Blackpool’s Mobile Working Boosted

Highways Officers and Housing Inspectors in Blackpool are using the latest mobile technology to improve the services in the popular seaside resort. Using HTC smartphones loaded with specially developed software and maps from GGP’s geographical information system (GIS), officers in the field can report incidents or defects, complete inspection reports and issue a range of standard communications in real time and without returning to the office.

The HTC TYTN II devices are also linked to the Council’s centralised property database helping officers identify, access and record additional information pertaining to an address or location. A direct link to GGP NGz, software specifically designed to manage the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG), provides real time access to this essential resource reducing administration and resulting in a tangible increase in operational efficiencies.

Mobile working in Blackpool was originally introduced to support the delivery of services that contribute to the Council’s StreetScene Service Plan. Applications include Assisted Household Waste Collections, Waste Permits, Commercial Waste Services and support for Neighbourhood Environmental Action Teams. In all cases the map display, created using GGP GIS, helps identify and record the location of incidents or services requests while the real time access to the NLPG facilitates identification and enables detailed information to be appended to a specific address.

Following on from the success achieved from the original applications Blackpool has initiated another project using the mobile devices and GGP supported back office links. As part of the Monitoring and Intervention in the Private Sector project officers are allocated private sector housing cases for inspection. Addresses derived from the NLPG are loaded onto the handheld devices, which are also used to record inspection results and photographs. A map overlay in GGP GIS enables spatial analysis of the recorded information.

The mobile systems provide up to date data for Blackpool’s corporate CRM and public information website, giving citizens a variety of information at one point. Blackpool’s website also provides live NLPG-linked address look-ups that greatly enhance searches, allowing staff and citizens to get to the information they need quickly.