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Saving time and costs with open source GIS and OS Maps API

Like many local authorities, Runnymede Borough Council needed to find innovative ways to identify cost savings.

Runnymede Borough Council looked to make its GIS service more efficient, so the team migrated to an open source GIS stack and introduced the new OS Maps API.

As a result, the Council has saved substantial costs in licence fees and maintenance, and has the most up-to-date base mapping to help serve its customers across all departments.

What were the challenges?

  • Finding ways to save money through innovation or technology.
  • Reviewing the existing GIS setup to improve service.
  • Improving the delivery of Ordnance Survey data to the Council.

What was the solution?

Runnymede is a relatively small Council with a small number of existing technical desktop GIS users, yet many members of staff from service areas frequently use the Council’s interactive web mapping service to access and query spatial datasets.

The introduction of the OS Maps API has improved both the delivery of OS mapping to the Council, and reduced the time the GIS team spends updating, downloading, processing and storing OS data ... it has allowed us to focus on many other aspects of our service, knowing that our base maps will always be there for us and our customers.

Chris Buckmaster, Principal GIS Officer, Runnymede Borough Council

Migrating to an open source database stack was a practical option causing minimal disruption for existing services.

It was also an opportunity to redesign and restructure the way the Council’s GIS systems run, improving future service delivery. A new open source desktop software was introduced for existing users.

This service was switched over to use open source technologies, with a brand new web mapping application built using Ordnance Survey’s OS Maps API.

OS Maps lets the council serve OS mapping data to its user base more effectively, with frequent updates, various cartographic styles to choose from, and all served through map tile services to ensure fast delivery of mapping.

What were the outcomes?

  • Substantial savings in software maintenance costs and licence fees.
  • Opens up opportunities to expand the use of desktop GIS throughout the Council.
  • A more efficient delivery of Ordnance Survey mapping through OS Maps API.
  • Complete redesign of the GIS infrastructure, cleaned up redundant datasets and improved overall service delivery.
  • Users can now capture their own service area data, enhancing and improving the Council’s spatial data library.

The products used

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