<h2>Hi</h2>

GIS and Location services

11 Sep 2012 09:31 AM

GIS is often a hidden asset, embedded in multiple functions across Councils and too often assigned to the “too difficult” category when it comes to efforts to achieve efficiency.

This means that, invariably, GIS and related data are under exploited in the parallel challenge to improve service delivery. Recent SOCITM Consultancy studies have identified a series of areas in which a better understanding of GIS and location based data will release efficiency savings and improve service delivery:

Shared Services – we have found that potential exists to share not only the delivery of services with other local public service providers but also to share specialised resources. The most powerful example of realisable savings comes from sharing the Geoplace (combining the National Land and Property Gazetteer and OS Address Point) address database. Many organisations have between 30 -50 separate operational databases containing addresses. Integration through web access to shared access to a common master on premise or in the cloud, helps removes duplication in data maintenance, improves consistency in customer relationship systems and reduces complaints. An excellent example of shared services enabled by location information is the ‘Making Assets Count’ project in Cambridgeshire which by better sharing property is predicted to lead to a 20% increase in disposals over five years and lower running costs, see http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/docs/case-studies/cambridgeshire-county-council-maps-assets-using-gi.pdf.

Channel Shift – many services currently delivered by face to face or telephone contact can be more cheaply and effectively delivered over the web to browsers and mobile devices. Fault reporting is one of the simplest examples of migration allowing the public to report and track a wide variety of faults and incidents, from street light failure to abandoned vehicles using the web or via a free smartphone app. Reaching citizens through the platforms they use on a daily basis also helps improve services. The approach can also be applied to planning applications, where’s my nearest and environmental health. The award winning MySouthTyneside site has used this approach to reduce the average cost of customer interactions from £2.97 to £1.25. For more details see http://astuntechnology.com/solutions/channel-shift/

Rationalising software assets many local authorities have a large number of desktop GIS licenses on maintenance. Advances in technology enables much of that functionality to be delivered using more cost-effective web mapping or mobile services that also serve to better engage citizens and improve service. A rapid audit of users and their requirements can often reveal scope for substantial savings by providing users with the same or enhanced facilities using cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. The Local Government Association (LGA) has recently published a case study detailing the work undertaken by Barrow Borough Council where the use of Open source software to meet their obligations under the INSPIRE EU Directive, led to savings of £ 26,000 annually in license and software costs, see http://bit.ly/SnKETz.

Mapping Data – Government has recently negotiated a 10 year deal with Ordnance Survey (OS) for free ‘at the point of use’ access to all of the datasets important to local government. The agreement known as the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) removes restrictions of sharing and reuse, opening up the opportunity for much wider sharing within authorities and provision to public and community groups. Its primary purpose is to help ‘enable better and more efficient delivery of public services to citizens’. In addition, Governments Open Data initiative has made large quantities of additional location-based data accessible for free from data.gov.uk. This again offers opportunities to offer new and even more dynamic services. The London Data Store hosts a series of inspirational applications using open data, such as the focus on London Housing report, see http://data.london.gov.uk/datastore/applications/focus-london-housing

Staffed by acknowledged experts in the domain the Socitm Consulting GIS and Location practice area will focus specifically on assisting local authorities, emergency and health services and the third sector to realise efficiency savings and to deliver more effective services. There are many ways we can help including:

  • Identifying and prioritising efficiency potential
  • Strategy development
  • Developing business cases 
  • Brokering the sharing of services
  • Supporting negotiations with suppliers

For more details contact enquiries@socitmconsulting.co.uk