Realising Optimised Field Operations

Feb 16, 2021 • FeaturesWhite PaperDigital Transformationfield service managementSoftware and AppsEsri UK

In this final excerpt from a recent white paper published by Esri UK, now available at Field Service News, we look further at the importance of location intelligence and discuss how organisations can achieve optimised field operations.

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Last week, we looked at how Esri's ArcGIS platform can help companies in challenging situations, such as containing the spread of a plant disease and saving lives in humanitarian disasters. Today we look at two further case studies highlighting the importance of location intelligence and discuss how organisations can achieve optimised field operations


With its diverse and varied population, Oxfordshire County Council aims to provide excellent services to all its residents while promoting equality and ensuring fairness.

The Challenge

Oxfordshire County Council’s GIS (Geographic Information Systems) team has an extremely broad brief to provide ICT support across the organisation, including Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire Rescue Service. This small team assesses requirements and requests, gathers business analysis and provides user support while building interactive dashboards and web and mobile apps for internal and external use.

The Solution

Under its Enterprise Licence Agreement, Oxfordshire County Council has been using Esri’s ArcGIS platform exclusively since 2017 as its corporate GIS infrastructure. This has enabled the GIS team to build out a greater number of requirements, more quickly and efficiently, and help transform service delivery.

In March 2019 the Safe and Well service went digital. Workforce for ArcGIS was used to coordinate and allocate daily visits before crews left their stations and questionnaires incorporating broader health messages from the public health team were built using Survey123 for ArcGIS. The electronic forms were filled in onsite at residents’ homes and when there was no signal or internet available, users could carry on working and save a copy of the form on their mobile device. When the devices were next connected, completed surveys were synced directly back to the database in the office so colleagues could see which assessments had been undertaken, and the data visible on a central management dashboard.

The Benefits

Supporting diversity

The redesigned service demonstrates Oxfordshire County Council’s responsibility as a Stonewall Diversity Champion, committed to sexual orientation and gender identify equality. In its second year of inclusion the Council now ranks at 127 (out of 503 organisations) in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, compared to its previous ranking at 220 out of 445.

Secure data collection

Users can confidently collect anonymous data, securely, enabling the Council to collect vital information which ensures that the service it provides residents is inclusive to those of all identities and orientations, as well as help the organisation climb the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

Saving time

The use of ArcGIS apps has significantly enhanced the efficiency of reporting in the field as well as back in the office. Firefighters making home visits report that the quality of their visits and range of services offered has improved, and they feel more confident and competent in carrying out their work. The administration process has also been streamlined as admin staff no longer have to input data collected from paper-based surveys, reducing the potential for human error.


Volunteers play an invaluable role in helping the National Trust to protect and care for the nation’s cultural heritage and natural landscapes. The not-for-profit organisation is now embracing crowdsourcing and is using ArcGIS in a series of ground-breaking pilot projects that will enable more people to get involved and make a valuable contribution to its conservation work.

The Challenge

The National Trust has over 60,000 volunteers who play a vital role in helping the charity to manage 250,000 hectares of land, 778 miles of coastline, 80,000 archaeological features and 28,000 buildings. The organisation wanted to optimise the role played by this enthusiastic group and find a way to engage even more people in its activities. At the same time, it wanted to show its volunteers the value of their contribution and help them to feel more involved in conservation projects

The Solution

The National Trust is now pioneering new ways to engage with volunteers using Esri’s ArcGIS platform. In a series of pilot projects, the organisation is beginning to use ArcGIS mobile solutions, including Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 for ArcGIS, to allow volunteers to upload information from their smartphones and tablets to a central portal. Called ArcGIS Hub Premium, this portal provides secure, authenticated identity for huge numbers of volunteers, which allows them to see the data they have collected, in the context of the wider project. Volunteers can therefore appreciate what they have done and the value of their contribution to the National Trust’s conservation schemes.

In the first of the National Trust’s pilot solutions, volunteers in the Peak District are gathering data on the condition of archaeological features on National Trust land, including barrows, ruins and ancient quarries. They are then uploading and sharing this data via ArcGIS Hub Premium, helping the National Trust to build up a clearer picture of the condition of ancient sites that are rarely visited but are nonetheless important to the history of the nation.

The Benefits

Well-informed decision about conservation and maintenance

Over time, the use of the new ArcGIS volunteering apps will enable the National Trust to collect a larger quantity of high quality data, which it can use to support its decision making. In particular, the organisation anticipates that volunteers will be able to help it build up a far more comprehensive picture of the condition of assets and habitats, such as signs and ponds. It can then use this information to see where it should prioritise its conservation activities and how best to plan effective, proactive maintenance programmes.

More successful conservation projects

Although it is still early days, the National Trust already recognises that ArcGIS Hub Premium is a highly effective tool for improving collaboration with large numbers of volunteers and partners. In initiatives such as the Riverlands project near Manchester, the organisation expects ArcGIS Hub Premium to play a pivotal role in enabling large numbers of people to share data and work together. “It feels exciting,” Davies says. “Our pilots are putting crowdsourcing into practice and demonstrating how volunteering programmes can be managed more successfully in the future.”  


A GIS enables the virtuous cycle of efficiency in field activities. Organisations use field operations apps to plan fieldwork based on geography and better coordinate job assignments. Field operations apps connect workers and activities in the field with the office. Real-time navigation tools reduce fuel consumption, save time, and improve customer satisfaction. Data collection apps capture accurate data in the field and feed it into the GIS to become part of the system of record. GIS monitors field activities and generates intuitive maps and dashboards. The GIS suite of focused field operations apps drives location intelligence that helps organisations make faster and better decisions.

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