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Company Background

Name: Alan Moore
Position: Chief Executive
Company: thinkWhere Limited

Can you give us a little background on your company please?  

thinkWhere is Scotland’s leading independent Geographic Information System (GIS) consultancy. Based in Stirling, we employ a multi-disciplinary team of 22 staff.

Our aim is to unlock business value for our customers through the use of Open GIS technology solutions.

With almost 25 years’ experience, we’ve been providing innovative GIS products and solutions to public and commercial sector organisations across the UK, and have successfully delivered projects at local, regional, national and international levels.

We specialise in the development of products and solutions using the leading open source GIS technologies such as QGIS, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, GeoServer, MapProxy and Openlayers. Our expertise lies in GIS software development, technical consultancy, data management, training and support.  

We’ve developed innovative cloud-based products including Location Centre, groundMapper and mapTrunk that bring the power of online GIS to thousands of users.

We’ve also recently launched our next generation cloud-based GIS platform, theMapCloud, which offers Platform as a Service (PaaS), Data as a Service (DaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) capabilities. theMapCloud provides a service-oriented architecture accessible through a RESTful HTTPS API. theMapCloud contains numerous fully managed geographic and mapping datasets from various publishers exposed as OGC compliant web services (WMS, WMTS & WFS).

As a data driven company, and an Ordnance Survey Licensed partner, we work extensively with Ordnance Survey digital map products and publicly available geographic datasets from national government agencies, local authorities and a range of commercial suppliers.

Tell us about a business challenge you have faced (new product designed/client challenge/etc)?  Best example here?

All public sector bodies in Scotland require to access and use Ordnance Survey digital mapping to fulfil statutory, regulatory and operational service delivery requirements. The organisations all benefit by being part of a common data supply framework, the Ordnance Survey One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA).

However, traditionally, each organisation has managed and maintained its own local digital map repository leading to duplication and inefficiency. Scottish Government, as the lead for OSMA, was looking for a more efficient way of managing and distributing large volumes of Ordnance Survey digital map, using web services, to the myriad of public sector organisations across Scotland.

The key goals of the project were:

•            to reduce significant data processing overheads for OSMA members

•            to reduce costs for managing data provided under OSMA across all members

•            to find a single hosted solution that would provide access to an up-to-date, fully maintained suite of OS products across a multi-stakeholder environment

•            to provide highly performant and secure web mapping services

What was your solution?

Our solution was to design and deliver highly available Data as a Service options for consumption by the public bodies under a secure, authenticated token. The data services were built on theMapCloud platform and offered as OGC compliant WFS, WMS and WMTS protocols.

The digital map data products available as a service includes all the OpenData and commercially licensed products provided under the OSMA agreement. The data is provided under various protocols, styles and map projections to maximise its utility to the range of clients across Scotland.

You can see some of the ways the Data Services are being used as background mapping by clicking the links below  :

We are now serving in excess of 1,000,000 map requests daily and this is projected to continue rapidly growing as the data services become embedded in an increasing range of websites and online business applications.

Tell us about the benefits of your solution to the initial problem?

·       theMapCloud uses the latest, industry leading cloud and Open Source technologies, providing a highly cost effective approach for the Scottish Government.

·       theMapCloud API is highly secure and offers protection via HTTPS encryption and token-based authentication, important security features for our public services.

·       The underlying AWS infrastructure allows theMapCloud to provide a truly flexible, reliable, scalable and highly performant solution that will easily handle the peaks and troughs in data service demands across the entire public sector in Scotland.

·       The service oriented API allows for easy integration with standards compliant third-party solutions, enabling each public body to maximise the value of the managed data services.

·       The choice of data service protocols, styles and digital map stacks provide choices to suit all public bodies

·       The digital map data is held once, maintained once to a robustly defined SLA, and shared many times, providing high levels of efficiency and reduced costs for the Scottish Government and all OSMA members

·       All public bodies have access to speedy, reliable and current data services

Why did you join ScotlandIS?  Scotland has a vibrant and growing IT and technology sector. As an SME within the sector, we are keen to develop networking and collaboration opportunities, to promote our business and to stay abreast of industry trends. We believe that the digital agendas are key to Scotland’s economic growth and by being a member of Scotland IS we can support its role in influencing and knowledge sharing across government and business.

What have you gained from being a ScotlandIS member? Our initial benefits have been access to industry reports, trend monitors and targeted CPD and networking events. We would like to promote our business across the membership further – Geographic Information Systems (GIS), our core business, has a wealth of opportunity across every business sector and we’d like to develop wider awareness and understanding of the opportunities across the Scotland IS membership

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