects to secure ROI in enterprise-wide GIS in less than five years

The Challenge

Veolia had two main legacy GIS applications, which were no longer supported, making it difficult to adapt to changing business requirements.

Most significantly, the company had no single source of up-to-date spatial data, contributing to poor data quality, data duplication and other inefficiencies. “We had to reduce the risk of making operational decisions based on information that wasn’t absolutely correct”, says Steve Andersen, Works Systems Manager. “At the same time, we wanted to become more efficient in the way that we worked.”

“ By having consistent data and ArcGIS tools in place throughout our organisation, we will be able to improve many business processes

Steve Anderson – Works Systems Manager

The Solution

Working closely with Veolia’s own staff, Esri designed and implemented the new corporate GIS solution, including extensive data cleansing and knowledge transfer to key Veolia users.

The solution was delivered in three phases, over twelve months. The first and most significant phase was the single central spatial database, created using ArcGIS Server, running on an Oracle database, and accessed via a web browser.

In phase two, Veolia extended database access to over 600 users, with a bespoke web page for each distinct group of users. This reduced unnecessary complexity, making it easy for users to find the tools they needed. In addition, the existing field-based GIS was upgraded to use the new database.

Deploying Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop software to provide full-featured GIS to over 50 specialist users was the final phase.

“ As our business grows, we will be able to achieve more with the same number of people. In the future, I see huge gains in efficiency across the entire business

Steve Anderson – Works Systems Manager

Benefits

For the first time, Veolia has a fully integrated and centralised GIS:

One version of the truth
“Our network is a living thing that can change in nature at a moment’s notice”, says Andersen, and now the current status of all network assets is visible to all users, at all times.

More efficient business processes
“By having consistent data and ArcGIS tools in place throughout our organisation, we will be able to improve many business processes”, says Andersen. New automated processes include updating water leakage schematics whenever the central database is updated.

Long term cost savings
Andersen believes that “Veolia Water UK anticipates getting return on its investment within five years and hopes to benefit financially far greater than this into the future.”

Improved customer service
Responses to issues such as leaks are quicker, and there are new browser-based tools. For example, the conveyancing department can supply solicitors and home movers with a map, clearly showing the water main nearest to a property.

Reduced risk
Veolia now has a fully supported solution that can link to external systems and expand to meet changing requirements. In addition, ArcGIS improves the accuracy of street works, thus minimising the risk of corrective measures and fines.

Better decision making
Employees now trust the data, without the overhead of weekly data refreshes, the risk of basing decisions on out-of-date information, or field staff wasting time returning to the depot between jobs. Furthermore, “it was very difficult for us to distinguish between what was in the ground and what was proposed”, admits Andersen, but, “we are now much more able to show proposed pipe lines for new housing developments on the system. This helps the management team to make good long term investment decisions.”

Improved information sharing
ArcGIS makes it easier for Veolia to share information with other water authorities, external partners, public bodies, regulators (OfWat and DWI) and government departments. Flexibility to integrate map feeds from the internet and feed out its own information is crucial. “Being able to integrate with web services of all types is a key advantage,” says Evan Quick, GIS Manager.

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Defence Estates

Delivering enhanced management capability

Defence Estates has used Esri GIS technology to create a single, up-to-date view of all data pertaining to 240,000 hectares of Ministry of Defence land in the UK. With accurate information, all stored in a central repository, the organisation can make faster, better decisions and improve its land management.

The Customer

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom, custodian of 240,000 hectares, equivalent to one per cent of the UK. Defence Estates has an annual budget of £2 billion to manage the land and its assets, balancing military requirements with social and environmental considerations. The estate includes over 45,000 military buildings, rural training grounds (30 per cent of it within National Parks), 179 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), 50 special protection areas, over 600 statutorily protected buildings, almost 1,000 scheduled monuments, and numerous archaeological sites. In addition, Defence Estates manages permanent overseas facilities in Germany, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar, as well as resourcing military theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Geographic data is disseminated to users throughout the wider MOD community via desktop GIS technology and a web mapping portal

Surveyors use a GPS-enabled mobile solution to capture new data and upload it to the corporate data repository

Improved use and maintenance of third party datasets contributes to lower data management overheads

The Challenge

Defence Estates has successfully used Esri’s Geographic Information System (GIS) since 1995. However, the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) of 1998 required them to be able to query national data more effectively. A seamless and up-to-date “version of the truth” was required for both its internal and external users. This resulted in two requirements:

  • Capture data in the field, ensuring the geodatabase was updated in a timely manner.
  • Obtain and efficiently maintain third party datasets (from government and environmental organisations).

In addition, this data repository should be accessible to the whole organisation, with minimal instruction, not just to GIS specialists.

“ GIS has become a critical tool to enable strategic decision making within Defence Estates and the wider MOD community

The Solution

The Corporate Data Manager and his multi-skilled team consolidated and standardised the data captured by the eight regions. They defined and populated a spatial data model within an enterprise geodatabase that included Ordnance Survey’s baseline digital mapping. GIS applications include:

  • Geographic data is disseminated via Esri’s desktop GIS viewer and Defence Estates’ web mapping portal, known as GEODE. The viewer is installed on every user’s computer, providing simple GIS to support ecologists and environmentalists working to manage activities, such as those in SSSIs. GEODE is used by the wider MOD community, with 60% of users outside Defence Estates.
  • Surveyors use a GPS-enabled mobile solution to capture new data and upload it to the corporate repository. Analysts can quickly assess and communicate changes in the operational status of the estate.
  • Data about historical sales and purchases of land is managed in a customised GIS called e Terrier.

Ensuring that staff understand and communicate the use and benefits of GIS is crucial to the success of the system. Over 500 staff have been formally trained in GIS by the Esri UK training team. Regular participation in the wider GIS user community is also encouraged, with regular attendance at Esri UK’s Defence Intelligence Special Interest Group (DISIG) meetings and the annual Esri International User Conference.

A Defence Estate Safeguarding Plan; Using GIS to help facilitate Town and Country Planning in the vicinity of military complexes

Benefits

Defence Estates has realised a number of management benefits from the use of GIS:

Single, up-to-date view of data
Central data management and data repository ensures “one source and one version of the truth” for all Defence Estates’ geographic information. Users know they are looking at a valid version of the data. Consequently, the analysis they provide is accurate, consistent and current. This is particularly important for managing the land management lifecycle.

Lower costs, better resource usage
Holding a central copy of Ordnance Survey and other third party datasets has significantly reduced data management overheads. One team is now responsible for maintaining the corporate GIS data repository, freeing other GIS users for business-critical data capture, analysis, digital publication and cartographic map production.

Faster analysis
Mobile GIS enables environmentalists and surveyors to capture and maintain data in a timely manner. It can be used for immediate impact analysis, with any changes in the operational status of estate passed to the relevant departments. For example, when a nesting site for protected birds is identified, the surrounding training area must be decommissioned until the birds move on.

More informed decision making
GIS enables users to carry out analytical tasks such as the potential impact of wind farms on military activity or to advise where training trenches can be dug with minimal impact to surrounding archaeology, landscape and wildlife.

Enhanced management capability
Consolidating corporate data and metadata has resulted in the standardisation of data and skills, and defined stronger working practices. This has meant GIS, which was once perceived as a niche tool, to become a critical management decision-making resource – within Defence Estates and the wider MOD community.

defence_estates_magnetometer

Magnetometer survey can also reveal archaeological evidence. This image is believed to be a British-Romano settlement.

The Future

Defence Estates aims to expand the functionality and range of services by using ArcGIS Server. For example, this will allow those planning training exercises and manoeuvres to determine the optimum locations, taking into account criteria such as supply depots, terrain, ground conditions, lines of sight and environmental sensitivity.

Outside the UK, one of the key challenges will be to expand the reach of the system to bases such as Germany and Gibraltar, as well as current military theatres.

Defence Estates also wants to share its GIS knowledge and experience with other business areas, so they can realise similar benefits from their geographic data.

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Atmos Consulting

Optimising renewable energy through GIS

Renewable energy companies need to assess the availability of natural resources – such as wind, waves and water – and then balance this against a host of other environmental, commercial, physical and social issues, all within a rigorous planning process. Atmos Consulting uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform to advise its clients and identify the sites that will deliver the most energy, at the lowest environmental and monetary cost.

The Customer

Atmos Consulting Ltd (Atmos) is a leading independent environmental consultancy specialising in the complex task of finding the best site for renewable energy projects such as wind farms, hydro-electricity and biomass. Clients are utilities, developers, industry, communities and the public sector.

ArcGIS enables Atmos to make confident and clear recommendations to its clients based on accurate and meaningful data

Thorough GIS analysis minimises the risk of delayed or refused planning permissions, which waste clients’ time and money

Having GIS capabilities on every desktop facilitates faster project turnaround times and improves service

The Challenge

To excel, Atmos needs to help clients identify sites that will maximise the energy generated and optimise profitability, while minimising environmental impact. They must also provide convincing, robust evidence that the site meets planning requirements.

Atmos relies on geographic information system (GIS) technology to consolidate, analyse and present vast quantities of data. “GIS underpins everything we do”, says Fraser Mackenzie, a Director of Atmos.

The firm was using several separate desktop GIS solutions, but with a growing workload, it was increasingly difficult to manage its geospatial data. Furthermore, having various single-user licences and no central geospatial database, meant geospatial data was not accessible to all staff. “The systems that had worked very well while the company was small were no longer appropriate for the size of business that we had grown into” explains Lucy Arnold, senior GIS and data manager. “Doing nothing was not an option,” states Mackenzie.

“ By gaining a detailed understanding of all of the issues, we can provide expert advice and a high quality service to our clients

Lucy Arnold – Senior GIS and Data Manager

The Solution

Atmos selected a single, central repository for all its geospatial information, with a robust infrastructure for delivering GIS services to staff. Using Esri’s ArcGIS Server, Atmos centralised its diverse geospatial assets and implemented a two-tier approach. Their GIS specialists have advanced ArcGIS tools for in-depth analysis, editing and presenting data, while their general users view maps through an ArcGIS-driven intranet application, known as the SPatial Information Delivery and Analysis web (SPIDA-web), which enables them to quickly find the information they need.

ArcGIS Server also enables Atmos to create sophisticated models, such as statutory bird collision risk analysis. Once built, they can re-use the model, instead of having GIS specialists repeating time-consuming procedures.

“ ArcGIS helps us to identify the most appropriate locations for projects in a much shorter period of time

Fraser Mackenzie – Director at Atmos

Benefits

Improved service quality

Atmos condenses complex analysis into clear, simple recommendations. “ArcGIS enables us to perform a deeper level of analysis of the environmental, commercial, physical and social constraints at potential sites”, says Arnold. “By gaining a detailed understanding of all of the issues, we can provide expert advice and a high quality service to our clients.” The ArcGIS models are repeatable and consistent. “The data that we produce from our models is robust, transparent and reliable”, says Arnold. “That means that the authorities can have confidence in our analysis.”

Reduced risk for clients

A delayed or refused planning consent wastes time and money, but Atmos minimises this risk. “There is no such thing as an easy site” muses Mackenzie, “but we can steer developers clear of sites where our analysis shows it will be almost impossible to get permissions.” Maps generated by ArcGIS are included in Environmental Impact Assessments and can be crucial in demonstrating full consideration of all potential impacts: around 90% of Atmos’ planning submissions are approved. “The quality of the maps in our reports really does help”, says Mackenzie.

Faster project delivery

Atmos evaluates potential sites more quickly, partly through ArcGIS automated analysis models. It takes a few minutes to run ornithology queries for which data had to be manually collected in the past. “ArcGIS helps us to identify the most appropriate locations for projects in a much shorter period of time”, says Mackenzie. “Most of our clients’ projects are time-critical”, explains Mackenzie. “Having GIS capabilities on every desktop helps to speed up the turnaround time of projects.” Using SPIDA-web, staff can easily access up-to-date maps and overlay current data, responding quickly and knowledgeably to client enquiries.

More efficient operations

GIS specialists no longer have to respond to low-level enquires, and now focus on tasks that add greater value. “We have taken the simple work away from the GIS team, leaving these specialists free to do other, more complex analysis projects that really do need their expertise”, Arnold says. Because ArcGIS provides a single repository for spatial data and maps, maintaining information assets is simpler and quicker. Previously, every time a map was updated, a new pdf had to be issued; now all staff access the latest maps via SPIDA-web.

New markets

Capitalising on the expertise of its GIS team, Atmos is investigating marketing its GIS analysis services, moving GIS from a business support function to a core service area, making Atmos a bigger, more diverse environmental energy consultancy. “GIS is fundamental to all our future plans,” concludes Arnold.

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Sport England

Helping the nation create a sporting habit for life

Focused on encouraging and enabling more people to participate in sporting activities, Sport England uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it make fair and appropriate decisions about where to allocate funding. The organisation also uses GIS to make valuable information available to partners, so they can accurately assess demand for sports facilities in their local areas.

The Customer

Sport England is focused on helping people and communities to create a sporting habit for life. Between 2012 and 2017, it is responsible for investing over £1 billion of National Lottery and Exchequer funding in sport delivery organisations and projects across the country.

Sport England relies on ArcGIS to help it allocate over £1 billion of National Lottery and Exchequer funding to projects that will most benefit communities

Partners, such as local authorities, use GIS-based services provided by Sport England to help them understand demand and tailor their sports provision

Use of Esri UK’s Premium Data Services reduces costs, saves time and improves map quality for Sport England

The Challenge

In what is a central part of its role, Sport England collects extensive information on sport participation and sport provision. It is critically important for the organisation to be able to interpret and evaluate this data, as it supports its goals in two key ways.

Firstly, Sport England needs to be able to visualise and analyse its data, to help make fair and appropriate decisions about where to allocate funding, ultimately ensuring that the right sporting opportunities are established in the right places.

Secondly, the organisation needs to make this data and analytical tools accessible to its many delivery partners – including local authorities, national governing bodies for sport, community groups and leisure centre operators – so that they can better understand needs within their sport or community, develop strategic plans and obtain evidence to support their funding bids. “Our partners see us as a leading figure in the sporting landscape, because of the accuracy and completeness of the data we collect,” says Mark Critchley, GIS Manager at Sport England. “We want to be able to provide back to them value added services so that they can make informed decisions.”

“ Our partners see us as a leading figure in the sporting landscape, because of the accuracy and completeness of the data we collect. We want to be able to provide back to them value added services so that they can make informed decisions

Mark Critchley – GIS Manager, Sport England

The Solution

To support these goals, Sport England has used geographic information system (GIS) technology to develop a range of internal and partner-focused tools. These solutions are predominately based on Esri’s ArcGIS platform and offer different capabilities and services for specific groups of users.

Internally, GIS is used by employees in three directorates: facilities and planning; research and insight; and grants management. Example solutions include the integration of a tailored interactive Flex mapping component to the organisations planning application system allowing Planning Managers to review consultations in the context of other applications and grants already provided nearby, whilst ArcGIS for Desktop is used by a small number of experts to support ad hoc mapping and spatial analysis requests from across the organisation.

Externally, an example GIS solution for partners is Active Places Power. This free-to-use website enables users to view and analyse current, comprehensive sport facility data via an intuitive interface with interactive maps. The tools on the web site range from simple reports to a first-of-its-kind dynamic catchment area analysis capability to profile facilities, clubs and population characteristics within a defined travel time or distance of any given location in England.

A second external service available to partners is a bespoke off-line spatial model, called the Facility Planning Model, which partners can use to determine whether the sport facility provision in an area of interest is sufficient for demand among the local population. “What if scenarios can be run in this GIS based model, to assess possible outcomes if the supply of sport facilities or demand in an area were to change,” Critchley explains.

In order to deliver the majority of their GIS based services, Sport England and their contractors use Esri software. In addition a subscription to Esri UK’s cloud-based Premium Data Services provides Ordnance Survey mapping data pre-prepared in a format that is ready-to-use in ArcGIS. Critchley says: “We and our contractors have access to a single source of accurate, up-to-date mapping data that we can use for many different solutions, significantly reducing data management overheads.”

“ Esri UK’s Data Services have significantly reduced our data management overheads, freeing up time to deliver business-focused solutions

Mark Critchley – GIS Manager, Sport England

Benefits

By using ArcGIS to visualise and analyse the spatial relationships between multiple datasets, Sport England is able to make better decisions on where investments will have the greatest impact. As well as helping it to distribute funding, ArcGIS supports Sports England in its statutory duty to respond to planning applications that affect playing field land.

Equally as important, ArcGIS also enables Sport England to make its valuable data assets accessible to partners. These external organisations can easily perform analysis and extract relevant information to help them understand sports provision in an area, tailor sport offerings and provide the evidence base for funding bids.

For an organisation with a very small in-house GIS team, Sport England delivers a wide range of GIS services – and it attributes this success in part to its use of Esri UK’s Data Services. “It can be a challenge to deliver a vital corporate service with limited resources,” says Critchley. “Esri UK’s Data Services have significantly reduced our data management overheads, freeing time to deliver business-focused solutions.”

Prior to subscribing to Esri UK’s Data Services, Sport England had only been able to make use of a small number of mapping data sets. “We only used the data that we felt we could relatively easily manage, and that prohibited us from taking some of the big, complicated data sets, such as Ordnance Survey MasterMap,” Critchley says. “Now we can access more data sets and better mapping to deliver high quality GIS services both to internal staff and partners.”

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Norwich City Council

Transforming citizen services with successful channel shifting

Residents of Norwich now enjoy better public services and improved access to information following the introduction of a web-based service called ‘MyNorwich’. Developed using geographic information system (GIS) technology from Esri UK, this online tool has amplified the effectiveness of the council’s ‘channel shifting’ strategy and contributed to a 21% decrease in telephone enquiries.


Case study – Local Government


Citizens enjoy faster, more convenient access to information via the Internet and consequently make fewer calls to the council

The integration of GIS with web-based contact forms helps the council to improve the delivery of public services

Norwich City Council can work more efficiently, potentially saving over 4 months work for one employee every year

The Challenge

Norwich City Council wanted to be able to focus its financial resources on delivering services to those citizens who are most in need of support. To help it save money in other less critical service areas, it decided to stimulate channel shifting, a strategy that involves encouraging citizens to use the Internet to access public information rather than telephoning or visiting council offices. Industry-recognised figures (SOCITM, 2012) state that while face-to-face enquiries cost councils £7.64 and telephone contact costs £4.56, information can be served over the Internet for just 17 pence.

For its channel shifting strategy to work, Norwich City Council needed to be able to make far more information about council services and local amenities available via its web site, in a format that would allow citizens to find exactly what they wanted to know, quickly and easily. The council also needed to find new ways to enable people to communicate with the council online and report issues such as fly-tipping or graffiti without needing to speak to a member of staff.

“ The success of our channel shifting strategy helps us to free up resources and funding, so that we can focus on providing support for vulnerable people and delivering vital public services

Anton Bull – Executive Head of Business Relationship Management and Democracy at Norwich City Council

The Solution

Using a web GIS solution from Esri UK, Norwich City Council worked with its IT partner, Local Government Shared Services, to develop a new public-facing web application. Called MyNorwich, it enables citizens to enter an address to find out their waste collection dates or locate their nearest schools, parks, grit bins and much more besides.

Next, the council embedded GIS functionality into a range of online forms, which members of the public can fill in to report street scene issues to the council. Some of these forms combine Esri mapping with integration capabilities, which enables them to be sent directly to appointed contractors. For instance, when citizens open the council’s online form for reporting illegal fly-tipping, they click on a GIS map to pinpoint the site of the rubbish, and this accurate location reference is sent directly to the contractor responsible for clearing the area

“ By including mapping in our online forms, we are able to collect much more accurate information about issues in the community from members of the public

Anton Bull – Executive Head of Business Relationship Management and Democracy at Norwich City Council

Benefits

Improved access to information
MyNorwich provides citizens with a fast, convenient way to access information, and it routinely receives 4,000-5,000 hits a month, a significantly high figure in relation to the city’s population of 250,000 people. “Members of the public can use MyNorwich to find the information they need themselves on our web site, straight away, without having to phone us anymore,” says Anton Bull, Executive Head of Business Relationship Management and Democracy at Norwich City Council. “It’s more convenient for them and more cost effective for us.”

Evidence of successful channel shifting
Over a two year period following the launch of MyNorwich, Norwich City Council recorded a 21% decrease in calls to its customer contact centre. “MyNorwich is clearly one very important facility that is helping the council to achieve this reduction in inbound calls and make cost savings,” Bull says. “The success of our channel shifting strategy helps us to free up resources and funding, so that we can focus on providing support for vulnerable people and delivering vital public services.”

Better services for citizens
As well as delivering cost efficiencies, GIS is also helping the council to improve the effectiveness of its public services. “By including mapping in our online forms, we are able to collect much more accurate information about issues in the community from members of the public,” says Bull. “Contractors receive precise details about where problems are located, so repairs and clean-up activities can be initiated more quickly.”

Efficient internal processes
Within the council, several teams are now able to work more efficiently too. Previously, the council received in excess of 1,400 fly-tipping reports a year, which took at least five minutes each to process internally. Now that the fly-tipping form process is fully automated, with the forms passing straight to contractors, the council is relieved of this administrative task. “We save around 120 hours a year from this one form alone,” Bull says. The council plans to develop nine more automated forms, so when it does, it could potentially save the equivalent of over 4 month’s work for one full-time employee.

A stronger city community
As an added benefit, the council believes that MyNorwich helps to improve community participation, by encouraging people to avail of local amenities and engage in the democratic process. “MyNorwich helps people to understand more about the area they live in,” concludes Bull. “They can find out about community centres, allotments, parks and their local councillors, and use this information to get more involved in their neighbourhoods.”

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