Geospatial Meets Environmental Science

The University Centre Shrewsbury’s (UCS) Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) launched a product with local software development company, Wolf Logic, that enables users to search any location, using either a postcode or map coordinates, to return geospatial data in the form of land and property details including boundaries, title information, solar suitability, terrain and other environmental information. CREST and Wolf Logic launched the product, Geopoints, at a celebration held at Hencote Vineyard earlier this month.

“This project is a wonderful illustration of how business and academia can collaborate to create a concrete and viable business product,” said Professor Julieanna Powell-Turner, Research Director of CREST. “CREST is designed to help local businesses develop their product ideas by providing technical support and advice to complement their specialisms.”

The partnership between CREST and Wolf Logic began as a discussion at a CREST workshop on open data and open-source geospatial tools between Dr Andrew Miles, Senior Researcher at CREST and Chris Greenhalgh, Director at Wolf Logic, which is based in Shropshire.

As a programmer, Mr Greenhalgh has worked on a range of projects involving spatial data and had ideas for developing a web-based platform to assist housing developers in quickly identifying or disregarding potential building sites. It quickly became evident that in developing a geospatial product for market, Wolf Logic would benefit greatly from CREST’s expertise in environmental geospatial analysis.

“CREST support has enabled us to accelerate product development and the advice given by Dr Andrew Miles has been invaluable,” said Chris, Director at Wolf Logic.

Wolf Logic have broadened their relationship with the University further by becoming part of the delivery panel for the UCS initiative to develop training provision in computer science and programming. With funding from the Institute of Coding, this initiative is designed to reduce the technical skills gap in the Mid Marches region.

Looking to extend and develop such collaborations more extensively, CREST have also developed a number of research initiatives to support and develop local SME’s in the environmental geospatial area.

One such initiative is the creation of the Shrewsbury Geospatial Forum. This group brings together academics, individuals and SMEs with an interest in mapping, surveying and geospatial technology. The Forum, including Wolf Logic, are working alongside Shropshire Council to seek future funding for improved adult social care. By employing the skills and expertise in the areas of software development, artificial intelligence and virtual reality the aim is to address this critical issue within the ageing population of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

With a £1.9 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), CREST provides research support, development and advice to SMEs in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to increase productivity, upskilling and innovative product development.

University Centre Shrewsbury is a partnership between the Shropshire Council and the University of Chester. Now in its fourth year, the University offers a high quality education through 15 undergraduate and 10 post-graduate degrees in the heart of one of England’s finest medieval towns.

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