Friday, 28 November 2014

What Is It Like To Flood?

On the 4th and 5th of December, the Flood Defence & Prevention Expo presents a range of solutions to widespread flooding problems from many of the UK’s leading flood prevention companies and experts.  The two day-event, which is taking place at the Excel Centre in London, is also hosting an extensive seminar and workshop programme to highlight new, cost-effective ways to help prevent and manage floods.

Mary Dhonau OBE, Chief Executive of the ‘Know Your Flood Risk’ campaign – which is supported by Landmark Information Group – will be speaking at the event.   During the Flood Defence Expo, Mary will be discussing what it's like to flood, how to plan, prepare and mitigate for it. 

Mary has been flooded herself on many occasions and has extensive experience in supporting and advising the victims of flooding during their recovery.
Mary Dhonau OBE
Explains Mary: “Being flooded is an appalling experience! The presentation will describe what individuals who do flood have to go through and will go on to give examples of how to plan, prepare, mitigate and become resilient to being flooded. I will also be urging everyone to download a copy of Know Your Flood Risk’s free Guide to Flood Resilience, which is the best guide of its type in the country for providing practical, hands-on advice to identifying your risk, through to putting measures in place to resist and overcome future floods from impacting your lives.”

Mary has represented the ‘voice of the flood victim’ for many years and is affectionately known as `Mary Queen of Floods`. She was awarded an OBE for services to the environment in the Queen`s Birthday Honours list in 2009.

In addition to her role as Chief Executive of Know Your Flood Risk, Mary also chairs the Flood Protection Group for the Property Care Association, and is a member of the Regional Flood and Coastal committee for Anglian Northern.   She also runs a consultancy (MD Associates) specialising in raising awareness of flood risk, how to militate against it and recover from it.

Mary’s presentation takes place on Thursday 4 December @ 14:00 in Seminar Hall Three.

To find out more about the Flood Defence Expo or to book tickets to attend, visit

Monday, 24 November 2014

Information Management: Taking on the Ebola Outbreak

Back in 2012, Landmark launched a partnership with the charity, MapAction, which maps life-saving information about disaster situations so aid agencies can target relief efforts effectively.

The partnership continues today and as well as being a nominated charity, members of the Landmark team volunteer their services when their specialist help is needed.  For almost a decade, Darren Connaghan, a GIS specialist at Argyll Environmental Ltd, which is part of Landmark Information Group, has played an active role with MapAction and has been deployed to support field teams in locations such as Kenya, Haiti and the Philippines.

His latest deployment has taken him to Africa, where he was part of the MapAction team in its role in managing data and information for the Ebola Operation Centre in Monrovia. 

As Darren explains, there is a dearth of information managers prepared to travel to the region and overall poor communication networks in the area, therefore the role MapAction plays in collating data across Liberia, ensures that everyone involved in the UN's Ebola response mission is up to date with the very latest, accurate information related to the aid programme:

Darren Connaghan
“The geographical scope of the Ebola outbreak is vast, covering three countries - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - and it has already claimed thousands of lives. MapAction's mapped situational analysis helps make the response as targeted and effective as possible, by bringing together, mapping and information management specialists to help coordinate the communications in one place.

In this particular deployment, we were asked by the UNDAC (UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination) team to fly to Liberia and support them with their information management and mapping needs. A team of three were initially deployed and I joined them in late September for a two week period, where I worked from the main Ebola Operation Centre in Monrovia. 

Working alongside government departments, national departments, military and NGOs, the centre is a hub where all the organisation of the response mission takes place.  We talk to all the aid agencies to find out what data they need, as well as work closely with the Liberian Institute of Statistics' GIS department and the US military to build a picture of what the mission looks like.

In Liberia, radio and telephone communications are generally poor as are the road networks so much of the information regarding what has been undertaken in individual locations was predominantly verbal.  This, by its very nature, is difficult to plot, manage and track and the overall accuracy of data diminishes as it gets passed from person to person, so cannot be fully relied on.

Instead, MapAction is able to coordinate the mapping of critical situational information so that all agencies involved have a clear understanding on what is happening in each and every location, at any time. 

"Aid in the wrong place is no aid at all"
MapAction deployment model is based on self-sufficiency. We arrive with all equipment required such as laptop, printer, networking kit, paper and in some deployments, even a small generator as without power, we can't function for long.

I now have another four week deployment in Africa throughout November, during which time I will be working on extending the reach of information managers across the three affected countries advising on GIS, mapping and product strategy for UNMEER (IN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response).

As I see it, with the correct right level of information management in place, you avoid duplicating efforts, resources can be designated correctly, and everyone involved in the mission has a clear and current view on who is carrying out what actions and where, removing uncertainty.
This is also known as 3W (who, what and where)

Supporting MapAction enables me to utilise my GIS expertise in some of the most challenging emergencies that we face today in the world. I am proud to be supporting MapAction in this deployment and in doing my bit towards halting this deadly disease in its tracks."

 MapAction - Deployment

Friday, 14 November 2014

Brownfield Gets The Green Light

With the Government issuing new guidance to councils regarding the use of Local Plans to safeguard against ‘urban sprawl’ on green areas surrounding towns and cities, we have seen a swathe of news related to the availability of brownfield sites that are prime (or already set) for future redevelopment.

The Homes and Communities Agency has said that councils will play a key role in highlighting appropriate brownfield land, and as such want to see permissions in place for homes on over 90% of suitable brownfield land by 2020. This could potentially create up to 200,000 new homes whilst at the same time also protect our green belt land.

According to a recent survey by property consultancy Daniel Watney, their data indicates that approximately 25,000 acres of brownfield land currently exists across the UK, which could be utilised for around 466,000 new homes.   This was based on 45% of council data, meaning that there could potentially be land for up to a million homes if all council land was taken into consideration.

We are already seeing industry land owners starting to take into account their land use, with National Grid pledging to free-up unused industrial land for redevelopment. 24 sites have already been earmarked for building, which includes removing disused gasometers. It is estimated that in the first 10 locations alone, approximately 7,000 properties could be developed across 84 acres of brownfield land.

Here at Landmark, we have seen this focus on brownfield growing over the past 18-months, as more and more organisations work together on identifying ways of remediating brownfield plots and rejuvenating them back into local communities.

Our environmental data and historical maps are able to provide a clear picture of exactly how the land has been used through the years, enabling thorough site assessments to be conducted so the correct remediation can take place prior to development.  

Recent enhancements to our Envirocheck Analysis tool give the ability to now see historical land use of a site overlaid with present hazards and environmental data.  This gives the ability to view potential sources, pathways and receptors together to gain a more comprehensive understanding of risk on a site and to execute a better phase 1 report. 

As such, brownfield land should not be feared for what might lie beneath the surface, but instead it is an opportunity for land that may have been affected by industrial or commercial usage in the past to be given a new lease of life, for future generations and communities.

Envirocheck Analysis - reveals the hidden secrets of an area or plot of land

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Getting wet n’ wild with UKELA’s Wild Law

Landmark Information Group is an active supporter of a number of events and projects hosted by the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA). The organisation works to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law, and to make the law work for a better environment.  One particular initiative is the UKELA’s focus on ‘Wild Law’, which aims to protect the globe’s animals, plants, rivers and ecosystems.

The concept of Wild Law proposes that we rethink our legal and political systems to stop environmental destruction. As such, Wild Law is a new system of legal thinking and practice that has the potential to turn the tide of environmental damage and enable new means of addressing the significant challenges we face.

One of our specialists, Simon Boyle, who is a leading and well respected environmental lawyer with Landmark Information Group, is the official Convenor of the UKELA’s Wild Law Group. Frequent meetings and events are arranged for those with an interest in the Wild Law initiative to discuss current topics, as well as receive legal updates related to such environmental concerns.

This year, successful events have included a visit to Scotland’s beautiful Isle of Arran, which took place over the weekend of 23-25 May. Delegates enjoyed wild discussions and long walks amidst glorious surroundings, as well as a boat trip to Lamlash Bay (Scotland's first 'No Take Zone'). The weekend focused on wildlife, wild land and marine protection on and around the Isle of Arran. This included Wild Law updates including news on legal protection for wild land in Scotland.

More recently, a follow-up event took place in London on 23 October, which saw the group attend a seminar at Herbert Smith Freehills' office near Spitalfields Market.

If you would like to find out more regarding the UKELA and the Wild Law initiative, click here:

Delegates at the Isle of Arran event

Delegates visiting the Lamlash No Take Zone on the Isle of Arran 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Colleys introduces Landmark Quest’s Q-Mobile II:

Delivering digital valuation reporting efficiencies to its team of surveyors

Landmark Quest, a leading provider of risk management, mobile solutions and bespoke valuation software for lenders and surveyors, has announced that Colleys  who is one of the largest valuation and surveying firms of its kind in the UK, is the first to adopt its brand new Q-Mobile II platform.  The new edition of the valuation application for tablet PCs has been developed ‘by surveyors, for surveyors’, and enables surveyors to digitally capture valuation site notes at each property, providing a number of advantages.

All of Colleys' valuation surveyors have upgraded to Panasonic FZG1 Toughpad rugged devices.  Via the touchscreen tablet PCs, surveyors use Q-Mobile II to capture the complete site notes during a valuation inspection. Built-in intelligent validation checks reduce the possibility of errors or incomplete reports, plus the application helps surveyors make better use of their time on site by providing online access to supporting materials or data, or incorporate photos using the in-built camera.

Peter Stimson, Managing Director – Landmark Quest, Landmark Information Group: “Q-Mobile II is the next-generation tablet PC technology for the mortgage valuation industry. Working with the team at Colleys has enabled us to launch a solution that is 100% focused on what its team of surveyors want from a system. It creates significant efficiencies for them when at each property, and being based on the Windows 8 OS, it is future-proofed so new features – such as the ability to complete Homebuyers reports or other instructions – will also be able to be completed digitally, on the go. Watch this space for updates.”

Q-Mobile II includes a wide range of new features and enhancements, including full compatibility with Windows 8, an improved user interface to improve the speed of site note completion, compatibility with touch-screen or digital pen usage, plus the ability to access integrated camera and calculator functionality.    The site note functionality has also seen a number of improvements, including quicker data inputting features, plus intelligent validation for enhanced risk management.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Promap Masterclass - Article 12

This Masterclass deals with historical mapping. We currently have the largest database in existence of OS Historical mapping and it is accessible via Promap.

Where to obtain your Historical mapping in Promap

Historical maps in Promap can be ordered as either individual maps or as a variety of map packs.
  • Individual Maps – These can be ordered using the Historic maps tab at the left hand side of the screen, the maps will be displayed in the date order in which they were published.
  • Historic Map Pack (Including Historical Aerial Photography) – This comprises the 1:2500 and 1:10,000 maps available for your site and also Historical town plans, historical building plans, Russian military mapping and Historic Aerial Photography, they  can be ordered by using either the historic map tab on the left hand side of the screen or through the reports ordering process
  • Historic Map Packs at 1:2,500 and 1:10,000 (excluding Historic Aerial Photography) – These options are available via the Export data section at the left hand side of the screen.

NOTE: Historic Aerial Photography can also be ordered from the Export data section under the category Aerial Photography as a separate dataset. 

Ensuring the best possible coverage for your individual historical maps

To ensure get the best possible coverage on your individual historic maps, use the coverage column and the preview option to ensure it covers the area of the map you are interested in.

For more detailed advice on Promap why not book one of our training courses (which are all now FREE) or visit our training website by clicking here to find other useful tips and training aids.

If there are any other topics you would like to see included in the Masterclass blogs or if you have any other questions please call us on 0844 844 9965 or email us at