When I was a Planning Officer in London, I thought it would be very useful to take a pda with a GPS/compass and wireless connection to our backoffice. With maps on the device I could a point it at a building and it would list all the layers in our GIS. For instance a resident asks me whether an extension was authorised on a nearby property. Instead of having to go back to the office and call them back I would point the PDA at the property and voila! I would be able to see its planning history and pull up any other information I desired that resided in our backoffice.

There are obviously data protection issues involved with the above, but imagine any council worker being able to answer a member of the public’s questions about the environment around them! Incredibly powerful and potentially money saving, as a Planning Office I would be occasionally asked questions about other services, this would have made me more useful to the council and the public.

So when I saw a post on Digital Urban about a program called Layar, this program for Android (Google’s mobile OS) I got interested now all I need is a Android powered phone…. d’oh.

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