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  • Enabled by data supplied through the PSMA, Active Places Power’s visual and analytical capability plays a vital role in helping to ensure informed decisions and a strategic approach is taken.

    Mark Critchley, GIS Manager, Sport England

The challenge

In 2002, the Cabinet Office published ‘Game Plan’ – a strategy for delivering the Government’s sport and physical activity objectives. This recommended setting up a single national facilities database, managed by Sport England, to ensure that facility provision is planned strategically at national and local levels.

Launched in 2004, the Active Places sports facilities database now consists of 30,000 sites, at which 64,000 facilities covering 14 different facility types are located. This equates to 80% of locations where formal sport takes place. The Leisure Database Company, contracted by Sport England, collects and maintains the facility data via a rolling survey, which ensures the details held for each facility are checked once a year.

At the same time, Landmark Information Group was contracted to design, build and operate the Active Places Power website to provide local authorities, national sports governing bodies (NGBs) and other partners with a series of advanced analytical tools. These allow the user to correlate the sports facility data alongside other datasets, for example, demographic data, to help improve the strategic planning and provision of sports facilities. In 2010, a technology refresh exercise was launched to enhance website functionality, the overall user experience and to avail of operational cost savings through technology advances.

The solution

Following user consultation, the revised site was launched by Landmark in November 2012. An interactive mapping-

component within the website was built using Esri’s JavaScript application programming interface (API) and hosted ArcGIS map services, significantly reducing data management overheads. Esri UK’s Online Data Services provide a collection of different optimised map services allowing the user to choose the most appropriate style depending upon the data overlaid. Ordnance Survey products, including OS MasterMap® Topography Layer and Integrated Transport Network™ (ITN) Layer, are key to providing Active Places Power’s analytical capabilities and detailed visual representations of the facilities data, from a national to street level.

In addition, Active Places Power now contains a first-of-its-kind dynamic online catchment area analysis capability. For any given location within England, it is possible to identify the facilities, clubs or a selection of different population characteristics (including Sport England’s sport market segments) within a defined travel time or distance catchment area. Two separate datasets calculate the catchment areas within the website’s catchment report. For the driving option, the ITN Layer is used whereas for the walking option, the ITN Layer is combined with Urban Paths theme data.

The benefits

  • Provides high-quality information on the current state of sports facility provision in the country.
  • Supports local authorities, NGBs and other parties with the strategic planning for sporting provision.
  • Allows for the development, adoption and maintenance of sports data standards for the sports sectors, particularly in relation to sports facilities. • Helps to reduce duplication of investment and ensures complementary facility provision between public, private and third sectors.
  • Contributes to Sport England’s objective to invest money wisely in the right facilities in the right place, as part of its strategy to increase sporting participation: A Sporting Habit for Life: 2012–2017.

The products used

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