Fire and water in Scotland

As a content editor based in Southampton, it’s easy to miss what’s going on in Scotland, home of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (or OSMA.) Having recently updated the web pages for the OSMA team, I thought a round-up of news from north of the border was now due.

We recently released a new product that has some relevance to the recent ‘rainy season’ experienced in 2012. According to this Met Office article, as you may have suspected, 2012 was one of the wettest years on record, so the launch of the new OS MasterMap® Networks – Water Layer alpha release seems like an appropriate choice for understanding our changing environment in greater detail.

The thinking behind this new product came from the Scottish Detailed River Network (SDRN) project: a collaboration between Scottish Government, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water, local government in Scotland, and Ordnance Survey, tasked with delivering a highly detailed river network dataset in support of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

An alpha version of OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer dataset (covering Scotland), was released by Ordnance Survey in December 2012 and is exclusive to public sector organisations in Scotland who are members of the OSMA.

What is the OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer?

The new layer in OS MasterMap is designed for public sector organisations who are working on the challenges that our current climate brings to many communities. So, if you are a local authority looking at flood defence planning or you work for a central government organisation looking at disaster planning, this could be a product that will add real value to your digital geographic resources.

The water layer can help you plan work efficiently by providing details on rivers, watercourses, width and direction of flow, without you having to leave the office or get wet. This could be used to map your organisations assets, plan any construction, or review flood-prone areas against a digital backdrop of highly accurate geographic information.

3D fire incident maps

In contrast to the activity around water, fire services in Scotland are also benefitting from using digital map products provided through the OSMA.

Centralisation and using digital tools to improve efficiency is an ever present in many areas of the public sector. From 1 April 2013 there has been a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), and a strategic team has been appointed by Alasdair Hay, the Chief Fire Officer for the new service. Going forward, the SFRS will consist of three hubs, for East, West and North Scotland, taking a centralised approach to providing this particular emergency service.

The existing eight Fire and Rescue services in Scotland are all members of the OSMA and many have already used the products available to them through OSMA, helping them to improve the services they deliver through the use of geographic information in a digital format.

One notable example of this is from the former Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service (now a part of the SFRS) who have made use of digital maps, addressing and building height data to support their incident response plans.

OS MasterMap Topography layer provides the basis for building a quite sophisticated incident map, Details on the structural environment provides the intelligence needed for those who will be deployed to the location on the ground. OS MasterMap Topography layer provides an easy, time-saving way to create the detailed 3-D models that clarifies and helps with the management of any significant risks.

OS MasterMap Topography layer includes more than 400 million individual features, including railways and individual buildings, providing a detailed view of the urban landscape which is ideal for this work.

The image (above) gives an idea of how this information can be viewed in a 3D format, making the most of geographic and location information, to provide detailed insight and intelligence to the control room.

Scotland is clearly a place to watch in terms of the innovative use of map data in the public sector. I hope to be bringing you more examples of using geographic information to drive improvements in the public sector from this part of the world very soon.

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