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Mapping Solutions - Local Plans / LDF on the Internet

Local Plans / LDF on the Internet

New Developments

If you want to publish your maps and data
easily on the web you need Opus

Opus is software developed by us for publishing maps, data and documents online. Both the Opus software and the websites it publishes are accessed through a standard web browser saving time and money.

You will find there are many benefits to using Opus-here's just a few for starters:

  • Opus is easy to administer: it is hosted by us, not installed by you so it doesn't require you to make any changes to your existing network
  • Opus is easy to maintain: it requires no update or maintenance protocols to be implemented by you. We take care of all that.
  • Opus is flexible in how you use it: it is easy to scale Opus up or down in terms of the number of users and in terms of the number of websites, web applications, features and functions it provides.
  • Opus can multi-task: it can be used:

    • to build a website;
    • as a web GIS;
    • to publish interactive maps and data on existing web pages;
    • to integrate with other software and databases;
    • as a Map and Data Viewer for an Intranet;
    • to publish LDF maps and documents;
    • to publish interactive tourism websites;
    • to publish Points of Interest and Where's My Nearest? websites;
    • to engage with the public online;
    • to deliver services online;
    • to make your maps and data more widely available internally and externally;
    • to help you make the right choice as and when it needs to be made in relation to your maps and data

At Global Mapping we focus on new technologies that save you money, make your money go further and make your data work harder for you. As a result, you can benefit from a range of browser-based software and technologies in the £500-£5000 price range. (There are more advanced solutions but no single piece of software will cost you more than £10,000.)

What Next?

We think we can help you if your answer is yes to any of the questions below remember some of us have been working on local plans since 1986, we do have an understanding of your problems!

  1. Are you reviewing your expenditure on ICT, perhaps looking at ways of saving money on software licences?
  2. Do you want your data to be more accessible to more people?
  3. Do you want software and technologies that work to your demands and not to those of the supplier?
  4. Do you want someone to really listen to what you want technology to do for you and your data?

Give Alan a call on 01280 840770 now or email

If you would like further information about Opus before you call Alan, here are a couple of documents to read. The first document has more detail about it's capabilities and the second answers the more popular questions. But as we know, every Authority is slightly different so please feel free to call now!

Opus and Joint Working in West Northamptonshire

Increasingly Local Authorities are being encouraged and incentivised to share services and resources to save money. The formation and publication of planning policy is a prime example of Councils working together to realise savings. In collaboration they can identify where to implement sustainable new developments and how to make best use of the natural and man-made resources available to them without having to restrict their scope of examination to individual administrative boundaries.

Web-based technologies combined with hosted web-enabled software are ideally suited to supporting collaborative initiatives. They provide virtual office space and a consistent level of access to data and tools for working with that data no matter by whom and from where they are accessed. Hosted software - particularly those provided under a Software as a Service (SaaS licence - is easy to scale up to allow extended use by multiple stakeholders, whether working independently or collaboratively. Councils can collaborate and consult on Local Plans and their related policies, documents and publications without having to change internal IT arrangements or radically alter internal protocols and work-flows; they simply extend the user base of the hosted software and allocate the necessary roles and permissions to each partner in the project or process being undertaken. The hosted software environment also provides the platform from which to easily publish and disseminate the deliverables and outcomes of collective decisions and actions as well as providing tools and communication channels for residents and stakeholders to engage with their Council and its partners.

The following sites will give you online demonstrations of just how flexible our sites are; (This is the list of sites as at present.)

Northamptonshire County Council
Waste and Minerals

This site uses the latest Opus technology and is maintained by the County Council.

Case Study – Executive Summary
Northamptonshire County Council


Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) required the provision of an online interactive mapping solution for the identification and interrogation of Planning Policies.

Global Mapping and its associate Blue Fox Technology successfully tendered for this provision.

It was envisaged an online GIS system with the ability for Users to zoom in from a county wide picture down to an individual property using appropriate Ordnance Survey base mapping. Links would exist between the policy areas depicted on the map and the full text of the relevant policies/proposals and vice versa. The user would need to be able to click on a specific location on the map and be able to find all policies that relate to that location.

Our Opus Web Publishing System provided the basis for the online interactive mapping solution. NCC Planning personnel were trained in the use of the Opus Content Management System (CMS) including the Document Publishing Module thereby giving NCC full management capabilities for both online Planning Policy maps and documents and the links between them.

The Business Requirement

  • To best deploy one of the 3 core components needed for e-Planning assessment by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
  • To enable residents, businesses and stakeholders to view the details of the Council's Planning Policies on the internet.
  • Relate planning policies to a specific geographical location, and in general within the wider jurisdiction of the council.
  • Information accessibility would improve the council's democratic accountability.
  • Reduce the need for direct contacts with the Planning Policy team and thereby provide increased efficiencies.
  • Implementation of a technical solution would meet criteria 18, 19, 20 and 21 of the old Pendleton Criteria, and criteria 1.11 (DPDs viewed online), 1.2 (Interactive Proposals Map), 1.3 (IT based policy consultation), and Special Measure 1.1 (% of Representation received online) of the FY07/08 DCLG assessment criteria.
  • The PARSOL Better Planning Standards recommendations for making the local planning policies available in both a textual format, and via interactive map tools, on the internet required Northamptonshire County Council to implement an online fully interactive Proposals Map.
  • The system deployed online would need to interact with the council's existing iNovem E-Consultation system.
  • The final solution needed to be able to utilise the existing supported MapInfo GIS technology at Northamptonshire County Council, minimise additional training and infrastructure costs.

The Solution Implemented

The Opus software combines the ability to publish interactive maps and documents online with an integrated CMS that allows Local Authorities to take the complete software under licence and to maintain the content of any maps, document and links themselves that are published online.

Opus has in its basic form a number of built-in solutions that would immediately meet NCC's requirements, and is customisable to meet individual needs.

Opus CMS is accessible via a standard web browser which meant that any member of the Planning team could use the system. There was no need to download or install any software components onto NCC computers or its network as Opus is fully hosted, and any technical problems could be dealt with swiftly without the need for an on-site visit.

NCC were able to publish live their Minerals and Waste Local Plans and their Minerals and Waste LDF within a month.

Integration to NCC's existing iNovem system enables Opus3 to embed the published maps into the online consultation document published by the iNovem system.

Business Results

NCC has been able to meet all its business requirements within 6 months of the project's inception. Furthermore Planning personnel have quickly integrated Opus into their day-to-day working environment while still meeting commitments already in place in their LDF programme and time-table prior to the project's commencement.

Under their 5 year licence agreement NCC will continue to take advantage of the "continuous release" update programme of Opus while enjoying the practical benefits the current version delivers today.

You can read the full text by clicking here
Global Mapping, January 2011



Conwy had two webforms produced for external engagement, one with statutory consultees on SHLAA(uses a drop-down menu of sites alphabetised by settlement name.) and one with the general public( uses postcode search for people to locate their property )

The big benefit for Conwy here is that the two webforms use the same map source as the LDP Proposals Map. In other words, once the mapping is set-up in your system we can use it again and again in other contexts. In both instances the Council receives the User entries of the webform in a structured email which includes an XML file of all data captured by the User plus an image file of the completed drawing. The user also receives a confirmation email with their entries and an image file for their records.

North Kesteven

Local Plan

Produced alongside a printed version that included 69 inset maps. The insets appear as part of the overall website as scale isn’t a restriction with these sites. However each settlement is available to view from a dropdown menu to maintain a link with the printed inset maps.

Vale of Glamorgan


Features searching by Postcode or partial address. Has the ability to add a second language (Welsh) at a later date if required.

Planning Application History Map
Building on the UDP site, planning applications can now be viewed online

West Oxfordshire

This site gives a list and map of the sites which have been suggested to the Council for future development.The sites were to be considered under the Local Development Framework process and are detailed here for consultation. Sites have yet to be assessed and are not adopted Council policy. The Council asked for views on the sites suggested for development so far and also asked to receive any further sites for the Council to consider for development.


Local Plan

As with all our recent sites, you can select which policies to view and by clicking on the map find out which policies affect that particular point, irrespective of whether all policies are switched on or not!

This website was originally ported to our own Content Management System from MapXtreme, as this offered greater flexibility in linking between the maps and the written documentation. It was more recently moved across to our new CMS. To accommodate transitional arrangements between their Local Plan and LDF and to show the public which policies have been saved and which have been deleted, Dover approached us to adapt their Local Plan. As part of the adaptation planning staff at Dover used the CMS to amend the Written Statement to highlight which policies were no longer valid.

In May 2010, the site was revised again to take account of the current situation with the LDF.

West Lancashire

Local Plan

West Lancashire District Council Interactive Website Wins Award

Global Mappings' innovative websites for local authorities has been recognized by the British Cartographic Society at their annual awards dinner. West Lancashire's Local Plan website was commended in the Avenza Award for Electronic Mapping. Alan Smith, Managing Director for Global Mapping commented "We are very honoured to have won this award as it underlines what a unique product we offer and is a tribute to our team of developers. With a new system out in the New Year offering even more choice for map based web sites, these are exciting times for everyone connected with Global Mapping"
Pictured is Alan receiving the award from Mary Spence, President of British Cartographic Society.



The Council's Planning Policy Team uses Limehouse Software for preparing and publishing their LDF policy documents on the Internet. The policy documents only outline the Council's Preferred Options in words which is why a Proposals Map is also published. Rather than simply rely on static images or paper maps the Council has taken full advantage of using the Internet by publishing an interactive Proposals Map that provides significant benefits and time-savings to anyone who wants to participate in the consultation process online. Hyperlinks work between the text and maps meaning that members of the public can link from the Proposals Map to the relevant section of the policy document and vice-versa simply by pointing their cursor and clicking their left mouse button. The two-way linking process is fundamental to the interactive process as it fulfils a key functional component of Band 2 of the PDG e-Planning Criteria for 2007/08. These criteria are used to assess the allocation of Planning Delivery Grants, an important source of income for proactive Councils like Sheffield who are committed to the e-Planning process.

This year Sheffield City Council have introduced a new Online Consultation System for their new planning development documents, the Local Development Framework. The text documents are hosted by Limehouse Software and the Proposals Map is hosted by Global Mapping.

Limehouse software provides an option to produce links to and from documents. Global Mapping took responsibility for making these links live. The implementation by Global Mapping was both quick and uncomplicated. The result is a reliable online map with a fast and intuitive user interface.

Being able to link from a text document and illustrate a specific site on a map has been useful. However our Consultees have been most impressed by the ability to select a location on a map, identify the relevant policies for that location and then follow a link directly to the policy text.

Lauri Platt
Tel: 0114 2734157

Suffolk County Council

Local Development Framework

This site was created in partnership with JDi. The mapping was created by ourselves, but the documentation side is handled by JDi's e-consultation system.


Local Plan

This site has been updated to reflect the new version of the plan, and has been recreated in our new CMS.


Local Plan

This site has been updated to reflect the new version of the plan, and has been recreated in our new CMS



Users can view the electronic version of the proposals map accompanying the newly adopted unitary development plan (2006). The online proposals map is presented as a single map covering the whole borough and is interactively linked to relevant policies. Users can access a list of relevant policies and designations for an individual site by double-clicking on that area on the proposals map. The map links to the relevant development plan text through a "pop-up" window, which lists the relevant policy reference and policy text. The user is able to identify street names and/or locate an individual site on the map, via Postcode and/or street name search, or by magnifying the map (zoom in/out functionality).


Local Plan

Vale of Glamorgan


Features searching by Postcode or partial address. Has the ability to add a second language (Welsh) at a later date if required.

West Oxfordshire

Local Plan

Features searching by Postcode or Settlement

Nuneaton & Bedworth

Local Plan

This Local Plan site incorporates the latest functionality included with our CMS. This includes a sliding zoom bar allowing you to view at an infinite number of scales, or + and - buttons to jump to predefined scales. The arrow buttons allow you to pan around or if you prefer you can click and drag for panning. At all times the scale you are viewing appears in the bottom left hand corner of the map and in the top left hand corner is a scale bar in both kms and miles.

I'm very impressed with interactive Website version of the Local Plan. It has met or surpassed all my expectations. Colleagues I have demonstrated it to are eager to use it as their everyday working document in preference to the paper version. The speed, ease of use and the facility to target specific locations and applicable policies are the most successful qualities of the site. Our working relationship has been first class and professional, with all my queries being attended satisfactorily.

Colin Edwards
Planning Technician - Planning Policy
Tel: 024 7637 6184

Welwyn Hatfield

Local Plan

We have recently added a new feature to all sites. There is an extra list at the front that lists all policies and is linked into the text. Also another new facility is the addition of footnotes - again to all sites if they have footnotes.


Local Plan

Bexley Council UDP

Local Plan

The online version provides another way for Bexley residents, council officers and professionals in the planning and development industry, to access the UDP. Website visitors can recall information quickly and at any time of day. The online version will also help planning officers to deal with telephone enquiries about the UDP - they will be able to look at pages simultaneously with callers, send them links to specific pages and direct people around the site to the information they need. The user is given a choice of two options below to enter the online UDP.

Probably the most Interactive Local Plans on the Internet!