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Oxford City is thought to be the first local authority to implement a system that fully integrates computerised pla...
Oxford City is thought to be the first local authority to implement a system that fully integrates computerised planning records with historical document images and GIS.

Oxford's planners are implementing a ground-breaking geographic information system (GIS) that will provide instant on-line access to over 50 years of planning applications. Together with a comprehensive planning application history database, the council is installing electronic document management technology linked to the GGP PC-based GIS.

Using a database developed in Microsoft Access 97, details of 70,000 planning applications since 1948 have been captured from hand written entries in a set of ledgers. To pinpoint application locations on digital maps displayed on GGP, most grid references have been determined by matching the validated records against Ordnance Survey ADDRESS-POINT data.

The planning database will next be used to create the index for the document management system. During the initial phase involving around 200,000 images, all planning application decision notices, planning agreements and appeal decisions will be scanned.

Oxford use GGP's powerful Process Field facility that allows instant retrieval of database table information, images and WP documents. The council next plan to scan complete sets of documents such as Oxford's local plan inquiry and transport strategy inquiry. Scanned images and word processor documents will be retrieved and viewed using a browser.

Oxford has been using GGP since 1993 and with the new Windows version of GGP launched in 1996, use of the system has been extended authority-wide. Beyond planning, applications include land charges, building control, estates, environmental health, parks, housing and city works. Use of GGP is also to be extended to highways soon.

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