Following discussions with the Birmingham City Council (BCC) Transportation Strategy group, Minnerva, working in association with Dotted Eyes Ltd, established an operational demonstration system to illustrate the manner in which web-enabled GIS technology could serve to integrate a wide range of information held by the BCC Highways and Transport division. The demonstrator confirmed the operational feasibility of what was proposed, as well as providing a more concrete expression of the ideas represented by the system that has become known as GIFT – Geographical Integrator for Transport.

GIFT is a customisation of the Minnerva Transport Assessor system, and includes the Dotted Eyes ResponseMX software linked to MapInfo MapXtreme GIS web server software. Other components of the system include relational database software.

As a subsequent stage, Dotted Eyes, with Minnerva, was commissioned by BCC to establish in a more systematic way how GIFT might best address BCC business needs. For this project a survey was conducted of a wide range of potential GIFT users within the Highways and Transport division to determine their reaction to the GIFT demonstrator and to obtain views on how it might best be aligned with business needs. The resulting System Specification document analysed the business processes to generate a Statement of Requirements, which provided the basis for a Functional Specification that focused on changes to the demonstrator system as determined by the study.

The system was of particular interest to programme and project managers responsible for the £50m Capital and Revenue spending budgets, as well as to policy analysts looking to produce the second version of the Local Transport Plan for Birmingham. A particular attraction was the scope that GIFT offered for locating information in the face of continual changes arising from the numbers of different people and groups with responsibilities for different topics and aspects of managing the highway network and developing transport policies.

(Contact: Miles Logie)