Barnsley Council is First to Put Interactive Maps on a Stratus Cloud

Pitney Bowes Business Insight SaaS Solution Saves Money and Enables Service Improvements for Local Community

Windsor, Berks,  6 December 2011 –  Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI), a global leader in customer data, analytics and communication software and services,  today announced that Barnsley Council has successfully deployed  MapInfo Stratus, a web-based mapping application, to publish data internally across the organisation and externally to improve communications with the local community.

Customer and Geographical Information Analyst at the Council, Andrew d’Andilly says, “We chose the MapInfo Stratus SaaS (Software as a Service) option because the cost and flexibility of the solution far outweighed any risks associated with not having the technology in-house. It is half the cost of alternative solutions and PBBI guarantees 99.9% availability.”

Using the Stratus Rich Internet Application Controls (RIA Controls), Barnsley has created MyProperty, a service whereby citizens can enter their postcode and access all the necessary information about their area, including, schools doctors and service schedules. Citizens can also access  Barnsley Council Interactive Maps – an interactive mapping service that enables them to activate overlays on top of a detailed map of the area – for example, clicking on ‘Car parks’ instantly highlights the relevant areas on the map. Other overlay options include ‘waste recycling sites’, ‘police stations’, ‘highway closure diversions’ and ‘pedestrian areas’. Citizens are also able to access aerial photography and historical mapping of the region.

Barnsley Council also uses PBBI’s  MapInfo Professional® for mapping and geographic analysis and  MapInfo Manager to build, maintain and manage centralised catalogues of spatial data. The addition of MapInfo Stratus, as a SaaS solution, now enables the sharing of data within and outside the council. 

The integration between MapInfo Manager, MapInfo Stratus and MapInfo Professional forms the backbone of Barnsley’s enterprise data strategy for GIS (geographical information systems) and allows it to push boundaries that were not possible previously. But for d’Andilly, MapInfo Stratus is the key to another level: “To me it is not an application, it is a tool kit. I can sit there and pick off the bits that I want to make a customised application.”

When MapInfo Stratus went live it marked the culmination of four years’ work which d’Andilly says has moved Barnsley Council from ‘no GIS to bleeding edge’. “With PBBI, we now have a strong partner to work with when it comes to developing new products and services and together we have been able, with limited resources, to roll out an applications suite that is transforming us into a pioneer in the field.”

The Council’s Interactive Map and MyProperty application are just a first step with further major enhancements in the pipeline. These include: integration with the Siemens traffic management system to deliver real-time traffic information through digital road signage; a facility for reporting street light failure and other maintenance tasks; and its use by NPS Barnsley as a platform for managing council properties.

Driving the two year evolution at Barnsley Council have been some very specific business goals:

  • Improve customer interaction 
  • Enable online information and reporting on properties, locations and other assets
  • Make information more accessible inside and outside the organisation
  • Shift customer interaction away from the call-centre to online channels

Within the Council feedback is overwhelmingly positive with people reporting that it is exactly what was needed and makes many jobs a lot easier to perform. According to d’Andilly, ‘you can see those light bulbs turning on’ when they are shown what it can do. ‘This technology is a great enabler when it comes to more efficient use of limited resources. It’s the key to developing better relationships with our customers and it provides us with the tools and business intelligence to be more productive.’

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