Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are reshaping various sectors and can add significant value for housing associations when looking to better manage, understand and control grounds maintenance services. GIS mapping provides a strategic lens to visualise, question, analyse, and interpret data, thereby revealing patterns, relationships, and trends.
This article delves into the benefits of GIS mapping for housing associations and grounds maintenance, providing insights into leveraging this advanced technology for procurement and contract management.
What is GIS Mapping?
GIS is a digital tool that allows users to create, view, and analyse data related to specific geographical locations. Essentially, it's a computer system that captures, stores, checks, and displays data related to positions on the Earth's surface.
GIS mapping, therefore, involves the process of setting up and using a GIS system to develop maps that tell a story about the data being analysed. It's a critical component in the fields of grounds maintenance in helping housing associations track, manage, and plan their assets more effectively.
The Benefits of GIS Mapping in Grounds Maintenance
Grounds maintenance involves a plethora of tasks, including grass cutting, hedge trimming, weeding, and highway verge maintenance. These tasks require precise planning and management, which is where GIS mapping comes in.
The key benefits include:
One of the primary benefits of GIS mapping in grounds maintenance is its potential for cost-saving. With the ability to provide accurate geographic extents of maintenance assets, GIS mapping can significantly optimise the process of tendering maintenance contracts. This can result in substantial savings in the long run, as organisations gain a clear understanding of their responsibilities and can budget accordingly.
We cover the subject of procurement in detail for housing associations in our article, including the impact of new reforms and the importance of compliance.
Management Information on the Ground
GIS mapping can also significantly enhance on-ground management information. Grounds maintenance contractors or your estates team (DLO) can access accurate and up-to-date estate plans, which clearly delineate maintenance responsibilities. This means contractors have a clear picture of what needs maintaining and what falls outside their scope of work.
Integration with Existing GIS Systems
The use of GIS in grounds maintenance is not limited to the mapping of assets. The captured data can be integrated into existing GIS systems or map publishing software alongside other map-based datasets. This allows for further derived benefits, such as proximity analysis to green spaces per population, which can be used in a council's Green Space Strategy, for example.
Environmental Management Benefits
GIS mapping can also contribute to environmental management. It can assist in allocating proportions of green space for nature, biodiversity, and re-wilding. This can help organisations meet conservation goals and landscape policies, which are seeing as an increasing requirement with our clients when preparing for a new grounds maintenance or estate services procurement exercise.
Rostering and Scheduling
Finally, GIS mapping aids in rostering and scheduling. It can help allocate resources more efficiently based on distance and journey times between sites, leading to significant time and cost savings.
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The Role of GIS Mapping for Housing Associations
From improving operational efficiency to enhancing tenant services, GIS mapping plays a crucial role in housing associations. It provides a visual representation of housing data, enabling associations to strategise and make informed decisions.
Efficient Management of Property Data
Housing associations manage thousands of properties, each with its unique set of data. GIS mapping can simplify the management of this data, allowing housing associations to quickly and accurately assess property information. This can lead to improved efficiency and a reduction in administrative costs.
Enhanced Decision Making
GIS mapping can also enhance decision making within housing associations. By integrating data from multiple systems, housing associations can develop a suite of GIS apps to deliver business insights directly to employees. This can transform cost efficiency, financial sustainability, and customer services.
Streamlined Maintenance Processes
By integrating GIS mapping into their operations, housing associations can streamline their maintenance processes, beyond ground maintenance. They can plan maintenance tasks more efficiently, respond faster to issues, and reduce direct costs.
Tenant/Resident Support and Transparency
GIS mapping can also improve the support provided to tenants. Within grounds maintenance contracts communication with all stakeholders is critical and by providing clear data on what will take place and when, alongside a rationalisation of the cost, residents are able to engage. Also, by mapping local housing allowance (LHA) caps, for instance, housing associations can help tenants understand the rent they need to pay. This can also aid in policy-making processes, as associations can visualise the impact of changes in LHA caps.
Revolutionise grounds maintenance contracts with GIS mapping
The advent of GIS mapping has heralded a new era of efficiency and cost-saving for grounds maintenance and housing associations. By leveraging this transformative technology, these sectors can enhance their operational efficiency, make informed decisions, streamline their processes, and ultimately provide better services to their clients.
Therefore, it's crucial for housing associations and grounds maintenance contractors to understand the benefits of GIS mapping and integrate it into their operations. With its potential for cost-saving, improved management information, environmental benefits, and enhanced decision-making, GIS mapping is indeed a game-changer in these sectors.
To reap these benefits, organisations must invest in GIS mapping software, training, and support. By doing so, they can unlock the full potential of this technology and revolutionise their operations.
In a recent article, we detail the benefits of using an experience grounds maintenance social housing consultant. Or explore further details on our services, including GIS consultancy and mapping.
Contact us now to get a price or discuss options. Revolutionise your grounds maintenance contracts with the power of GIS mapping.