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Digital Transformation for Government

Digital Transformation for Government

The Science of Where Data makes Government Smarter

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

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

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

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

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

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1st (United Kingdom) Division

Enhancing field data collection in an austere environment

1st (United Kingdom) Division

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

Faster and easier to implement online and offline surveys

Improved productivity of data collection and better interrogation of results

Enhanced sharing of information with multiple agencies

Innovative use of existing off-the-shelf technology

The Challenge

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

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

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

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

Sgt D Barrett

The Solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Col AG Johnson

The Benefits

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

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

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

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

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Oil and Gas Authority

Satisfying the data demands of the oil and gas industry

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

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

12 weeks of manual data preparation eliminated annually

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

The Challenge

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

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

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

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

The Solution

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

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

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

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

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

Tanya Knowles – GIS Manager, Oil and Gas Authority

The Benefits

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

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

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

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

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Field Studies Council

Inspiring both students and teachers

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

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

Teachers derive inspiration from best practice use of GIS in education

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

The Challenge

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

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

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

David Morgan – Education Technology Officer – Field Studies Council

The Solution

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

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

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

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

David Morgan – Education Technology Officer, Field Studies Council

The Benefits

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

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

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

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

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Strutt & Parker

Geo-enabling the UK’s sparkling wine industry

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

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

A four-fold improvement in productivity for viticulture land agents

More successful grape crops due to better selection of land

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

Edward Mansel Lewis – Senior Associate Director – Strutt & Parker

The Challenge

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

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

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

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

The Solution

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

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

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

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

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

Pete Wain – Managing Director – MapMan

The Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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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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