Planning Advice Note 70: electronic planning service delivery

Planning Advice Note (PAN) 70 explains how new technology can improve the delivery of the planning service.


Portable Document Format ( PDF)

1. It is straightforward to convert proposals maps into PDF and then attach them to a website. Downloaded PDF maps have the advantage that they appear identical to the paper copy. Planning authorities need to ensure that the image is legible when users zoom in to view individual sites. The quality of the map may be deficient when a PDF is created from a scanned paper map, so wherever possible the PDF should be create straight from GIS. It is possible to add hyperlinks on the PDF maps to bring up the related policies.

Joint Photographic Experts Group ( JPEG)

2. JPEG is a graphics file format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group ( JPEG) committee. It is rare that additional facilities such as search, zoom or pan are incorporated into online proposals maps which are displayed as JPEGs. As with PDF, planning authorities need to ensure that the image is legible when users zoom in to view individual sites and where possible should create the JPEG straight from GIS.

GIS Internet Map Server

3. There are a range of software solutions that allow proposals maps to be displayed, queried and analysed online using GIS. This technique for presenting proposals maps online allows users to interact with the maps through GIS functions such as zoom, pan and identify.

4. When using this presentation technique all layers of the proposals map should be visible in the first instance. Users can then be given the option of displaying individual layers. Other information can be added such as aerial photographs, planning application boundaries or points, ward boundaries, conservation areas, school catchments etc. Although, to avoid confusion a disclaimer should be included which clearly states when the information being displayed is not the local plan.

5. The proposals map should be as large onscreen as possible. It is also best practice to have the key on view at all times - one solution is to have a separate window for the key. Navigation from the proposals maps to the written statement should be made as easy as possible. It is good practice to have hyperlinks to the relevant policies in the written statement displayed beside the online proposals map, thus allowing users to move quickly between the maps and the written statement. It is also helpful to include a search facility that allows users to display a particular area by entering a postcode or location, or selecting it from a drop down list.

6. The maximum level that the proposals map can be zoomed to will be dictated by the precision of the digitising, for example whether it was digitised using 1:10,000 raster mapping or the large scale vector mapping such as Ordnance Survey Landline or MasterMap.

Scalable Vector Graphics ( SVG)

7. SVG is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics and graphical applications in Extensible Markup Language ( XML). It is attracting considerable interest as an effective way of displaying mapping information on the web, although it has not yet been used to show development plans in Scotland, see the link below:



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