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Overcoming obstacles to gazetteer creation in a rural context

NLPG Exemplar Award: Highly Commended – ‘Most Improved’ 2006: South Hams District Council.

At first glance creating an LLPG in a rural area might be considered easy, but nothing could be further from the case. In the first instance because of the rural nature of the district, a high percentage of the properties are on streets without a designated name.

Early matching with Council Tax, Non Domestic Rates and the Electoral Roll saw the first cut of the gazetteer being completed in September 2004. Soon after this, the council started updates to the NLPG on a weekly basis. From this point onward the effort was concentrated on improving data quality, a process made easier by working against a set plan and set procedures, and a work schedule listing priorities. Weekly reviews were carried out to monitor progress, maintain momentum and motivation and the status of BLPUs, LPIs and positional accuracy were mapped out which enabled the team to keep management informed of progress.

The data cleaning exercise was painstaking. Much of the work centred on ensuring compliance with BS7666, and accurate geocoding was also undertaken as part of this exercise. The last stage was to populate the council’s GIS with ‘seed points’ for approved BLPUs, this helped to improve spatial accuracy and further improved the quality of the gazetteer. A very quick, and effective, visual check of the map identified properties for which there were no seed points – the seed point being wrong or an entry missing from the LLPG.

Once the LLPG was in reasonably good order the priority 29 was to start using it. During the latter stages of the clean up programme the team implemented a ‘hub and satellite’ solution enabling a real time link of the LLPG with the planning (development control) and land charges systems. Now 100 per cent of new planning applications are linked to the LLPG.

Outcomes

The South Hams LLPG is now of a high quality. It is maintained daily and is fully integrated within the street naming and numbering process. The LLPG is linked live to the council’s planning and development control system and updates are submitted to the NLPG hub on a daily basis.

It is clear that further integration with other departmental systems will greatly reduce the current duplication of effort in maintaining addresses. As the LLPG is of a high standard, linking with other property based systems will make the process simpler.

South Hams is now well placed to improve its gazetteer further, especially in the area of commercial properties and can concentrate on further deployment with confidence.

‘Setting common standards’. - Sir David Varney (Dec 2006); Service Transformation.

Key benefits

  • The LLPG is already highlighting duplication of effort across council departments, which will be a spur to further linking and corporate deployment in the future.
  • Linking to the development control process is helping towards achieving 100 per cent land coverage. It is also identifying errors and duplicate entries not picked up earlier. It is also the key to future accuracy as the majority of new gazetteer entries originate from a planning application.
  • Success has been achieved with a small team working closely together to a strict schedule and well defined strands of work.
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