On the Job: Forward-Thinking Irish Agency Adopts Corporate GIS

14 Apr, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

Cadcorp's SIS geographic information system will help council fulfil its e-government strategy and objectives

Strabane District Council in Northern Ireland, a government agency that has a track record of embracing technology, has selected Cadcorp SIS (Spatial Information System) as the basis for its new corporate GIS.

Strabane District Council is located in Strabane, the main town in an area of Northern Ireland that is located on the border between Tyrone and Donegal counties (figure 1). Serving a population of some 37,000 -- 23% of whom are aged between 20 and 34, and 26.3% younger than 16 -- Strabane District lies in the heart of the North West Region, in reach of dynamic markets in the Republic of

Figure 1. The town of Strabane is the seat of Strabane District in Northern Ireland.
Ireland, Great Britain and Europe. As well as a thriving local tourism industry, Strabane District is also home to some of Europe's leading manufacturing companies in industries such as hosiery, linen, sportswear, packaging and food and dairy products. Some 35% of Strabane District's workforce is employed in manufacturing.

The council oversees the district's culture, arts and leisure services development; waste management; public health and building regulation. According to Councilor Jarleth McNulty, Strabane District Council's Web site is the first council Web site in Northern Ireland to offer online purchase and hire facilities: Citizens can hire a skip and buy wheeled waste bins and dog licenses online (figure 2). "We think this shows our commitment to making our services more accessible," McNulty says in a message on the Web site. "Look out for future developments."

Figure 2. Citizens of Strabane District can use their council Web site to access a variety of services.

To provide what will be Strabane District Council's first GIS solution, Cadcorp is supplying and assisting in the implementation of a combination of Cadcorp SIS Map Manager and Cadcorp SIS Map Editor software (figure 3). The software will be deployed initially in the council's Environmental Health, Building Control and Technical Services departments where, together with specialized third-party software, it will be used in a variety of e-government applications.

Figure 3. Cadcorp's SIS geographic information system.

Cadcorp is a developer of digital mapping and geographic information systems software, and it plays a pivotal technical role in the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium). The Cadcorp SIS product range is fully integrated digital mapping and GIS software that uses OGC-compliant interfaces. Cadcorp SIS applications exist in local government, central government, emergency services, insurance, oil and natural gas, mapping and surveying, commerce, utilities and many other markets.

In phase one of the GIS project, applications will include air-quality monitoring and complaints analysis in the agency's Environmental Health department, waste collection route planning and management in Technical Services and all aspects of Building Control. The Building Control department of Strabane District Council carries out the agency's statutory duty of applying building regulations through assessing proposed work to ensure compliance. It also inspects work on site as it progresses.

"The implementation of Cadcorp SIS provides an important step forward in the council's ability to achieve our stated IT and e-government objectives," said Stephen McCaul, IT manager, Strabane District Council. "We chose Cadcorp SIS because of its ease of use and compatibility with a wide range of third-party software. It also provided the best value for the money."

Commenting on the expected benefits of the new GIS, McCaul said, "While it's still early days for us, we are confident that the system will provide significant efficiency gains within the various departments in which it is deployed and help us to improve the quality of service we give to the public. It will also enable us to more easily identify recurring issues, so that we can deal with them effectively."

"We are delighted to add Strabane District Council to our growing list of customers in Northern Ireland," said Mike O'Neil, managing director, Cadcorp. "We look forward to helping the council achieve its e-government objectives."

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