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  • We will certainly use digital mapping again in our next training exercise and consider other ways in which it will help us to respond to any emergency.

    Jane Griffiths, Assistant Chief Executive, Cheltenham Borough Council

Learn about how Ordnance Survey digital mapping was used as part of 'Operation Lansdown', an emergency planning exercise carried out by Cheltenham Borough Council.

The challenge

It’s 18 February, 10.30 hours: after a few days of heavy rain the road conditions are wet, with standing water in some areas; the temperature is cold and a gentle wind is blowing from the south.

10.40 hours: a member of the public has phoned into the Cheltenham Borough Council switchboard to report that a tanker has crashed into the railway line at a road junction and ‘vapours’ are leaking out of it. The tanker is across the road and has stopped partially on a petrol station forecourt. A car that was shunted during the collision has come to a stop on the top of the railway bridge, knocking bricks over onto the line below. The third vehicle involved is a minibus carrying tourists: the driver is suffering from concussion but the tourists do not appear to be injured.

10.42 hours: the emergency services arrive on the scene and have declared it a chemical incident.

10.44 hours: the road has been closed and traffic is building up rapidly, and the approaching train service from London has been stopped further down the tracks.

The solution

Cheltenham Borough Council’s GIS Team supported this exercise by using a combination of mapping from Ordnance Survey, third-party data and locally sourced information.

The benefits

For example, during this exercise:

  • Contextual mapping and the TOID® (Topographic Identifier) from OS MasterMap® Topography Layer allowed information to be shared between responders and other relevant groups. These included the Highways Agency and local highways department, local schools, the media, train operating companies, the general public and supported effective senior decision makers.
  • Diversion routes were established using OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network™ Layer combined with local knowledge to avoid unnecessary road closures.
  • A 300-m cordon around the ‘incident’ was plotted onto OS MasterMap Topography Layer and 1: 50 000 Scale Colour Raster mapping.
  • Any key regional infrastructure affected was highlighted, including the location of care and nursing homes, schools, business parks and industrial units.
  • Mapping combined with weather data could have been used to indicate the passage of any harmful vapours and, therefore, who might be affected over time.
  • Ordnance Survey mapping, at a variety of scales, gave context to all post-exercise debriefs.

The products used

Download this case study PDF – 914kB


Related case studies

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (SFR) is using Ordnance Survey data, now supplied through the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA), to enhance the quality of incident information for all personnel attending emergencies.

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