Scotland’s Improvement Service and mapping software company Geoxphere have launched a mapping tool for Scottish community councils and other community interest groups.
Named Parish Online, it has been developed under the Community Map Scotland programme.
The software is already used by parish communities in England and Wales and makes it possible for them to map factors important to them and use the insights to influence what happens in their local areas.
It has been adapted for Scotland for communities to create local place plans, a legislative mechanism for their views considered in councils’ local development plans.
It incorporates datasets on the environment, pollution, planning, transport and community features, and enables users to look at how far they can travel from any point in their neighbourhood in five, 10 or 15 minutes by different modes of transport.
Supporting 20-minute neighbourhood
The Improvement Service – the public body that supports local government in Scotland – said this will be of great interest as the Scottish Government looks to promote the 20-minute neighbourhood concept. It could also be a useful way for community groups to engage with their citizens and highlight specific areas of interest or concern in their local areas.
Chris Mewse, managing director of Parish Online, commented: “It’s great to be able to launch the Community Map Scotland project. It’s something we’ve been keen to do for a long time, and we’re excited to start helping community councils create their local place plans using our free mapping software.
“Community councils are best placed to decide what should happen in their local area as they have the local knowledge. They know what floods, they know where traffic forms, and they know the social and economic issues that local residents are facing. Harnessing that local knowledge into a forward plan across the hundreds of councils across Scotland is going to be great to see.”
The tool will be available for free initially with the likelihood of a small subscription fee in future years. Community Councils can sign up using the code cms12 for 12 months of free access to the software.