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Bridging the digital gulf in planning

by on April 2, 2012

According to a blog post by the Government Digital Service (GDS) last year there’s still a gulf between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

The GDS reported that “there are around 9.2 million adults in the UK who have never used the internet; many of these are among the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society”.

The Government is looking at how to deal with this through its ‘Assisted Digital’ programme and by ensuring that government services are ‘Digital by Default’.

At the Portal, we’re also interested in how ‘Assisted Digital’/’Digital by Default’ may change what we do and how.

We already have a target that 80 per cent of all planning applications should be submitted online by 2015.

I’m interested in views on how ‘assisted digital’ relates to the planning industry and the Portal, any examples of where its already working (in planning or elsewhere) and any ideas you may have for how the Portal might support this.

As always, please let me know your views by adding a comment below.

  1. Architect Ian Treleaven Fitzherbert BArch(Hons) PPSPEng permalink

    Digital is very good & Large/Fast digital is even better.
    When using the portal to upload the only problem we get is when the system “crashes” during the making of an application.
    If we need to send an altered drawing or extra info to the LPA ( see previous long discussions about application vetting) there is often a problem in that many LPAs in that they “have an IT policy that restricts the size and type of attachments”.
    We are now using up to 60MD transmission speeds, but the LPAs seem to be living in the 5MB age.
    There must be a move to take out all the problems – including the LPAs ( their total disbandment might be too much to hope for!)
    Architect Fitz

  2. I am surprised that on many LPA websites, the drawings are without an indication of the size they were drawn on, lack scalebars, and have no confirmation that they comply with the requirements for electronic filing. I have held off electronic filing because my computer is the only one in the office connected to the plotter so I cannot certify that I have plotted it out using a separate computer although I have the paper size clearly marked and the scalebar printed on. Am I being too precious because others seem to file the most dreadful drawings and get away with it.
    Michael Ney
    Schroeders Begg LLP

    • James Morris permalink

      I would agree with you here, I have also noticed the quality of plans (and maps) deteriorate recently. I think basic rules are being lost because the software is making it easier for anyone to create a site plan or drawing and they don’t appreciate basic cartographic conventions. Just do what I do and remind people that without a scale it is fundamentally flawed!

  3. John permalink

    encouraging architects to make drawings readable in digital formats for the public to view, using as standard scale bars and fully annotated drawings. using standard image formats and keeping all those pretty, but ultimately useless, diagrams off plans so that they are not an insanely large file size that takes ages to open on lots of people’s connections.
    Architects clearly stating paper sizes (correctly!) and making sure they retain the integrity of scale when they digitally submit drawings would also be nice.
    I’ll not call for architects to be totally disbanded like Fitz did for LPAs, as thats not really constructive, I’ll just live in hope that they learn to be a bit more helpful and thoughtfull.

  4. Landscape Architect, Stephen Spacie CMLI permalink

    Stephen wrote
    ‘I have seen a number of applications on line, in my sub region, recently which do not include the actual Application Form!!! I assume the case officer has not checked the relevant staff have scanned all the infomation & loaded on the LPA website.
    This makes life difficult for us users.’

  5. 22 April 2012
    Dear Portal Director

    When the country has completed the switch from Analogue television broadcasting and reception to Digital television broadcasting and reception, then there will surely be the facility to provide a specific link via digital TV to everyone who has a digital TV or digibox receiver.

    With techical know-how I am sure that there will be plenty of ways to get interactive TVs and information to the wider public even those who do not have computers.

    There might be a way of voice-activated control on the TV handset just as there is in a computer. After all, digital TV is really a computerised TV set and can hold data too.

    Does anyone know of such assistance already being provided anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world?

    Best wishes

    Rosemary Cantwell

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