Borough claims biggest project of its kind for a local authority in an effort to improve the quality of street assets
The London Borough of Merton has captured data on almost 2 million physical assets in its streets under its Mapping and Data Improvement project, according to its head of business systems.
Clive Cooke (pictured) told last week’s Better Use of Data event, staged by Capita Conferences, that it was possibly the largest local authority project of its kind in the UK.
“We are pushing the boundary beyond but what I think has been done by any other local authority in terms of the capture of assets out on our streets,” he said. “We’ve recently set off on a project to capture a significant proportion of our physical assets around the borough, and we’re probably the only local authority in the country to have done this.”
The programme has been aimed at improving the quality of the assets on Merton’s streets and in its public parks, and has involved importing spatial data into the council’s asset management system.
The data has been broken down into 12 asset types and 102 subsets, taking in features such as fountains, CCTV cameras, ticket machines, post boxes, street signs, drains, trees and road markings.
Much of the data was collected by a contractor from cameras mounted on vehicles, covering each street from different angles to provide a high precision view of the asses, and it was augmented by data from handheld devices collected by operatives on foot. Cooke said that these included a Bluetooth facility that has made it possible to ensure the accuracy of the data to within a few centimetres.
The project was also backed up by a local public information campaign aimed at allaying anxieties prompted by the sight of the vehicles and staff in the streets.
Cooke said the information is being used to help staff in maintaining the assets, and fed to the customer contact system to help the public understand any relevant issues. This is especially important in processes such as handling traffic management orders.
“We’re trying to link people, asset data and location together to provide a much more holistic view,” he said, adding: “All this is enabling us to deliver better self-service to customers. The data is becoming more integrated and joined up.”