Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust is a shining example of a public sector organisation using geographic information to do more with less. As part of its remit, together with other Probation Trusts across England and Wales, it runs the successful and popular Community Payback scheme. Across Staffordshire and the West Midlands, over 612,000 hours of Community Payback were completed last year by over 4,500 offenders on a community sentence. This equates to over three and a half million pounds’ worth of free labour provided to local communities as offenders pay back for the crimes they have committed. The Trust now wants to build on this success by enabling the public to nominate local “grotspots” using definitive Ordnance Survey mapping provided by the viaEuropa hosted map service.
As a member of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), the Trust has access to a wealth of Ordnance Survey digital map data covering the whole of Great Britain. This gave the Probation Team at the Trust the idea to use geographic information to help it to connect with the local community. After learning of the Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation challenge competition, they entered their idea of a mobile app which would allow the public to nominate local “grotspots” for the community payback using geotagged photos captured from their smartphones. To their absolute delight, they won!
Using the GeoVation prize money, an Android app was developed initially which is available now on Google Play. An iOS version of the app will be available shortly on the App Store. The Trust is also giving something back by making their code open source and available for reuse by other organisations via Google Code.
In the next release, the app will be enhanced to allow users to specify the exact location of the “grotspot” using OS MasterMap Topography Layer, the most detailed digital map covering the whole of Great Britain. By using this map data it will be easier for users to nominate locations more accurately whilst the Probation Team will be able to process nominations more efficiently. The Trust already has a licence to use this data to help carry out its responsibilities under the PSMA, although preparing a base map ready for use within apps, on its website and within desktop mapping applications is not quite so straightforward. This is where Europa Technologies has stepped in, providing the Trust with access to its viaEuropa for PSMA hosted map service. viaEuropa users consume an Ordnance Survey base map prepared and hosted by Europa Technologies directly into their applications. This process is as simple as opening a file or adding a few lines of code to a mobile app or web mapping API.
Jason Davies, Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, comments: “We are keen to provide the best possible service to users of our app and this includes the detail provided by OS MasterMap, which allows users to pinpoint the exact location of the project suggestion. Europa Technologies serve these map tiles seamlessly into our application and we are proud to team up with them in a public-private partnership for the benefit of communities.”
Duncan Hill, Europa Technologies, adds: “we were hugely impressed by the innovation shown by Jason and the team at Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust and were delighted to have the opportunity to assist them with this project. This is just the type of inventive use of geographic information that can help to bring communities together whilst also simplifying organisational processes in a time of severe austerity.”
viaEuropa is an online service from Europa Technologies for the delivery of high quality digital maps direct to your application. viaEuropa bridges the chasm between raw data delivery and a finished map product ready for deployment, making it ideal for any organisation needing to deliver location intelligent applications whilst saving time, saving money and improving customer service. For more information on viaEuropa from Europa Technologies, visit http://www.viaeuropa.uk.com
About Europa Technologies
Europa Technologies is an award-winning specialist in digital maps and associated services for a wide variety of market sectors and applications. Our resources allow organisations with international interests to better understand their customers, assets and markets, in a geographic context, to gain a competitive or strategic advantage. Mapping products and services from Europa Technologies are used by many Fortune Global 500 companies, governments and several missions of the United Nations. The company has global licence agreements with a number of leading Internet-based service providers including Google. Through deployment via Google Earth and Google Maps alone, our world data products have been seen by over 700 million people, approximately 1 in 10 of the world’s entire population.
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