Arup with the Greater London Authority

Data and Innovation in Public Sector

Most long-term Londoners will be familiar with the sight of a utility or contractor digging up their street to carry out maintenance or an installation, only to be quickly followed by a different team, digging up the same bit of street to carry out their own vital infrastructure intervention. It’s the kind of occurrence that costs the capital dear in unnecessary expenditure and disruption – and the kind that could be avoided with greater visibility of future development plans, shared by developers, utilities and contractors.

With current delivery somewhat siloed and the need for increased efficiency in mind, the Greater London Authority (GLA) created the Infrastructure Mapping Application (IMA) – a  web-based desktop application that maps current and future development and infrastructure investment plans by integrating data from a wide range of sources through the layering of data and visualisation technologies. The tool would provide foresight of those plans to developers, utility companies and contractors, and encourage collaboration between them, improving coordination and collaboration. Equipped with a strong existing relationship with the GLA, Arup was brought in to develop their tool further.

The vision for the application continued to be to bring together disparate sources of data to support and improve infrastructure coordination across the capital, enhancing efficiency, reducing costs and minimising disruption to the road network.

The relationship paved the way for an open, positive dialogue, adopting a one-team approach striving for a common goal. The Arup team – consisting of web developers, user experience (UX) designers and geospatial experts – worked with the GLA to identify how best to deliver the objectives for the next iteration of the tool.

Drawing on the Arup team’s GIS and geospatial capability and existing knowledge on future city planning, Arup’s developers focused on improving the application codebase, transforming its core workings to boost performance and speed, allowing it to process and present many complex datasets.
The GLA enriched the application with the latest available data from a wide range of sources – including utilities, the London Development database, infrastructure and construction intelligence providers, government bodies, Transport for London (TfL) and London
Boroughs. Arup ensured this new data could be analysed to maximises users’ ability to collaborate.

Arup’s expertise in spatial data and visualisation played a key role in realising the GLA’s vision of their ground-breaking digital tool.

The IMA, accessed and used by 19,000 private and public users from,2017-2020, changes the picture of infrastructure delivery in London by:

  • providing a single source of truth for public and private users, making available information on c.100,000 infrastructure and development projects that infrastructure providers plan to carry out in future – from six months to 30 years from now – in a single place
  • layering and visualising data from across sectors, encouraging the exploration of future projects
  • providing a useful source of infrastructure planning information to the public, through its general-level access

Working in partnership with the GLA, Arup helped unlock the valuable data, finding solutions that will further facilitate collaboration, and contribute to a more harmonious city.

View the Arup profile in the MCA Members Directory.