A Survey of the use of Geographic Information Systems in English Local Authority Impact Assessments


Across the public sector, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis are increasingly ubiquitous when making decisions involving people and places. However, historically GIS has not been prevalently applied to the various types of impact assessment. As such, this paper presents findings from a survey conducted in 2011 of 100 local authorities in England to examine how embedded GIS, spatial analysis and visualisation practices are to the process of conducting impact assessments. The results show that despite obvious advantages of applying GIS in these processes, applications employing basic techniques are at best sporadic, and where advanced methods are implemented, these in almost all instances are conducted by external contractors, thus illustrating a significant GIS under capacity within the sampled local authorities studied.

Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management