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  • We acquired Points of Interest specifically to support the emergency planning function in Portsmouth City Council. Geographic information assists the Emergency Planning Officer enormously in the decision-making process.’

    John Shurvington, GIS Manager

During an emergency planning exercise Portsmouth City Council used their geographical information system (GIS) to quickly locate and order specialist equipment and supplies.

The challenge

A multi-agency emergency planning exercise was recently run in Hampshire. One of the scenarios played out centred on a bridge being damaged by flash flooding and needing to be repaired by engineers. The scenario ran that, once on site, the engineers quickly ascertained that specialist lifting equipment, heavy plant and timber supplies would need to be located, ordered and supplied to the site.

Meanwhile, as the exercise developed, a large number of citizens were evacuated into a rest centre away from any potential flooding. As these people were to be there for some time, food was going to be needed. However, some of these local residents had specific dietary requirements, meaning the Council also needed to supply halal meat and kosher food.

The solution

Portsmouth City Council’s GIS Team was called upon to supply the answers.

Using the Points of Interest dataset, supplied by Ordnance Survey, the team was able to quickly locate the specialist suppliers required.

Points of Interest is a dataset of around 3.9 million geographic and commercial features across Great Britain – all highlighting location and classification information for more than 150 different suppliers. It has a highly developed three-level system to help identify the features of interest. Points are classified into 9 broad groups, 49 subject categories and then around 615 highly specific classes.

Each Points of Interest feature is provided with a National Grid coordinate so it can be visualised as a point on a digital mapping system, and the data includes a full postal address wherever appropriate.

The benefits

In order to locate a supplier of the specialist lifting gear required by the engineers, the team at Portsmouth searched under the group ‘Manufacturing and production’, which contained the category ‘Industrial products’. Within this category they were able to quickly identify suppliers of ‘Lifting and handling equipment’, plot the suppliers’ locations onto their GIS and call up the contact details to enable an order to be placed.

When Points of Interest is combined with mapping, it becomes a powerful component in a modern, detailed location-based application, and for Portsmouth City Council it has become integral to the emergency planning function.

The products used

Download this case study PDF – 868kB


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