UK: Lincolnshire County Council has implemented a new online Geographical Information System (GIS) infrastructure from thinkWhere. In a move to address issues with legacy software and disparate data silos, thinkWhere’s Location Centre platform is now helping Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) improve the accuracy, currency and availability of data and systems on which business critical service decisions are made. The fully implemented Location Centre includes a securely hosted online data store accessed by a range of Web Maps, Web Services and Web GIS, and is also integrated with an open source, desktop GIS.
“Prior to the start of this project we had a number of unsupported software packages, running on an end of life operating system, accessing potentially out of date data,” commented Andrea Bowes, ICT Data and Information Systems Architect within the Information Management and Technology team of LCC. “This entire project was about reducing risk by giving users across the organization easy access to accurate, current and consistent data in order to make informed decisions.”
Following an extensive investigation and review of potential solutions offered on the Government’s digital marketplace G-Cloud, LCC selected the Location Centre based on system specification, functionality and price. Working alongside thinkWhere users and data were migrated to the new infrastructure, department by department, over a six month period.
The Location Centre platform includes the datastore, a securely hosted, fully managed depository for geographically referenced data, acting as a ‘geospatial library’. Containing countywide coverage of the datasets from Ordnance Survey covered by the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), third party datasets and LCC’s own data, the data store currently holds more than 1.8 gigabytes of data.
As part of the Location Centre project LCC also chose to implement QGIS, an open source, desktop GIS application that integrates with Location Centre via a thinkWhere developed plug in. Using QGIS, as well as the Location Centre’s web based map and GIS functionality, more than 600 users across the Council are now accessing up to date, accurate, current and consistent data to underpin decision making, improve service delivery and inform customer interactions. Users of GIS data range from super users that create and maintain map layers to casual users who might just look up an address or location or print a map.
“Feedback to date on both the support and solution provided by thinkWhere has only been positive,” concluded Bowes. “As we move forward with the Location Centre we hope to explore opportunities offered by web services improving engagement using smartphone technology.”