Parish Online Stories

Bath Parish Online Event Report

Now in its 8th year, the annual digital mapping workshop in Bath didn’t disappoint.

Once again, the Local Council clerks and councillors for the parishes within Bath & North East Somerset met at Bath Spa University to discuss digital mapping with B&NES Council and the Parish Online team.

This event was started after digital mapping was added as an agenda item to one of the regular Parish Clerk meetings with B&NES. It ended up overrunning in the agenda with Clerks eager to know more and questions being raised. It was decided that a dedicated Parish Online event should take place to give everyone the time to discuss it in detail as it was such an important part in the role of a clerk.

The event is held as an evening session kindly hosted in one of the lecture theatres at Bath Spa University. Both Clerks and Councillors are invited so that everyone can learn about the software and mapping. The event is also attended by B&NES GIS Team staff and some of the Parish Online team from GeoXphere.

The agenda for the evening usually consists of:

  • A review of the Parish Online software, including new updates in the works
  • A presentation from B&NES giving updates on new data that’s available and best practice recommendations for using the data
  • Some years we have guest speakers informing the attendees of new data, regulation or methods
  • A chance for discussion where new ideas are put forward or problems are raised
  • We usually try and inject a bit of fun with the occasional map-related quiz or challenge.

At this year’s event we had a lot to talk about as we gear up for the migration of our Parish Online subscribers to the new software version. It was demonstrated by Tom Huntley (GeoXphere Software Architect) and was met with a very positive reaction. We’ve been listening to our users’ feedback and are trying our best to bring the updates that are most needed. It was great to see that the hard work will make our user’s lives a lot easier when it comes to using digital mapping.

Martin Laker (B&NES GIS Team) gave a very insightful presentation on the new policies that are coming through regarding street naming. This is a sticky subject but important to get right at the early stages. The topic around gender equality in street naming was brought up. B&NES along with many other Councils have a stark gender imbalance when it comes to notable persons’ names being used for streets. It’s now something they’re actively trying to rebalance with the help of the Town and Parish Councils to suggest names of notable women in all areas of life.

Aside from the draw of plentiful display of snacks on offer at the event, it really shows the power that digital mapping can have to bring people together and help them do their jobs easier and more efficiently.

The Parish Online team are more than keen to hold similar events in other parts of the country. We offer to attend them for free for Principle Authorities that support Parish Online through data sharing and group subscriptions. It’s a great way to increase community engagement and get a real feel for the needs of Local Councils.

We look forward to the next one!

 

Thank you to Esther Edwards and Andy Skellern from Bath Spa University for helping organise the event and hosting us.


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