Southwark Council Delivers GIS Data for Not-Too-Techie Users
For Southwark Council, a London borough, geographic data is mission-critical. Employees from planners and highway engineers to contact center representatives and social workers routinely refer to location information as they serve residents.
Southwark Council staff were using a traditional GIS system to access the data they needed, but Stuart Carter, corporate GIS manager for the council, saw an opportunity for improvement. “When we started using our legacy solution in 2009,” he says, “smartphones and tablet computers hadn’t really taken off. We needed a solution that worked better with the devices people are using now.” Southwark Council began looking for a GIS system with a modern user interface. From a shortlist of eight alternatives, they selected Precisely Spectrum Spatial. “The other systems we considered were designed to appeal to a GIS professional, but that is not our user base,” Carter says. “I was very taken with the intuitive interface in Spectrum Spatial. It has power, but it doesn’t look or feel too techie.”
He also liked that the solution includes Location Intelligence capabilities. “Spectrum Spatial is not just an out-of-the-box map interface,” he says. “It comes with a Web development toolkit and API that enable us to enhance geospatial data to support all kinds of services throughout the council.”
During implementation, Carter worked closely with Precisely Professional Services to customize Spectrum Spatial from integrating Google StreetView to pulling in data from the local land and property (LLPG) database. Now hundreds of Southwark Council employees can view maps and run searches of all council data related to a particular address, including planning data, environmental information and building restrictions.
“You can click a point on the map, and it presents the information about that location,” Carter explains. “Then you can play around with the data that is presented. You can insert images, or you can annotate with drawings and notes.”