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MapInfo® PlanAccess

** This product has been superseeded by Spectrum Spatial **


PlanAccess is an OGC- and eGIF-compliant web map server that was built using MapXtreme® and developed in direct response to the needs of Local Authorities. It delivers appropriate mapping to each section of a web site so users do not have to search for a "map area." PARSOL and Property Account Modules offer additional capabilities.

Screenshot of PlanAccess


PlanAccess is an OGC- and eGIF-compliant web map server for public access that was built using MapXtreme® and developed in direct response to the needs of Local
Authorities. PlanAccess provides web developers with an out-of-the-box portal and Rapid Application Development toolkit that enables the integration of static or interactive mapping and address-based searches into a web site.

PlanAccess enables web developers to deliver simple functionality that any citizen visiting a Local Authority web site can comfortably comprehend and navigate. Also, because it links to corporate data layers and mapping-and because it can integrate that information with council web sites-it allows citizens to access services at any time of day or night.

PlanAccess can be an ideal tool for helping to meet ODPM Priority Service Outcomes. This can come in the form of improved accessibility of council services via online channels, better integrated community and local environment information, improvements in the way citizens do business with the authority and delivery of e-consultations.

Benefits for Developers and Customers

Developers can deploy PlanAccess in a variety of ways-as an out-of-the-box map portal or page; as a context-sensitive pop-up that launches from an existing page; via an embedded mapping application window in an existing web page; or as a means of generating a gazetteer or address search from any web page.

One of the key benefits of PlanAccess is that maps are no longer static images on a web site. They are an integrated feature of an organisation's online presence, providing enhanced navigation and service to users. Because PlanAccess delivers appropriate mapping to each section of a web site, users do not have to search for a "map area." Indeed, PlanAccess does not even demand that a "map" always be used.

As an example, Local Authorities may wish to design a "Who Is My Councillor?" service. By simply entering a postcode, users can direct PlanAccess to query the gazetteer and then complete a spatial query to deliver the councillor's name and associated information. And they can do this without ever actually displaying a map.

With PlanAccess, developers can deliver numerous services:

  • Allowing address searches and display of "My Property" account details such as council tax band, councillor, school catchments, conservation area (meeting ODPM "good" Priority Service Outcome G5)
  • Delivering up-to-date street works information (meeting ODPM "good" Priority service outcome G14)
  • Using "find my nearest" to display location such as school or recycling facility
  • Assisting problem reporting by enabling citizens to pinpoint the location of a
    damaged street lamp or abandoned car
  • Providing online planning application queries

Delivering online e-consultation

Developers will appreciate PlanAccess Rapid Application Development features such as pre-built components for "find my nearest," fault reporting and printing with OS copyright; full Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) control of appearance; fully customisable interface including modules and buttons; and multiple language deployment. Templates and code for "My Property" account pages are also available.

Pitney Bowes MapInfo offers two important modules that extend the capabilities of PlanAccess and assist Local Authorities in delivering Property Account pages and PARSOL Planning Enquiry pages.

PlanAccess PARSOL Module

The PARSOL (Planning and Regulatory Services Online) e-Government project is tasked with developing a range of guidelines, benchmarks, schemas, systems and toolkits to assist Local Authorities in building online planning and regulatory systems that are both effective and transparent. One of PARSOL's key aims is for citizens to benefit from Accessible Planning Services.

PlanAccess PARSOL Module has been specifically designed to integrate with expert system products from a variety of vendors. The module delivers address-based query and mapping facilities that lend planning enquiries a spatial reference and an interactive map interface.

By using the PARSOL Module in combination with an expert system, both citizens and Local Authorities can enjoy the benefits provided by online planning services. This includes increased efficiency, improved service provisions, faster interactions with planning services and more easily achieved targets.

PARSOL's Planning Permission and Building Regulation Enquiry Systems specification defines three separate components for the system: Address Search; Polygon Select and Constraint Search; and Expert System. The PlanAccess PARSOL module delivers the first two of these right out of the box. As for the third, it provides easy integration with any expert system using the Planning Expert Systems open standard XML schema as defined on the UK GovTalk website.

PlanAccess Property Account Module

The PlanAccess Property Account Module delivers easy-to-understand "My Property" services to citizens. It also provides Local Authorities with everything they need to deliver property-centric information about council services via their Authority web site. Further, the module allows fast and simple achievement of ODPM Priority Service Outcomes.

More specifically, the Property Account Module allows citizens to search the Authority web site for an address and display "My Property" details such as council tax band, local councillor, school catchments and conservation area status.

The module performs all the spatial queries on relevant data; then it displays the property's details and information about the surrounding locale. Web developers may customise the presentation of these details to match the Authority's particular corporate style.

The best thing about the Property Account Module may be this: citizens who do not know how to interpret mapping information or understand GIS can still gain access to all of the information they require about their property in an easy-to-comprehend format.

Developers can also combine the account page with the "Where's my nearest?" and problem reporting functions from PlanAccess in order to deliver an enhanced "neighbourhood" service for local facilities.

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