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Barrow delivers a Where’s My Nearest service to citizens and saves £20 000

  • The innovative use of open-source components has allowed mapping functionality to be delivered both to council staff and to citizens at a fraction of the cost involved in traditional methods.

    Mick Mckinnel, IT Manager, Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council

Over £20 000 of savings have already been delivered by the GIS team at Barrow-in-Furness Borough (Barrow) by allowing staff and citizens easy access to geographic information.

The challenge

In 2009 the GIS team at Barrow was tasked with creating a web mapping solution to replace the existing external system. This was in order to reduce software licensing fees and allow for the internal development and ongoing management of a system that would ultimately benefit both staff and citizens of Barrow-in-Furness.

The solution

A locally created ‘open-source’ solution was developed by the team at Barrow that now provides easy access to geographic information for the public and council staff.

The system within Barrow allows for the creation and manipulation of GIS data without the need for traditional GIS software, knowledge or experience. For example, land charges can now be created by selecting a particular planning application number in the system which then displays the appropriate information to allow for quick and easy calculations.

The public-facing aspect of their solution allows citizen’s to interrogate maps of the borough, at various scales, in order to easily locate council and other services such as:

  • administrative information (for example, administrative boundaries; parliamentary constituencies; polling districts/stations and ward boundaries);
  • council information (for example, council tax bands; planning applications and approvals; listed buildings; conservation areas; tree preservation areas and waste and recycling information including the location of litter bins); and
  • the location of local infrastructure and services (such as doctors; dentists; chemists; post offices; schools; leisure centres; libraries; nurseries; allotments; bus stops; street furniture).

The benefits

  • £10 000 annual savings from reduced licence fees;
  • ease of use – no need for traditional GIS software/knowledge;
  • citizen’s enquiries answered online without the need for costly face to face or telephone contact;
  • authority perceived as being easier to do business with – web enquiries may be made 24/7 365 days a year; and
  • an additional cost avoidance of £40 000 from the replacement of the existing internal system.

The products used

    Related case studies

    Mole Valley District Council launches online 'one stop shop' for public service information that offers individual information to residents about where they live, ranging from which day their bin is collected to which council tax band they are in.

    Support from members and senior officers at Suffolk Coastal District Council helps to implement a corporate geographical information system (GIS) that allows staff and citizen access to geographic information.

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