For users of a Geographic Information System (GIS) based route planning application, the Ordnance Survey’s Highways Data Set provides an essential part of the overall solution. Many would argue that route planning applications are only as good as the streets data sets, or “travel network”, it is provided with. If the streets dataset is not kept up-to-date with new roads, changes to priorities, road speeds, new bridges, weight limits and related road characteristics, the routes may be less that optimal and, moreover, will not take into account significant route planning constraints and worse, introduce a health and safety risks.
What is a GIS based Route Planning Software Platform?
GIS route planning software is far more advanced than previous incarnations of such software, with a set of intelligent route algorithms that take into account the latest mapping and geometry making the smartest business decisions for the best of all possible routes.
There are surprisingly few GIS based route planning applications available commercially, but those that are commercially available share certain core characteristics.
Firstly, the leading platforms have a web-based option, drawing on cloud-based data sets and updating all user platforms in real-time. Some of them use an alternative travel network than that supplied by the Ordnance Survey, such as from HERE (formerly known as Navteq), and only a couple provide a choice of which travel network to use. The web based solutions enable a higher degree of automation for logistics businesses with single sites or those with multiple bases around the city, county, country or continent; a significant advantage.
GIS mapping software also takes route analysis to another level. Powerful route planning algorithms allow users to carefully quantify data, comparing different route options, analysing cost based on time versus distance.
With such a powerful tool at their disposal, companies with fleets of vehicles or teams of people walking the streets (that either deliver or collect goods – or both) use their GIS for more than simply creating optimal routes. There are sales applications to using GIS software, allowing businesses to plan new supply and distribution depots, identify sales territories and model demographic changes that could affect their market. When integrated with demographic data, a GIS application can be used to gain a better understanding of a business’s customers, empowering logistics companies to provide a faster and more efficient service.
Benefits of Using Ordnance Survey Highway Data
The OS ‘Master Map’ Highways Network is arguably the most up-to-date and accurate set of road data available in the UK. It is regularly updated with street names, numbering, construction projects, planned developments and new roads giving logistics businesses, local authorities and contractors the very latest information about the best routes to plan for their deliveries and/or collections.
It is also possible to integrate your route optimisation solution with real-time traffic feeds creating routes ‘on the fly’ that take into account incidents, speed restrictions and heavy traffic volumes, allowing your planning & dispatch operations to make responsive adjustments to your routes and avoid delays.
If you already have a high quality GIS, accessing Ordnance Survey Highway Data equips your software to make even more powerful and efficient route planning decisions. The highway data map overlays your application’s mapping tool, showing the precise relationship between business assets, road networks and customer sites.
Route Planning & Business Intelligence
The combination of GIS route planning software and Ordnance Survey Highway Data completely revolutionises how companies manage their driving fleets, walking teams and distribution/collection operations. Investing in both solutions, which sync together perfectly, will yield almost immediate savings in time, labour and fuel, reducing wear and tear on your vehicles, reducing vehicle CO2 output and enabling greater productivity on each route, or set of routes.