ESRI UK mapping app protects York from floods

York City Council’s flood team can record, share and visualise information on a hand-held device thanks to Ordnance Survey mapping and ESRI.

York City Council’s flood team can now easily record, share and visualise gully information on any hand-held device, thanks to an ESRI UK app and detailed Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping. This case study explains how it was done.


  • Esri UK
  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer


  • 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 Geographic Information System (GIS) experience


The council’s GIS team used an ESRI UK app called ‘Collector for ArcGIS’ combined with detailed Ordnance Survey mapping. 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.


  • 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 and maintenance from ArcGIS, so no extra payment is needed
  • Four flood risk users have added more than 5,000 records in the first eight months
  • The app is 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

"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

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Partners, products and solutions featured in this study

  • Esri UK

    Esri is a global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence and mapping, helping customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results.

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer

    A map dataset of Great Britain's landscape – from roads to fields, to buildings and trees, fences, paths and more.