SeamlessUK, the service designed to provide easy access to the best in local and national community information, has launched a geographic and regional search service for its community information portal. Available from March 2004, the new search features use the latest Geographic Information System technology to increase the opportunities for seamlessUK users to target information about services and resources available in their neighbourhood.
The new GIS functionality delivers a more personalised and accessible community information service to the public. With the new searching enabled, the public can use seamlessUK to answer popular questions such as ‘where is my nearest GP surgery?’ or ‘I need a dentist within 5 miles of SE1’. Existing seamlessUK partners and prospects alike are welcoming this as a first for community information projects and a real bonus for improving accessibility to information. To further improve accessibility, seamlessUK also pinpoints the location of results on a map and provides ‘how to get there’ information, plus links to local and national bus and train timetables.
SeamlessUK integrates information from local resources alongside high profile national information provider partners such as BBC, LearnDirect and AdviceGuide from Citizens Advice. The GIS search facilities work seamlessly with local and national resources so improving access to information, irrespective of where the data originated. For example, in the London Borough of Bexley, the public can seamlessly access information from nhs.uk alongside the local council’s Community Information service.
Cllr Bonnie Hart, Cabinet Member for Lifelong Learning and Libraries of Essex County Council, comments, “The GIS service element of seamlessUK provides yet another good reason for councils to join seamlessUK in order to take the pain out of meeting their ‘implementing e-government targets’. The development is a cost effective, ‘ready made’ solution that reflects the increasing importance of community information in e-Government strategy.”
e-Government solutions supplier and seamlessUK technology partner, Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDI), designed the GIS functionality. FDI will be showcasing it at epi2004 on May 21st at the NEC Birmingham https://www.promarta.co.uk/epi2004/ and at the London Connects conference on the 6th July . Helen Leech from Medway Council has also been accepted an invitation to speak on the topic of seamless information portals at the epi2004 conference.