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Protecting the City of York from flooding – with new mapping app.

York City Council’s flood team can now easily record, share and visualise gully information on any hand-held device, thanks to an ESRI app and detailed Ordnance Survey mapping.

What were the challenges?

  • Keeping the City of York – with an area of 272km2 and a population of just over 200,000 people – safe from flooding.
  • Developing a quick and cost effective solution to support the drainage team in their work.
  • Finding an easy-to-use tool that can be used by a range of people, even with no mapping or GIS experience.

What was the solution?

The council’s GIS Team used an ESRI App called ‘Collector for ArcGIS’. The gullies data can be added, deleted or removed from a feature class layer, managed by a server using a database connection and a web-based map service. The data can be accessed via the app using either an Android, iOS or Windows mobile device.

This is still an evolving process and with further use we are refining and adapting the app to deliver the key outputs that we require to drive our service forward. In time, wider and more formalised corporate approaches may overtake this system, but its simplicity and ease of use will mean that our expectations of such systems will be greater. This approach has delivered a fantastic range of benefits for relatively little cost.

Steve Wragg, Flood Risk Manager, City of York Council

Gullies are added to the map using the GPS location to define the xy position or added manually to the map where the GPS is poor. Attribute information is then added using dropdown menus. The app includes several other flood risk related layers to help users. There is an option to add a photograph of a flooding incident to the map via the camera on the mobile device. Flood risk users can then view the location of the photo on a map, via the app, a web based application or ArcMap.

What were the outcomes?

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer as a base map gives unrivalled detail at small scale.
  • The council’s business data can be added in a live environment.
  • The app uses the same base map cache as all the City of York’s online apps and flood-risk related data.
  • The app is included with support/ maintenance of ArcGIS, so no extra payment is needed.
  • Four flood risk users have added more than 5,000 records in the first eight months.
  • The devices are now available to all drainage operatives and are used to record maintenance and investigation works.
  • Considerable money was saved developing the app in-house, rather than paying an external supplier.
  • Any changes made to the gullies layer in the app are immediately visible in ArcMap and web based applications, including to other app users.
  • To assist channel shifting and FOI requests, Gullies are now shared as a feature layer on the ArcGIS Open Data platform and published to the York Open Data platform, a place for businesses and organisations to publicly share their open data.

The products used

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