Transforming Places Together: digital strategy for planning

This strategy defines a long-term strategic direction for how Scotland’s planning system will digitally transform, embracing the opportunities new digital technologies and data present. It sets out what we intend to deliver, why this is needed and the benefits this transformation will bring.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behaviour in computers.

Application Programming Interface (API)

A defined method of sending instructions between one software platform and another.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is the real time integration of digital information with a user’s environment.

Big Data

Big Data describes extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations.

Building Information Model (BIM)

A 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.


A capability is the ability to perform or achieve certain actions or outcomes. Capabilities can be technical or business focused. A capability within this strategy describes a component part of delivering a service e.g. making payment, being notified of that status of an application.


Networked computing facilities providing remote data storage and processing services via the internet.


The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) is the national association of Scottish councils and acts as an employers’ association for its 32 member authorities.

Digital Ecosystem

An approach that promotes the creation and re-use of common digital assets, capabilities and services across the Scottish public sector, enabling a change in focus in public service from organisational silos to the needs of citizens and the capabilities required to fulfil those needs.

Digital twin technology

A digital twin is a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity. Digital twin refers to a digital replica of potential and actual physical assets, processes, people, places, systems and devices that can be used for various purposes

Distributed ledger technology (DLT)

A database that is consensually shared and synchronized across multiple sites, institutions or geographies. There is no central administrator or centralized data storage.

Hybrid approach

The integration of new technology developed as part of the digital transformation programme with existing planning technology.


Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Image Recognition

A process to identify and detect an object or attribute in a digital video or image.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The network of physical objects – “things” – that are embedded with technology for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.


A Local Development Plan sets out a local authority’s policies and proposals for land use in their area.

Loosely-coupled architecture

Loosely coupled architecture is an architectural approach to interconnecting the components in a system or network so that those components depend on each other to the least extent practicable.

Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience.


Modular components are items that work together to form a single functioning item or system.


The National Planning Framework 4 is a long-term spatial plan for Scotland that sets out where development and infrastructure is needed to support sustainable and inclusive growth.

Open Data

Data that anyone can access, use and share. Adopting clear data and interoperability standards will facilitate access and sharing.


Programme for Government.


PlanMaker describes the collective set of technologies used in the creation of Local Development Plans.


Refers to specific technologies used to assist in planning. The PlanTech sector is relatively small but growing.


A platform in computing is the stage on which computer programs can run.

Predictive Urban Models

Functions and processes which generate predictions for urban spatial structure in terms of land use, population, employment and transportation, usually embodied in computer programs.


Regional Spatial Strategy.


The Royal Town Planning Institute. RTPI champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities.


Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Smart Applications

By smart applications, we mean applications that are based on data, not documents. A smart application will be both machine readable/interpretable and able to use multiple sources of data to make and process the application.



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