UK: thinkWhere is helping the UK’s South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of over 1,600 square kilometers of southern England. thinkWhere’s online GIS Location Centre has been used widely by the UK’s newest National Park since 2012. Following a strategic and comprehensive review of alternative solutions undertaken within the UK Government’s G-Cloud procurement guidelines, the Authority has secured a further two years of Location Centre software, services and support.
“We use Location Centre across the entire organization,” said Alan Brough, Head of Business Services for the South Downs National Park Authority. “From our rangers who work with farmers and environmental organizations to help enhance the National Park, to the planning department putting together the first ever South Downs Local Plan.”
Established in 2011, the South Downs National Park stretches from the city of Winchester, Britain’s first capital city, all the way to the famous white cliffs of Beachy Head at Eastbourne and includes the rare heathland habitats of the Western Weald. The National Park Authority is responsible for promoting the statutory purposes of the National Park – to care for and enhance landscapes, wildlife and culture, and encourage more people to understand and enjoy the things that make the area special. The SDNPA is also the statutory planning authority for the National Park area.
SDNPA reselected Location Centre from the Government’s digital marketplace G-Cloud, based on system specification, functionality and price. In the past five years, the Location Centre platform has become an integral tool across the organization. SDNPA also use a plug-in developed by thinkWhere to work with Location Centre data seamlessly in QGIS; an open source, desktop GIS application.
The Location Centre platform also includes a securely hosted, fully managed datastore of geographically referenced data. This acts as a ‘geospatial library’ containing and contains park-wide coverage of Ordnance Survey datasets covered by the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), ‘open’ datasets and SDNPA’s own data.
Using QGIS, as well as Location Centre’s web-based map and GIS functionality, users across the SDNPA can access up-to-date, accurate, current and consistent data to underpin decision-making, improve service delivery and inform customer interactions.