Aberdeenshire extends Scotland’s GIS frontier

February 08, 2008 -- Scottish local authority Aberdeenshire has rolled out a wide area Geographic Information System. Providing easy access to GIS across a large area of North East Scotland, Aberdeenshire has succeeded in making GIS a truly mainstream technology and one that is delivering real operational, financial and customer service benefits. Integrated with back office systems, Aberdeenshire’s GIS network is providing access to around 500 different datasets and with the easy accessibility of data, GIS is spawning an ever growing number of applications, increasingly driven by the web.

Aberdeenshire was formed from the amalgamation of three district councils and part of Scotland's Grampian Region. The Council has integrated its two main GIS applications, GGP and Smallworld, and provided connections to back office systems ensuring that captured geographic data is used to maximum effect. GGP’s GIS is used extensively across core council services such as planning and property related services.

“GGP has always played a central part to the success of Aberdeenshire’s GIS program” says Anne Buchan, Aberdeenshire’s Geographic Information Officer. “In delivering the best possible services to our citizens, easy access to geographic information is vital. GGP has always taken a very open approach, making GIS really work for us. And with their current advances in interoperability, we will be able to keep one step ahead in the development of GIS-related services.”

Aberdeenshire is mainly rural and often very sparsely populated but at the same time is also closely tied to the activities of the North Sea oil city of Aberdeen. Delivering information to those that need it has therefore been vitally important for the council and an extensive wide area network has been established to allow digital maps and GIS to be shared across the region. The Council has also been a key mover in home working allowing staff to work from home using GIS with direct access to shared, centrally stored spatial data.

The Council’s commitment to making information easily available has begun to have a real impact on customer service. Aided by web technology, Aberdeenshire is providing contact centre staff with real time service information through on screen maps and address gazetteers. In total Aberdeenshire has close to 500 GIS users and with the Internet already up to 6000 requests are being logged each day.

“GGP has underpinned many of the advances we have made in core council services such as Planning and Building Control. The software is relatively easy to use, is less costly to implement and support is excellent with someone always on hand to deal with service calls straight away” comments GIS analyst Robert Knorr.

Prim Maxwell at GGP
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