Cadcorp sponsored two recent GIS and mapping events in London and Manchester, with speakers from L&Q, Greenfields Community Housing, Wakefield & District Housing and Emapsite.
Graham Naggs from L&Q explained how GIS can be easily funded on the back of the cost savings made in negotiating grounds maintenance contracts alone, but he also pointed out how the same spatial data captured to support procurement in grounds maintenance can also be used for other purposes, with the result that L&Q is now using the same technology and data to ensure fair and transparent service charging for its residents, allocating housing patches to its officers and providing geographic profiles of its tenants.
Greenfields Community Housing’s James Elms reported that it was using GIS to provide a graphical and geographical interface to its asset and housing management systems from Orchard and Keystone. As a result, its customer service centre now has a fast and intuitive map-based way to locate and retrieve key data from those applications. Greenfields is also using GIS in tree condition surveys and for the management of street lighting. Its plans for the future include using GIS to identify clusters of tenants in rent arrears, properties in need of repair, and in the planning and execution of house condition surveys.
Paul Wake from Wakefield & District Housing talked about how to implement a successful GIS, based on its experience of implementing its second GIS. He explained how WDH had managed to implement the new system in just nine weeks, including data transfer and training. Over 1,000 WDH employees now have access to the mapping system, with a resulting saving of £13,000 per year.
Lee Williams from data provisioning company Emapsite gave a quick tour of the different data sources available to housing providers. These include free and open data, as well as licensed data from Ordnance Survey and other providers. He stressed the importance of understanding what you want to do with the data so that you avoid the cost of over-specification and the limitations of under-specification.