Northern Ireland Electricity, the electricity network company, has been working with renewable developers and landowners to ensure the process for connecting renewable technologies is as understandable and streamlined as possible. Providing the right information is vital for anyone wishing to install renewables, enabling them to assess the financial viability of the project.
NIE introduced a PDF ‘heat map’ in 2013, showing areas of the electricity network which were either at, or approaching, capacity. This simple red, amber, green map showed the capacity available at locations across Northern Ireland. However, it was not possible to look further, for example, the developer could not assess how far the proposed project was from the existing network, or how far away the nearest substation was.
Working closely with NIE, Spatial NI developed an interactive, overhead line mapping tool. This tool provides:
The mapping tool is a positive step forward in NIE’s engagement with the renewables industry. It allows the user to search on postcode, as well as offering high level zoom and measuring tools, providing developers with an ideal platform to assess whether they are likely to be affected by capacity issues.
Three days prior to the planning exercise LPS provided an online Spatial NI emergency viewer which was live in the run up to the exercise. This enabled organisations to familiarise themselves with the potential impact of the unfolding scenario.
The web based application had all of OSNI’s base mapping from Orthophotography to Large Scale data and was ready to receive and publish other data as required by the emergency scenario.
Viewers can be built quickly as the underlying data already exists as web services which can be combined to suit particular applications. This one combined OSNI mapping with data from LPS Valuation, DRD Roads Service, Department of Education, Rivers Agency, Department of Health, Health and Safety Executive, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance Service, PSNI, NI Water and NI Electricity.
Spatial NI online viewer providing Common Operational Picture to all Civil Contingency Responders
In March 2013 following an incidence of extremely heavy snowfall across Northern Ireland, Land & Property Services (LPS) were asked to provide mapping services to assist the multi agency task force who were concerned with the co-ordination of both humanitarian and animal welfare. This was the first time that an LPS GI team was officially asked to join a major incident.
Within one hour LPS had deployed a Spatial NI viewer. The web mapping application had all of OSNI’s base mapping from Orthophotography to Large Scale data and was ready to receive and push data as required by the emergency. The mapping viewer was used to visualise three main things.
Example screen shot from the Spatial NI Emergency Viewer showing the location of all Emergency Support Centres, areas of land with an elevation greater than 150 metres and the condition of roads in the snow affected areas.
Fermanagh District Council had, on an ongoing basis, approved addresses in some parts of Fermanagh, predominantly in towns and housing developments. In the remainder of the County, particularly in rural areas, an unofficial addressing system had evolved.
To ensure access to services for all Fermanagh residents, an official addressing system was required. As a result, unofficial road names, house numbers and postcodes in rural areas of Fermanagh were reviewed.
Fermanagh District Council asked Land & Property Services (LPS) to help them carry out the considerable data cleansing involved in this project using resources from the Pointer Address database and Spatial NI.
Spatial NI was used to develop a web mapping application. The web application could be freely accessed on any computer with a web browser allowing the addressing team access to all the key geographic information system (GIS) tools they required.
The application was powered by Spatial NI i.e. it was hosted on the Spatial NI system and it utilised a broad range of web mapping services available on the portal.
Example screen shot from the Spatial NI Fermanagh Rural Addressing Project web application.
John Hewitt, Sopra
The NI Defibrillator Mapping Group was established as part of an initiative to develop a Community Resuscitation Strategy for Northern Ireland. Their role was to support the Steering/Implementation Group for the strategy by creating and maintaining an online mapping database of mobile and static defibrillator locations across Northern Ireland. The group identified Spatial NI as the best mechanism for implementing their aims and objectives.
Phase 1 of the project inspired by Defibs4kids was to map the location of defibrillators in education establishments such as schools, further education establishments and Universities. The data was collected through a survey carried out by the Belfast Education and Library Board to gather data from schools within the province that currently have defibrillators.
This information was translated into a map layer and uploaded on Spatial NI so it could be displayed on a variety of OSNI background mapping.
Spatial NI enabled the mapping group to publish, share and update the map register. The intuitive Spatial NI interface means the information is accessible via the internet by stakeholders and the public on any PC or Mobile Device in a format that is easy to understand.
This data powered by Spatial NI can also be used by agencies such as the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. They can integrate the defibrillator data with their existing operational systems, so the location of a defibrillator can be communicated to 999 callers in real time potentially saving lives.
As well as promoting the location of existing defibrillators, Spatial NI can be used by organisations to analyse the data and identify gaps in service provision.
Navigable map showing the location of defibrillators in Northern Ireland.
Through this project the NI Defibrillator Mapping Group highlighted the following benefits of Spatial NI: