Web map opens up New Zealand council to community21/11/2014
While New Zealand is home to many geo-enabled local governments, it’s the council from the country’s most famous wine district which has led the charge in using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to deliver improved levels of customer service.
Marlborough District Council has employed ArcGIS to produce a user-friendly, public-facing web map that provides citizens with instant access to useful community information.
The interactive website layers council data over a map of the district, showcasing information such as property reports, planning and zoning data, aerial photographs and even utility statements.
This new map provides residents with 24-hour access to information that was previously only available by contacting the council during business hours, and grants users a level of detail never available to the public before.
The data has been presented in a visual, map-based format to ensure the information is easy for anyone to understand, regardless of their technical abilities, cultural background or the language they speak.
Rate payers and businesses are encouraged to explore the information online to ensure they make informed decisions about property purchases and gain visibility over any potential community developments or council services available to them.
This ‘self-service’ approach to information management has seen Marlborough District Council improve internal efficiencies – as there has been a reduction in the number of enquiries from the general public.
The website is also helping council adopt a more ‘open government’ approach, to meet the community’s growing demand for greater visibility regarding government activities.
Having looked for new ways to use technology to connect with their citizens, council believe intelligent mapping platforms can satisfy residents’ growing desire for information.
The new website is the latest chapter in a lengthy history of GIS use for Marlborough, which has leveraged the technology internally to manage its information for more than eight years.