Plus Dane has put spatial analytics at the heart of its operations following its widespread adoption of GIS and mapping tools from Cadcorp.
Plus Dane Group was formed in June 2008 when Dane Housing and Plus Housing merged; the group now has over 15,000 homes in ownership and management across Merseyside and Cheshire. The coming together of two very different companies presented a challenge to Plus Dane’s new GIS department; Dane Housing had a small GIS department while Plus Housing had none. Users varied from those managing tenants, grounds maintenance and land ownership to arrears and property administrators. Each user has different needs so Plus Dane needed to find a solution that would promote data sharing across the group and work for everyone in the company while also being easy to develop in the future.
Plus Dane chose Cadcorp to deliver a desktop and web-based GIS solution via its intranet which has empowered faster thinking, better sharing of data and ensures everyone is using the most up-to-date information. The solution includes Cadcorp’s web based mapping application GeognoSIS Viewer, desktop licences for Map Modeller, Map Editor and Housing Toolkit, and mSIS for mobile data capture. The solution was integrated with an open-source PostGIS database to reduce costs.
Although Plus Dane had a GIS department and previous experience using GIS systems, it didn’t have the in-house skills for extensive GIS development and programming. Cadcorp’s support staff worked with Plus Dane to help specify and implement any detailed requirements.
Cadcorp SIS allows GIS data to be created quickly on the desktop and then be easily shared with others over the intranet. This saves time and means that staff with little or no GIS experience can access up-to the-minute data.
For Plus Dane, one of the key features of Cadcorp SIS is its comprehensive spatial analytics, which the housing provider uses to ensure that arrears officers are allocated tenants fairly, with equal numbers in each territory. In the past, different arrears officers could have tenants in the same street, tenants spread over a wide area, or far more tenants to manage than others. Being able to map these territories, quickly edit and change an area and see accurate data on the number of tenants has enabled sensible reallocations.
Cadcorp also provides a tool which allows the creation and display of ‘hot spots’ such as districts with higher arrears; the tool is used to quickly highlight relevant properties and areas which have the highest arrears so that Plus Dane can allocate resources accordingly.
In future, Plus Dane plans to integrate GIS across more of its operations, including enabling its staff on estate walk-abouts to photograph and report on situations such as fly-tipping, graffiti, vandalism and dog fouling. This will reduce the need for pen and paper and avoid any misunderstandings arising from word-of-mouth reports.
Alex Hill, GIS manager, Plus Dane Group, said, “We chose Cadcorp because it was willing to go the extra mile. It was the only vendor who was offering a package that we can develop and tune to our current and future needs; with the added bonus of flexibility, excellent support and a great rapport.”