Maidenhead - Know Your Neighbourhood

The Problem

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, like many other authorities, provided proprietary map and property based searches on their website. The GIS team within the council saw an opportunity to build upon their programming skills and build an in-house solution, using open-source components that provided the same functionality and service to its residents.

In order to achieve this they needed a consultancy partner to help them with this transition and also provide API services for a number of areas that they did not want to operate in house.

The Solution

Windsor and Maidenhead approached Nautoguide Ltd. to help them with this transition. Nautoguide operate a cloud based geospatial platform that offers a wealth of services; from simple search API’s to full blown web applications designed to cover the entire cleansing inspection workflow.

Nautoguide worked closely with the GIS team to understand their mapping and GIS service requirements. A number of micro-projects were created to help Maidenhead including:-

  • the creation of a fully documented PHP/Postgres/Postgis based search API along with the handover and support required to allow Windsor and Maidenhead to build their own public mapping search back-end
  • the building and handover of a framework public service website allowing Borough residents to search for their address and retrieve a wide variety of information linked to their location. This included sample code in HTML/Javascript and Leaflet, documentation and support - View their Neighbourhood Map service
  • the provision of a WMS based map time service for the rendering of Mastermap map layers within Windsor and Maidenhead web pages. This removing the pain of managing map data updates and the hosting/management of a tile rendering service
  • the seamless integration of Nautoguide’s Geospatial alerting system with Windsor and Maidenhead’s website. This allows residents to register their locations of interest with the system and receive Maidenhead branded alerts via email as events such as new planning applications or enforcement notices arise within defined distances - View their Neighbourhood Alerts service
  • the creation of a hybrid address search API which integrates Windsor and Maidenhead’s locally managed Local Land and Property Gazetteer with Nautoguide’s AddressBase search API. This provides a search capability that covers locations within and also outside of the borough, alerting Maidenhead instantly to out of borough address searches

As part of this work Nautoguide have supported Windsor and Maidenhead in real time over multiple channels including email, Slack and shared electronic documents and GitHub. This has included the provision of key insights into:-

  • HTML/Javascript and CSS templating
  • Postgres data structures, views and indexing
  • Postgres database programming, specifically PL/PGSQL functions and capabilities
  • JSON data formatting
  • Security best practises

The Outcome

With the support of Nautoguide, we have been able to deliver a truly Open-Source enterprise GIS that does not relying upon any proprietary software, other than the Microsoft server that data, applications and code reside on.

Nautoguide initially provided us with consultancy and later number of hosted solutions, such as WMS basemapping and email notifications. These components have enabled us to develop in house the “Know Your Neighbourhood” application, replacing a proprietary product that provided similar functionality. The end result has provided significant cost savings to the council.

Our relationship with Nautoguide has not stopped with the roll out of “Know Your Neighbour”. We have be able to reuse code and documentation supplied by Nautoguide, alongside additional consultancy to enable the council to deploy a number of APIs as part of a digital delivery programme. Chief amongst these is access to a hosted Addressbase which integrates with our on premise LLPG, used as part of our new CRM provided by JADU.

Dealing with Nautoguide is a pleasure; the team know their subject and technologies inside out. They have been tremendous at communicating sometime challenging and complicated code easily and succinctly and have enabled the council to do so much more, for less.

Simon Miles, GIS developer, Windsor and Maidenhead.