Tuesday, 15 February 2011

FIND is fast!

Ordering maps, data and aerial photography can be a tedious and frustrating process, especially if you need the data immediately. It’s often the case that you’ll have to wait several days, sometimes even weeks or the data may simply not be available from source.

There can be additional hassles too - licences may need to be signed and sent back; credit accounts may need to be set up; large minimum charges paid for. At FIND we have tried to make ordering data as quick and smooth a process as possible, with most of our maps, data and aerial photography available for instant online access. See below for a ready reference table covering how much faster our delivery times really are.

Photo: David W. Siu, Creative Commons, FLICKR

Standard delivery times from data source www.findmaps.co.uk
UK Aerial Photography Up-to-three working days for offline orders Instant online access
(view, print and download)
British Geological Survey (BGS) data Up-to-three working days for offline orders; signed licence needed; minimum £300 charge per export Instant online access
(view, print and download)
Coal Authority data Data unavailable from source Instant online access
(view, print and download)
Environment Agency data Order via form; delivery within a few weeks; minimum £50 administration charge Instant online access
(view, print and download)
English Heritage, Scottish Natural Heritage, Countryside Council for Wales data Unavailable for viewing. Only available as raw data needing technical skill and specialist software to access. Instant online access
(view, print and download)
Ordnance Survey maps and data Credit account needed before ordering; Over 1 working hour for FTP (OS MasterMap); “a few days” for CDs in the post (Large areas of OS MasterMap, rasters, height, address) Instant online access
(view, print and download)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Location data shows changing face of high street

In his Efficiency Review last year, Sir Philip identified £58m worth of waste in the government’s property portfolio. Much of the waste, he said, was the result of “very poor data and processes”.

During his review he highlighted the need for an evidence-based approach in all areas of business. As he pointed out, accurate data, cutting-edge technology and intelligent analysis lie at the core of good decision making.

Access to key data allows you to stay on top of key trends. According location data released earlier this month by the Ordnance Survey, since 2008 there has been a marked decline in the number of estate agencies (down by 9.2%), recruitment agencies (down 13.4%) and building societies (down by a staggering 28.2%). The only type of outlet on the high street to increase in number were bookies, which opened in 280 new locations (up 5%).

When Sir Philip Green announced that he would close up to 300 regional stores operated by his Arcadia brand, it was interpreted as another threat to the vibrancy of the UK high street. The above can be seen as a shift from the high street to supermarkets, combined with the further growth of online markets.

FIND provides a variety of location data for property professionals

Ordnance Survey maps to view, print and export
OS MasterMap 1:1250
Street detail 1:10 000
Locale 1:25 000

Location data to view print and export
Listed buildings
Built heritage sites (Scheduled monuments, World heritage sites, Parks and gardens Battlefields)
Planning application locations
Environment Agency Flood Constraint map
Conservation areas maps
Boundaries (Parishes, Ward, Electoral division, Constituencies (with Member of Parliament name and website link), Local authority district, County)
Postcodes (Including districts and areas)
London Building Heights

Location reports
Historical maps report
Underground Utilities report
Professional commercial flood risk report

Thursday, 3 February 2011

New street-level crime maps may affect insurance premiums and house prices

Launched earlier this week, police.uk provides the most detailed crime maps that have ever been made publicly available in the UK. However, it’s feared that this could prove a boon for criminals who want to avoid areas of high policing.

It’s also feared that it might help to lower house prices and push up insurance premiums in areas where levels of reported crime are high. Overwhelming public interest caused the site to crash on the day of launch, but it now appears to be up-and-running.

A spokesman for the Police Federation, which represents over a hundred thousand police officers said, ‘The danger from a policing point of view is that criminals could look at it and see that a number of crimes have happened in a certain street and so know that there is more likely to be a higher police presence in that area and so go elsewhere.’ The Home Secretary, Theresa May, welcomes the new initiative saying that ‘This will make the police more accountable. It gives people a real tool to hold the police to account.'

While Theresa May denies that making such detailed information available to the public will drive down house prices in some areas, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned that the crime maps could have a negative impact on house prices if taken out of context.

Higher insurance premiums might also result from the information in these new crime maps. According to the Association of British Insurers, companies could use it to update risk assessments for specific areas.

The maps show that currently the most crime affected area in England and Wales is Glovers Court in Preston and the surrounding area. The new website reveals that more than 150 crimes and incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported there in December alone, including 44 violent crimes.

This is a great example of how the ‘open data’ movement is gaining ground. It’s also an excellent example of how mapping intelligence can be used. As more people become familiar with using mapped data in their personal lives, this will inevitably lead to more intelligent use of mapping in the workplace.