Saving time and money when sourcing Ordnance Survey data
After selecting Esri’s ArcGIS for its first ever corporate GIS solution, Yarlington Housing Group (YHG) turned to Esri UK for help and advice in sourcing and loading data from Ordnance Survey and other third parties. The support and expertise provided by Esri UK’s Data Services group equipped the organisation with precisely the data it needed saving weeks of effort.
Yarlington Housing Group (YHG) provides affordable housing across the South West of England, owning and managing over 9,000 properties in Somerset, Devon and Dorset. Working closely with local authorities, the group provides homes to rent and also offers Government-funded schemes to give people the chance to buy their own home. Based in Yeovil, YHG employs over 300 staff and was established in 1999 through a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer.
Esri UK’s Data Services professionals saved YHG around two weeks of time, by supplying data in precisely the right format for its GIS
The data experts were able to advise YHG on the most appropriate data types to acquire to deliver added benefits for the business
YHG asserts that Esri UK’s data services delivered better value for money than similar services offered by other vendors
YHG wanted to create a new corporate geographic information system (GIS), from which the entire housing association would benefit. By combining data from Housing Management, Asset Management, Workflow Management Tool, Repairs and Services, the company-wide GIS would give a complete view of the business and deliver valuable new insights in order to make informed strategic decisions and for users to quickly access and view information collated from a range of disparate systems in one central location.
With no previous GIS at YHG, the group had already decided to use Esri UK’s ArcGIS as its new GIS platform, but needed the most suitable Ordnance Survey (OS) data to underpin it.
“Embarking on a GIS project with such far-reaching implications meant expectations were high, so we needed the best approach to source our OS data,” explained Chris Reed, GIS Administrator, Yarlington Housing Group. “Customer service, housing specific knowledge, data quality, efficiency and costs were the main drivers behind our search for a supplier.”
After examining the market, YHG concluded that Esri UK could meet its OS data needs and offer other invaluable benefits.
The Esri approach presented a seamless OS dataset ready for use, resulting in an efficient integration into the GIS. We were up and running in a fraction of the time compared to buying data on its own
Chris Reed – GIS Administrator, Yarlington Housing Group
For our initial phase of the implementation, YHG selected a combination of OS OpenData services, OS mastermap and OS 1:25 000 Scale Raster for its base map data but recently updated the raster data to VectorMap Local following Esri UK’s recommendation. Delivered in file-geodatabase format and already set-up to the group’s specific scale, style and projection criteria, the new data was supplied optimised and cached for their GIS.
“While VectorMap Local was more expensive, we felt it presented better value for money for the organisation. It provided a greater level of flexibility by having a number of different map styles and had all the benefits of vector data, such as the ability to carry out analysis, feature integration and calculations. We were also able to take advantage of a three year contract providing a year’s cost saving compared to an annual agreement,” explained Chris Reed. “Esri provided the OS data in the correct format for our GIS and its bespoke service meant data arrived just for the area we needed, with the correct cartographic layer .mxd files, styled to our requirements.”
At no additional cost, Esri UK also provided a cache of the base-map data, geo-coded property lists and online data services such as OS OpenData, already pre-cached and in the correct format.
“Esri UK’s data consultants are experts in the housing sector and could therefore recommend and supply the most appropriate OS data,” said Chris Reed. “But it was the extra services they offered included in the price that made their solution most attractive. The team is very accessible and quick to help with any queries and we’ve built a strong working relationship.”
Another factor in YHG’s decision was that it already had a contract with Esri UK for the GIS software. Being able to deal with the same supplier for its OS data made the whole process easy and straightforward.
Esri UK’s data consultants are experts in the housing sector and could therefore recommend and supply the most appropriate OS data
Chris Reed – GIS Administrator, Yarlington Housing Group
Selecting Esri UK’s OS data solution has saved the Yarlington Housing Group’s GIS team a significant amount of time and effort.
No extra work was needed to convert or load the data, match tiles or create the desired symbology, as Chris Reed explained: “The Esri approach presented a seamless OS dataset ready for use, resulting in an efficient integration into the GIS. We were up and running in a fraction of the time compared to buying the data on its own.”
Another major time saving has been realised from the map cache. Previously, when YHG had first received its OS Raster data and master maps, creating a cache had taken them several days due to the caching process and processing issues. Now the team simply load the cache into their GIS and it becomes live the same day, with the GIS performance levels that users demand. The cache will also play a vital part in future plans for new web and mobile-based GIS services.
“Overall, the new approach from Esri UK has saved the organisation approximately 2 weeks of development work,” stated Chris Reed. “We no longer have to convert data, geocode properties, create symbology and build a cache, allowing us to focus on developing functionality, data and services that our users require.”
All of Yarlington Housing Group’s OS data needs were met by Esri UK along with the additional value-add offered by their data consultancy services. Data updates are now also provided on a six-monthly basis via ftp download.
“Esri UK has an in-depth understanding of the housing market and sourcing OS data from them has cut significant costs from the whole GIS process,” concluded Chris Reed. “The total solution has cost us the same as other vendors were quoting purely for the data, so we achieved great value for money.”