Urban Green is a Manchester based design and environmental consultancy covering the following disciplines; Landscape Architecture, Landscape Planning, Urban Design, Arboriculture,Ecology, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Within these disciplines, the team completes a wide variety of surveys including habitat surveys and biodiversity net gain assessments across a multitude of different projects ranging from small sites with simple surveys to large scale multidisciplinary projects.
Charlie Lawler, Urban Green’s GIS Technician (pictured above), explains the challenges the organisation faces.
“Like many consultancies, Urban Green primarily used pen and paper to collect data for their habitat surveys or sometimes even resorted to drawing shapes into a Word document – both of which resulted in inaccurate mapping. We also tried using software such as ArcGIS Sweet.
This led to several challenges, such as different symbology being used across maps, making it hard and time consuming to read, interpret and transcribe. It also resulted in inaccurate data and a lot of duplicated effort between the ecology and GIS teams.
These disparate data collection systems also meant that the in-house teams, who managed the data reporting, had issues keeping track of all the paper records from every survey and each site. It became an extremely time consuming and difficult task, and BNG brought the issue to a head.”
“Coreo simplifies the process of mapping habitats. Having aerial imagery, GPS and all the relevant information relating to UKHab definitions and classifications within Coreo makes habitat surveying a simple process. Using the app helps ensure that resulting maps are consistent and accurate, and, therefore, the final BNG reports are accurate.”Shannon Brady – Biodiversity Net Gain Consultant
“The team at Urban Green recognised that all these challenges could be mitigated, or even solved, with the introduction of data collection software. By implementing a software-based approach, we aimed to improve the efficiency across all aspects of the business along with improving the quality and accuracy of the data collected.
After spending time researching the market, the team decided that Coreo was the best fit for us and the business as a whole.
The reasons behind this included:
- Access to the UKHab Survey App
- The Coreo platform being specifically designed for spatial data collection, meaning it would meet all the surveying needs for Urban Green.
- The ability to integrate Coreo with ArcGIS and thus reduce the time needed to produce habitat maps from scratch.
- The holistic approach to data collection, meaning the data was in one place for all the relevant teams and people to access.”
“Introducing new software can be daunting, but we found the Coreo implementation process to be very simple. With an initial set-up session with Natural Apptitude and tutorials provided online we found it quick to get going. We have focused heavily on the UKHab Survey so far and it’s fair to say, hit the ground running. By its nature UKHab is a complicated survey, but the app makes the process really streamlined and straightforward for us. There are also other ecological survey templates built into Coreo which are ready to use. Plus, with the Coreo team on hand to answer any questions, we’ve not had any problems at all.
Since implementing Coreo, Urban Green has already seen considerable benefits. These include:
- Fast in-field data recording due to the intuitive way the Coreo app and UKHab Survey are set up.
- Transcription of data from Coreo to online GIS is quick, easy and streamlined.
- The habitat maps are now accurate, easy to read and rich in information and we can now be confident using them to accompany client reports.
- Habitat categorisation within the UKHab Survey App is directly applicable to the updated Biodiversity Metric, so the team don’t have to spend time converting all the data ahead of using the BNG calculator.
- Survey data is now information rich with the correct symbology and primary and secondary codes.
Moving forward the team at Urban Green will definitely continue to use Coreo and the UKHab Survey App across all their projects. Due to the flexibility of the software and the regular updates to both apps inline with relevant legislation and industry trends, we feel confident that we’ll be able to use the platforms for years to come.”