Community Insight user group meet up

Thanks to all those who attended the Community Insight User Group meet-up last week. We were thrilled with the enthusiasm, feedback and support we received from everyone and are excited to be working with so many of you on the development of Community Insight.

What are people saying?

The meet-up was an excellent opportunity to discuss with users how Community Insight has benefited their organisation so far and in what capacity they are using the tool. We have put together a snippet of the feedback we have received so far about how different organisations are using the tool to improve and target their services.

  • “Community Insight allows us to question our funding and refocus budgets to fit actual needs”  – Circle Housing
  • “We have been able to locate our Welfare Benefit Advisors based on what we can see on Community Insight” – Viridian Housing
  • “Stock types have been useful in seeing how stock managed by different people overlaps. This allows us to work together, rather than feeling isolated”  – Symphony Housing

Future of Community Insight

We’re really pleased with where Community Insight is at the moment, but we know that there are still many ways to make the tool even better. Which is why it’s great to have so many housing associations on board at these early stages, working with us to continuously develop a tool that best suits their needs.

As promised at the user group, we gave users the chance to talk through and prioritise what we develop in the next few months.

1. High priorities

2. Medium priorities

3. Lower priority

Using a highly sophisticated Post-it & dots (TM 😉 ) system, the user group members identified the five features that were of most importance to them. From these notes we have compiled the top three developments which we will be prioritising for development:

1.       Upload your own data

This feature will go live in October this year, allowing users to upload their own data to Community Insight. The most requested feature at the user group meeting, subscribers are eager to be able to use their own data alongside the open data available on Community Insight.

2.       Who’s on my patch?

Community Insight will flag up other organisations that are working locally to you, or in areas that share similar characteristics. The popularity of this feature followed on from an excellent discussion had by all around the importance and benefits of sharing information and finding out who else is working in similar areas or dealing with similar challenges. This adds another element to the ‘Community’ aspect of ‘Community Insight’, and due to its popularity with subscribers will take top priority in future developments.

3.     Update indicators with Police UK data

Many users were keen to see police data at neighbourhood level as an indicator to overlay on the Community Insight map, especially for targeting and reducing anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods. We’re working on this for early Autumn, and also intend to include Land Registry open data on property prices.


If you can’t see your top priority features on our upcoming development plan, don’t worry! We will be rolling in even more over the next few months. Check back on our Community Insight blog to see the latest updates.

Couldn’t make the user group? We would love to hear from you, whether you are already a subscriber and want to have a chat about how your organisation is using the tool, or simply want to find out more.


Postcodes, GIS and open data

Behind the scenes in Community Insight, we’re always improving the system functionality and performance. Generally users notice the difference through new features such as stock types and hotspot mapping. Or we notice the difference in terms of it being easier to do things like update the data or launch a new version of Insight for housing providers in Wales.

We also release continual performance enhancements, which can really improve the user experience, such as faster loading of maps and and property assets (even on IE7 and IE8 …). Based on user-feedback, updating the postcode look-up data is one of those performance improvements that users really notice. Which is why we’re excited to have just updated and strengthened the postcode data we hold in the system.

Postcode data is now published on a quarterly basis by Ordnance Survey as open data, and we are always rolling-in the latest version of this information to ensure that we know about the addresses used by housing organisations. This data is linked to a coordinate (based on the centre of the postcode – unfortunately OS decided the postcode boundary was too valuable to publish as open data), which we use for locating property assets on the map. We can also take in property locations based on latitude-longitude (or easting-northing) which we we will roll into a future release.

Based on the postcode location, we can also identify which standard areas each postcode is in – such as wards, Output Areas, Super Output Areas, Local Authorities etc – and use this to generate community profile reports for Insight users. For this, we use lookup tables published by the Office for National Statistics. But we now also top this up with some GIS jujitsu to match previously unmatched postcode centres to the standard area boundary definitions.

The bottom-line is that our postcode matching is getting close to the magic 100%, with users able to map their properties in less than 1 minute. And as a bonus, Community Insight can also help organisations to identify errors in their underlying property postcode data – as we know some users are already doing.