thinkWhere Web Maps Innovation to Help Tackle Poverty

The project was one of four selected to receive funding, support and advice from the Open Geospatial Data Stimulus Fund. 

Stirling-based technology firm, thinkWhere, has announced it will work with Falkirk Council to develop a smart web app aimed at tackling poverty.

The app will be a key component of the Council’s “Fairer Falkirk” strategy, which aims to reduce poverty, economic inequality and provide better opportunities for people in the local community.

thinkWhere’s new mapping tool will improve access to essential Falkirk Council support and resources and will address two key themes; digital access and food provision.

These will target an estimated cost deprivation of £1,200 per person annually and help to reduce the impact of food poverty on families in the local authority.

The tool will make use of OpenStreetMap, an editable map resource. Despite being free to use, OpenStreetMap presents challenges that have historically limited its use by local authorities across the UK.

Related: thinkWhere Helps Humanitarian Missing Maps Project

Falkirk Council and thinkWhere said this partnership will aim to transform the way data compiled by the resource is used and engaged with – allowing non-specialist users to “exploit its potential.”

Sally Buchanan, Fairer Falkirk Manager, commented: “Fairer Falkirk is our way of making Falkirk a more equal place to live. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor access to services so improving service accessibility is a core objective.”

Buchanan added: “Another key concern for those on low incomes is knowing where to access food, for example, via food banks or other resources that provide food for children during school holidays.”

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The project was one of four selected to receive funding, support and advice from the Open Geospatial Data Stimulus Fund.

Both partners said the resulting tools, guidance and good practice developed during the project will be “openly shared” with other partners, offering local authorities a “greater capacity to publish and use open spatial data.”

Alan Moore, Chief Executive of thinkWhere added: “There are vast amounts of help available, but knowing what is available, and where, is a challenge for both the public and for frontline Council staff.

“Working with Falkirk Council, we hope to make it easier to engage, improving access to existing services, whilst encouraging the broader use and adoption of open geographic data.”

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