The internal application available to all DfI staff was designed to allow the Lands Acquisition team to use Ordnance Survey NI orthophotography to detect changes in land use over time.
The Lands Acquisition Map Viewer adds to other applications already successfully delivered by the Digital Services Branch (DSB) GIS Team, such as the DfI Roads Web Viewer, which is already fully operational and used across all departments within DfI.
Louis Allister from Lands and Acquisition explains:
"Lands Branch HQ deal with the acquisition and disposal of land for the department. We also deal with many queries regarding the ownership of various plots of land and properties throughout Northern Ireland. At times as part of our investigations we require historical aerial photography. Normally we ask Ordnance Survey (OSNI) to provide photographs showing the aerial views. This involves a significant cost for each photograph.
"Recently we were advised by OSNI that aerial photography taken since 2003 was now available to all NICS departments for free. I made some enquiries through the IT Service desk and our Departmental Information Manager. I was referred to our Digital Services Branch (DSB) who advised that the information was not in a format which was easily accessible. They suggested submitting a request to DSB to see if there was a way to provide staff with a system that was easy to use.
"This initially required the completion of a Project Mandate Form which was approved at Grade 5 level. Throughout the process the team in DSB gave great advice and guidance. They quickly created an app which showed the aerial photography available from 2003 for the whole of NI. When the first version of the app was available a number of testers from HQ and divisional branches agreed to put it through its paces. They provided valuable feedback to DSB who were then able to make a few small changes so that the app fully met the needs of staff.
"Not only is this an excellent tool for us in our daily work allowing us to carry out tasks more quickly and efficiently it is also saving the department costs that previously were paid to OSNI. The app is a fantastic asset and more than meets our needs. I believe that other staff throughout DfI would also find it useful in their daily work."
The DSB team continue to promote their GIS Services and create more bespoke applications to allow business areas to carry out specific tasks and embrace new ways of innovating and transforming the mapping landscape.
For further information on the wider suite of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) mapping applications please visit here.
Public mapping data is also available via the DfI Mapping Portal.
A brief video demonstrating the new Lands Acquisition Map Viewer, its interface and some of its features is displayed below.