Geospatial IT saves councils £230m

Geospatial technology saved councils £230m and boosted GDP by around £323m in England and Wales in 2009, according to a report.

Geospatial technology saved councils £230m and boosted GDP by around £323m in England and Wales in 2009, according to a report.

Mobile, web-mapping and satellite technologies are helping to make bin men more efficient, tell people how long it will be until a bus arrives and keep citizens informed about roadworks.

Research for the Local Government Association found that the adoption of geospatial technology is now advanced enough to affect councils' budgets and efficiency.

Over the last few years internal databases have been linked, electronically stored maps have been introduced and geospatial IT has been integrated into mainstream enterprise systems, leading to mobile applications and other services that boost efficiency.

Recent innovations include iPhone applications that allow you to point your phone at a pub, restaurant or take-away and receive its hygiene rating; applications allowing users to send photographs of fly-tipping and vandalism so councils can deal with it quickly; and a program allowing residents to buy a parking ticket before they leave the house.

Councillor David Parsons, chairman of the Local Government Association's Improvement Board, said: "It is estimated such technology and information sharing could potentially save councils up to £372 million by 2014/15. In this climate of strained budgets, councils must strive to keep reaching more residents and improving services ever more creatively, and look at more ways of working together to make these big savings."

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