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Location Intelligence Helps Housing Association Open Up New Revenue Streams

Matt Ball on November 6, 2012 - in Corporate, Facility Management

GreenSquare Group, the housing group working throughout Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, and Gloucestershire, has been able to evaluate the potential of its land holdings for new developments using GIS (geographical information systems) from Esri UK. The potential value of this land is approximately £2m. By using location intelligence software to overlay various types of information about different locations, GreenSquare has been able to reveal several new sites for development and realise potential new revenue streams.

GreenSquare has used GIS for a number of years but had confined its use to basic geographic data. In January 2012, GreenSquare implemented Esri’s ArcGIS system to underpin its vision for a more powerful GIS working across all departments, including the critical areas of Development and Regeneration.

“The ability to link data from multiple sources enables us to build a holistic picture which in turn allows us to understand our business on both an operational and strategic level,” explained Dawn Francis, GIS Group Manager at GreenSquare. “Using Esri’s GIS we can switch different types of information on and off, carry out a forensic analysis and arrive at decisions about the suitability of an area for development, conversion or regeneration. Our GIS can show property types, access routes, who owns what land and all the other local factors we need to consider in an initial investigation.”

GreenSquare manages 10,000 homes and has a target of building 30 new homes a year on existing land, under its ownership. In the past, physical site visits and manual methods were used to support its development strategy. “Efficiently evaluating and unlocking development land will lead to additional income from new homes for sale and rent from land holdings,” commented Dawn. “Previously this was labour intensive, using spreadsheets or disparate sets of maps. To operate strategically you have to bring your data to life with interactive maps.”

Major efficiency gains are also being achieved via the new GIS. Feasibility studies for new development sites which used to take 10 days have been cut to two days, while the property disposal process has been reduced from four days per month to around three hours. “New levels of efficiency are being achieved across the company as the GIS has removed a lot of site visits, physical meetings and manual hard copy processes,” added Dawn. “All the necessary information is available online in the GIS and is being used by all staff, right up to the board.”

“Pioneering housing associations like GreenSquare are at the forefront of applying GIS in new ways that deliver value right across the company,” commented Graham Wallace, Senior Strategist at Esri UK. “By using location information in an intelligent way, GreenSquare is driving new revenue streams and injecting new levels of operational efficiency into the business, that would not otherwise have been possible.”

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