Adrian Morris, Software Manager, Kennet District Council, explains the evolution of SIAâs dataMAP GIS within the Council and the recent implementation of SIAâs GIS Web Browser.
Kennet District Council has been keen to develop the potential of GIS since purchasing SIAâs dataMAP in 1996, when the Ordnance Survey first supplied digital maps of the District. dataMAP was used initially for managing grounds maintenance data, but it has gradually been utilised throughout the Council,covering other departments and users who have found the software extremely valuable in fulfilling their job roles.Currently, the majority of users are within Planning Services, including Development Control, Building Control and Forward Planning. Conservation officers also hold much of their spatial information in dataMAP, and the Environmental Health service also make use of the system and have, for example, mapped the results of pollution monitoring exercises.Adrian identifies a number of key benefits to using SIAâs software:â¢ Reliable systemâ¢ Easy to train staff to use itâ¢ Intuitive interfaceBefore implementation of SIAâs GIS Web Browser could commence, it was necessary to decide what information would be displayed. Initially, a planning and conservation theme was chosen. The site went live at the beginning of December 2005, and there are currently a variety of information layers, such as conservation areas, tree preservation orders, building regulations submissions and recycling centres. Also included are listed buildings, which have images attached, and planning applications, which link to the Northgate Planning Explorer to provide more extensive information about the selected planning application.By Christmas 2005, the GIS Web Browser became the second most popular page on the Council website, with 4,200 hits on the maps page in just over a month.Not only are Kennet GIS pioneers, but Adrian Morris has also customised parts of the GIS Web Browser to suit Kennetâs needs, which demonstrates the power and flexibility of SIAâs product offering:â¢ Under the search heading, a table displays towns and villages in the district. A click on the place name redraws the map window at that place. Users find this helpful when navigating around a large District like Kennet.â¢ The Address Point search uses SIAâs countersto record the number of address searches madeâ¢ Two of the âpointâ layers are drawn directly from Access database tables, using the OLEDB drivers, rather than having to be first geocoded onto map overlays. This approach simplifies and speeds up the process of keeping the information up to date.â¢ Kennetâs own style sheet has been applied to the web pages to make them consistent with the rest of the Council websiteHaving just completed a project to give dataMAP users view and query access to overlays from the Northgate planning system, Kennet are focussing on the potential of dataMAP for users in Housing Services. Housing needs, social housing, land availability and homelessness are areas where dataMAP may have an important role to play.The GIS Web Browser may also be used in the future as a tool in the Councilâs new contact centre, linking to the customer relationship management product to bring up geographic web pages to assist in handling enquiries.Adrian Morris sums-up: âWhilst Kennetâs GIS requirements are broadly similar to other Local Authorities, I have always been impressed by the help and encouragement that SIA have given us in developing the additional features and functions in dataMAP that our staff need. The new dataMAP Version 3 has been enthusiastically welcomed by our users, and we expect to build on past work to link dataMAP to other information systems and databases. The flexibility offered by dataMAP has enabled us to add a spatial element to much of our corporate data.âPictured: Kennet are one of few Local Authorities to use the Ordnance Survey street view maps.
Author: Contributed by SIA Ltd (www.sialtd.com)
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