Delivering an infrastructure mapping platform


  1. Project outputs
  2. Project timeline

The Kent and Medway Infrastructure Mapping Platform (IMP) will be a digital tool consolidating and publishing key local infrastructure data. It will be used to coordinate the planning and delivery of ‘good’ growth – growth that is well designed, sustainable, well connected, future proofed and resilient.

This project, led by Kent County Council, will focus on East Kent (Phase 1) and provide an example for the use of data as a tool for change. East Kent is defined as the districts of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe and Thanet. Future phases will expand the platform across the remaining areas of Kent.

Most local planning is conducted within individual districts, in isolation from their neighbours. The IMP will provide planning officers with a vital visual and analytical tool for highlighting cross boundary matters, data to understand growth and the provision of infrastructure, and an improved suite of land designation datasets which may affect development, all at a wider geography.

Project outputs

The main output of the project will be the delivery of a dynamic, online strategic planning platform, accessible to users via a secure web portal. Phase 1 will test functionality, explore user requirements and develop design, data and maintenance strategies which can eventually be scaled up to enable a Kent-wide platform.

Once complete, the IMP will be a comprehensive, single source, live-data platform enabling coordinated responses to strategic planning with a robust and up to date evidence base.

Project timeline

March 2023

The project is awarded £218,200 in funding through Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund to begin a beta phase.

April 2023

Before receiving funding through the Local Digital Fund, this beta project had already developed an initial live data input spreadsheet that feeds infrastructure project data into PowerBl business intelligence software. This data has been transformed and combined with other data to produce initial interactive dashboards/reports for core service sectors.

The project has also begun a similar exercise on the mapping side, producing separate interactive maps for core service sectors as well as district-specific maps.

Following a successful application for Round 6, the project has submitted job specifications for three additional posts to greatly assist in the delivery of Phase 1 of the infrastructure mapping platform.

May 2023

The project team has already begun the initial screening phase for their data analyst position, which will remain active until Tuesday 6 June. The role has generated an overwhelming response, with over 200 applicants expressing their interest.

Given the high volume of applications for both the data analyst and data coordinator roles, it will take time for the team to sift through the applications and create a shortlist for interviews.

Additionally, the team’s ICT resource will implement the initial platform environment on Monday 12 June.

July 2023

The project team has made significant recruitment progress, appointing a Data Coordinator and Communications Officer who will join in September. Interviews for the Data Analyst position are ongoing, and the advert for the Data Analyst Graduate role will be published once internal HR processes are completed.

On the platform front, the team has introduced an initial solution. Though it’s still a work-in-progress, they’re pleased to have introduced their own SharePoint site. They’ve started testing elements of previously developed apps and maps on the site, which is providing some mixed results so far.

In the next two weeks, they’ll be working closely with ICT colleagues to establish functionality of the new SharePoint site to ensure project progress.

August 2023

The project team has been engaged with a wide range of background mechanics for the mapping platform. They took the brave step of activating the ArcGIS for SharePoint mapping connector, allowing them to seamlessly integrate maps into the platform rather than relying on external mapping apps. Progress has been a mix of successes and challenges, as some map layers encountered issues once added to SharePoint.

Testing of PowerApps revealed that they are not suitable due to accessibility concerns for users. Fortunately, most intended functionalities can be achieved using embedded PowerBI dashboards.

In addition to platform development, a productive meeting was held with Phil James (Community and Engagement Manager at Local Digital), discussing user engagement and defining success parameters. Ideas formed from this meeting will be utilised in the platform to onboard the user base effectively.

In the next few weeks, the project team will focus on completing content for the general/overview sections of the site. This content will enable site testers, who are also users, to assess the site’s appearance and experience without delving into technical details.

September 2023

The Kent project team has been preparing for their new Data Analyst and Data Coordinator officers joining in September.

Alongside this, testing of the initial platform is underway. The team has enlisted colleagues as testers for various functions as they’re developed, providing valuable feedback.

For their graduate role, the team has shortlisted applicants and extended interview invitations to successful candidates.

The Kent project team has been busy working on a range of background mechanics. They’ve activated the ArcGIS for SharePoint mapping connector, enabling direct map embedding within the platform. While they’ve faced some challenges, they’ve worked to resolve them, making progress despite the occasional roadblock.

While testing PowerApps, the team decided against using them due to accessibility concerns for their user base. Instead, they will utilise the embedded PowerBI dashboards to effectively meet their requirements.

To discuss user engagement and success criteria, the team had a meeting with Phil James, Community Engagement Manager at Local Digital. They generated valuable ideas to improve the platform’s user experience.

Looking forward, the team will focus on finalising content for the general and overview sections of the platform in the coming weeks. This approach will allow testers, who are also users, to assess the platform’s appearance and usability without getting lost in the technical details.

October 2023

The expanded project team has been reviewing their objectives, deliverables and collaboration methods. They are in the process of restructuring their online collaborative space to create a clearer file structure, a group email address, and regular team brainstorming meetings.

They successfully presented their progress to the Leader and other members of Kent County Council, and received positive feedback. They have also started discussions with external groups with similar data needs, and are aiming to streamline data sourcing processes by understanding what other groups require.

The team have added a live feed into their social care clients database and updated various nationally sourced datasets, including Historic England, CQC data, and the Department for Education. Meetings are scheduled to plan their approach to the next round of engagement with the districts.

With the addition of new team members and changes in district leadership, there is a need to revisit the project’s fundamentals and plan for the future. In their upcoming brainstorming session, they will prioritise core data for phase 1 and work on translating the details in the project plan to a timeline.

The Kent project team has restructured their online workspace to align with agile principles and is currently testing options within the team. They’re in discussions with Kent Analytics and the Local Digital Fund (LDF) team in regards to additional funding opportunities, though the project might be delayed due to ONS data.

They’ve worked closely with the LDF and PUBLIC team for project evaluation, attended the LDF PropTech workshop, and had a successful Project Board meeting with their sponsor, agreeing on district engagement communication and the Kent Connect presentation.

Their work continues with the ongoing development of the platform, including mapping and dashboards, as well as the creation of a data tracker for project and progress monitoring. They’re in discussions with external groups who have similar data requirements.

In an upcoming brainstorming session, they’ll prioritise core data for phase 1 and create a sprint plan / timeline based on the project plan.