Accessible ‘PDF’ maps developed for High Speed Railway (HS2) consultation

In response to the Government’s plan to create a high speed railway linking London to the North (with a link to Birmingham and running through Warwickshire), Warwickshire County Council decided to create an ‘evidence base’ of information to share with the public and its partner organisations. Added to other information from the authority, such as related documents and internet links, Warwickshire Observatory were asked to provide maps which would cover the proposed route within the county. These maps would hold a wide variety of data, including the proposed route, together with planning, archaeological and ecological datasets sourced from both WCC departments and partner organisations. All of this would be easily accessible via the authority’s HS2 website, held within a sub-page.

As an aid to presentation, we decided to present the maps in an innovative new type of layered PDF that allows layers of over laid information to be switched ‘on’ and ‘off’ – much like a traditional GIS. The PDF format is a widely used standard, and can be accessed on whatever computer hardware platform is being used. Another useful part of the map were hot-links from the relevant section of proposed railway to the higher resolution section plans held by the Department for Transport (DfT). The maps were originally published on the WCC website in the summer of 2010. The maps have been updated in the last few days, and now include several more data layers (such as ‘Public Rights of Way’ and ‘Conservation Areas’). It also includes the new HS2 proposed route (including the changes made last Autumn) as released by HS2 Ltd. in December 2010. This is the final route that will go into the formal consultation process, beginning in March 2011. Further updates to the maps will be made as and when required, to include more data layers, or further changes/additions to the proposed route.

So far, users have been very positive towards the maps, and their ease of use and content. It is a very powerful and simple way to share map data over the internet. Because of the success of this format, Warwickshire Observatory hope to roll out this approach for presenting other spatial information to the public from other Council services.

WCC HS2 pages – the maps are located on the “Detailed Maps” link.

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