Falkirk Council has rolled out an online service based on a web mapping solution to signpost essential services such as food banks, digital access and advice for residents.
The Our Falkirk service has been developed with Stirling based technology company thinkWhere as part of the council’s Towards a Fairer Falkirk anti-poverty strategy.
The initiative has been funded by the Open Data Institute and made use of open datasets and open source technology.
It is grounded in the OpenStreetMap (OSN) wiki mapping platform, which is free to use and provides for users to add tags to freely describe data in a way that meets their needs.
Using OSM, thinkWhere developed a web based user interface with four themes: digital access, food provision, community help and advice and council advice.
Falkirk Council had already identified open data as a gateway to data sharing and helping people to find essential services. It has supplemented information on its own services with information from community groups, and added details on each service provider and outlet to the map.
Information such as descriptions, contact information and opening times have been translated to OSM tags.
Cause and consequence
“We know that poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor access to services,” said Sally Buchanan, the council’s Fairer Falkirk manager. “Services that provide money advice, access to food provision, digital access and community support are therefore crucial in supporting people.”
She said that thinkWhere has provided the technical expertise for the project and added: “We have also developed tools and working practices that can have wider community benefits both for Falkirk and other organisations.”
Image from thinkWhere