DONEGAL County Councils SPACEial North West project reached its ultimate recognition to date at the UK Association of Geographic Information (AGI) Awards for Geospatial Excellence 2014.
The prestigious awards acknowledge the exceptional work that is being done within the UK’s Geographic Information industry.
The SPACEial North West project was short listed under two categories ‘Excellence in Research & Development’ and the ‘Best Use of Geospatial for Business Benefit’ through its innovative use of geospatial data, technology and tools and with positive impact on business processes and practices.
At the Awards ceremony in Kenilworth, Warwickshire last Thursday SPACEial North West received highly commended accolades and the judging panel stated that the project is ‘a very well planned and executed programme with first rate programme management and technical deployment’. The project was commended for ‘bringing this data together with good evidence of business benefits, clearly leading to wider use of GI in Government and likely also in the private sector’. Notably ‘the project will assist and inform in the long term strategic planning, development and community sustainability of the entire region’.
SPACEial North West, a three year cross border research project led by the North West Region Cross Border Group, with Donegal County Council acting as the lead implementing Local Authority and with four partner Local Authorities including Derry City Council, Strabane District Council, Limavady Borough Council and Magherafelt District Council. The project’s website delivers a one stop shop for ‘Maps, Stats and Apps’ and takes the north west region to a place where they can be used to guide business, investment and location decisions at the touch of a button.
Project manager Loretta Mc Nicholas said ‘it is an honour to receive recognition in the UK and is testament to the hard work by the whole project team’. She added ‘our whole aim is to place data at the heart of decision making’. The project sets out to ‘to bridge the gap between the people who need data to develop plans and policies and the persons who produce such geographical data in the form of Maps, Apps and Statistics. Now there is a system for people to have this information at their fingertips’.
The mapping and research carried out by the SPACEial team used satellite imagery to identify changes in settlement patterns across urban and rural areas, as well as areas where funding would greatly assist in sustaining communities. State agencies, local authorities, planners, entrepreneurs and even tourists alike avail of the projects findings and statistics.
Rosita Mahony GIS & Research Co-ordinator explained that ‘receiving commendations in two AGI awards carries a high accolade within the industry and allows SPACEial NW to be recognised with the very best achievements and at the forefront in the field of geographic information in the UK. We are constantly working on new and innovative ways of displaying and analysing geographical data and the SPACEial NW project has developed the necessary system to optimise the user’s experience’.
The Association for Geographic Information (AGI) is the largest independent geospatial network in the UK. It brings together members from across the public and private sector and leads the way on the debate about the impact of geospatial on the economy and the future. Simon Wheeler, Chair of AGI Northern Ireland and a member of AGI Council said ‘I am very proud that one of our local members was Highly Commended, not just in one but two of the very well contested categories at the annual AGI Awards. This is a very prestigious and highly regarded award and the SPACEial NW team at Donegal County Council should be very proud of their achievement.’
The recent AGI awards builds upon the success that the project has achieved already this year. Recently the project was awarded Best GI Application for the Public Sector – runner up at the IRLOGI Space and Place Awards 2014 and received another High Commendation for the development of a Mapping App for Donegal Tourism’s ‘12 Places to Go Visit in County Donegal’ from ESRI Ireland.
A story map uses geography as a means of presenting information by telling a story of a place, event or pattern by combining maps with rich multimedia content.
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