Waterford County Council
GeoDirectory Working in Waterford
Check out how one city council uses GeoDirectory to deliver efficient local services.
"At first, we used GeoDirectory just to search for and locate addresses within the city. Then over time, we expanded its use, so that it now links into a number of functions we carry out." says Jon Hawkins, Waterford County Council GIS coordinator.
Among other things, GeoDirectory is used in Waterford to:
• Ensure the city’s electoral register is up-to-date and accurate
• Maintain accurate and reliable housing data
• Verify and check rated property information
• Create an efficient, streamlined system for collecting household waste.
Before GeoDirectory, the council kept lists of addresses and would have a rough idea of where people lived. Inevitably, there were anomalies and some duplication.
GeoDirectory allowed the council to clean up its data, remove duplication and create a clear, standardised register of all properties.
"Cleansing the data in itself was a key benefit,” says Jon Hawkins, “But even better, GeoDirectory allows us to visualise exactly where each property is located, which in turn helps us to deliver services more efficiently.
In the old days, we would just have given the Water Services a spread sheet of housing stock addresses and they would have had to spend days passing information backwards and forwards in order to work out which houses might be affected by the work.
“Now, because we’ve used GeoDirectory to map and match our properties, they can just open up an internal GIS browser, draw a line around the affected area, and instantly identify all the housing stock within that area. (Jon Hawkins, Waterford County Council)
A more visible example of the transformation GeoDirectory has helped bring about is the new bin system in the city.
Taking out the bins
At the beginning of 2008, the council was forced to open its waste collection to competition. “We had to prove we could still provide a viable service that wasn’t making a loss. To do that, we had to first review our waste collection routes to make sure our operation was as efficient as possible.”
Jon was brought in to work with the council’s Environment Department to map out paying customers and to streamline the routes.
Jon ended up creating a new collection system, based on three routes, with each customer depicted visually on a map.
GeoDirectory allowed us to calculate precisely how many customers were in each area, and then work out how many households we could collect from in a single day. Of course, some of the detail had to be tweaked in discussions with the drivers – which streets might be too narrow to reverse along, for example – but we only needed minor adjustments.
Waterford County Council
Crucially, by optimising the routes using GeoDirectory, the council was able to reduce the number of bin lorries on the road from three to two – a 33 per cent reduction. This in turn meant significant savings on fuel and other running costs.
Jon and his team then used GeoDirectory to create mailing lists to inform customers of changes. They have now launched a new website which allows residents to click on the tab, My Address, enter their address or part of their address, and immediately find out which days of the week each of their coloured bins are collected.
Jon works constantly with GeoDirectory and says: "Without this database we would never have been able to achieve this level of efficiency and sophistication".
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