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DEFRA’s aim is to achieve sustainable development, including:
In 2001, Britain was hit by an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. A method of sharing information about the location of infected properties needed to be found quickly, to inform both the public and internal agencies involved in managing the crisis.
Under the Central Government agreement with Ordnance Survey, the DEFRA team had access to a wide variety of accurate mapping. To aid the team's work on the ground, 1:10 000 Scale Raster data was used to provide and in-depth view of an area. When more detailed information was needed, the team used large-scale Land-Line® and postcode level product ADDRESS-POINT®.
Decision makers were helped by the production of small-scale wall maps, using 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster, 1:250 000 Scale Colour Raster and MiniScale® data products. This provided them with regional overviews for the identification of disease patterns for analysis.
The team used these digital maps to identify infected and restricted areas across the country. These maps were made available to all internal agencies, whilst the public were given limited access through a dedicated web site. They were also invaluable in informaing the EU, other countries and internationl animal health agencies about Great Britain's progress in disease control.
The benefits experienced by DEFRA include:
‘We needed to respond quickly and accurately to the need for information on the ground. GIS technology was the vital tool we needed to share critical information that was changing by the moment.’
Lisa Smith, GIS Manager, DEFRA
The whole of DEFRA, including staff on the foot-and-mouth disease helpline, used the internal interactive map to obtain a range of information, such as finding locations, issuing movement licences and checking areas for restrictions.
Digital mapping data is now used throughout DEFRA to aid emergency management planning, helping to develop a comprehensive approach for dealing with both natural and man-made disasters.
It is also used across the country in other crisis situations, such as speeding up response times of emergency services by showing control centres the exact location of vehicles, tackling the aftermath of natural disasters and assisting with mountain rescues.