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Big win for big data

andrew nnpaThe Sill Digital Landscapes exhibition scoops national award

A temporary exhibition compiled and showcased by Northumberland National Park Authority has received a nationally-acclaimed award from GIS technology specialist, ESRI, for its innovative use of data.

Digital Landscapes, which premiered at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre last summer, was designed to showcase how the National Park is utilising data to help gain a deeper understanding of our landscape in order to benefit the area’s tourist industry, as well as land management and conservation work.

Using pioneering interactive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality and photogrammetry, alongside data dashboards of live data sets collected by National Park Rangers, visitors could get hands-on to explore hidden areas of our landscape and gain a never-before-seen glimpse of the inner workings of the National Park.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed at the positive reaction from the public to the Digital Landscapes exhibition. Over the course of 3 months, we welcomed over 30,000 visitors,” said Ed Hudspeth, GIS Officer at Northumberland National Park Authority.

“Embracing technology and looking forward is paramount to what we do. We need to evidence our work to show people how we make our decisions and our GIS (Geographic Information System) gives us the tools to be able to do that, our challenge was to make this accessible to the general public.
Ed Hudspeth and Andrew Mitchell collect ESRI award

“Focusing on data, we created a showcase of how we as a National Park use digital tools to help conserve the landscape. The public were guided through the collection, analysis and interpretation of spatial data, to see how it’s turned into useful information to better inform the policies and decision-making processes at the National Park.

“GIS is a tool used throughout local and national government, including planning authorities and emergency services but it is rarely displayed or made available to the public. We wanted to address that and open up the National Park to the masses, harnessing the power of technology to bring its treasures to life through GIS for the first time ever.”

The National Park’s innovative use of GIS software saw them recognised with the prestigious Community Engagement Customer Success Award at the ESRI UK Annual Conference 2019.

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