Esri UK has announced Dacorum Borough Council, Nottingham City Council and South Ayrshire Council as the winners of its competition to find the best use of geospatial technology among local authorities.
The competition revealed several common planning challenges faced by local authorities: improving community engagement; maximising the use of 3D visualisations; and managing developer contributions more efficiently.
Stephen Croney, head of land, property and planning, Esri UK, said, “As the government reforms the planning system with greater use of digital technologies, we wanted to find innovative solutions to planning challenges and then collaborate with local authorities to bring them to life.
“By combining each council’s expertise with our team of geospatial experts, the pilot projects will explore new approaches to common problems, all designed to help make the planning process easier for everyone.”
Dacorum Borough Council wants to migrate the contents of many of its existing documents and spreadsheets into digital mapping resources to better manage and communicate infrastructure and developer contributions secured through planning obligations.
Alan Anderson, portfolio holder for planning and infrastructure, Dacorum Borough Council, said, “Our aim is to use digital mapping to help with not only decisions around the planning of new infrastructure and make the whole process more transparent but also to support community engagement.
“Our current system’s outputs are text- and spreadsheet-based – providing this information in a spatial format means that it can be more easily used by council officers for planning, decision making and monitoring and also by the public for better engagement.”
Nottingham City Council’s proposition will explore how geospatial technology can help increase the use of 3D visualisations within planning.
Mick Dunn, GIS service manager, Nottingham City Council, said, “If 3D assessments are conducted in a GIS environment, planning teams can conduct an assessment of various constraints on a site at the same time as a visual assessment of the impact of the site.”
South Ayrshire Council’s project will look at how an innovative community consultation platform with interactive methods of engagement can improve community involvement in local development plans.
Gordon Wilson, planning technician, South Ayrshire Council, said, “The objective is to create a space to keep our community engaged and informed to strengthen our relationship with our stakeholders in order to reach better planning outcomes.”