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Digital mapping brings significant improvements to planning the annual carnival

  • GIS means we don’t need to visit the carnival site with a tape measure to work out if we can fit everything in. Without Ordnance Survey mapping, this would not have been possible.

    Paul Neate, Head of Council Services, West Bletchley Council

West Bletchley Council has found that using digital mapping to plan for its annual carnival is a fast and efficient process. The parade route and layout of the main site can be designed and, where necessary, altered with pinpoint accuracy, to the benefit, the enjoyment and the safety of the local public and people attending.

The challenge

From its beginnings in 2002, the Bletchley Carnival has grown into a sizeable community event, which now attracts around 10 000 visitors each year. Planning for such an event is a major logistical task for the council, especially since moving to the new carnival site at Rickley Park. One concern was that the new site may be smaller than the original site, which would impact on the scale and design of the event.

West Bletchley Council was established in 2001 and is one of two parish councils covering the town of Bletchley, just to the south of Milton Keynes. The famous Bletchley Park Museum falls within their area.

The solution

The council began using digital mapping when it was planning for its 2006 carnival. It uses Pear Technology software to manage Ordnance Survey mapping data. Three members of staff received training and are now able to use the geographical information system (GIS) to perform tasks.

An immediate benefit from the data was to discover, from accurate GIS measurements, that Rickley Park was larger than the original carnival site. Such accuracy also enables the council to use OS MasterMap® Topography Layer as a base on which to plan the best layout for the main site, allowing sufficient space for the dozens of stall pitches, the events arena and vehicular access. Having the Ordnance Survey mapping data and software allows the council to move pitches around to find the best fit and make last-minute changes.

The site plan is sent to the council’s contractor, who can rely on it to mark out and set up the site. Printouts of the layout are also given to every stallholder. Each stall is numbered so stallholders know where to go. This is a huge improvement on the pre-2006 plans, which were not to scale and involved a lot of photocopying which was time-consuming and costly.

West Bletchley Council also creates a detailed plan of the parade route, which runs through the town to the carnival ground, using OS MasterMap Topography Layer. This plan is shared with the police, the council’s principal authority and its Safety Advisory Group, so all involved know the exact position of road closures, route marshals and parking restrictions.

The benefits

  • Using Ordnance Survey digital mapping to plan the location of the stalls and events on the carnival site benefits the people attending by creating a safer and better-designed environment.
  • This also means that the plan can be altered easily at short notice, saving time and money.
  • Sharing the GIS layer of the parade route with police and other organisations involved can bring efficiency savings and potentially increase safety of the event.

The products used

Download this case study PDF – 841kB


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