Recently, South Somerset District Council (SSDC), an owner of XMAP, has started exporting layers to Parish Online - a veritable cornucopia of data, with 79 layers as of today, and more to come. One of these is Planning Applications, covering all back about 12 years - more than 70,000 records.
Planning Applications are always the hottest topic of discussion at all Parish Council meetings - a permanent feature of the Agenda - and great use is made of Parish Online to highlight each application in turn. The decisions made at the Council meeting are recorded live at the time, and are thus immediately available to the parish via Public Map on the village website.
Before the export from SSDC, each application was manually entered into Parish Online as a Parish Layer, thereby enabling a couple of columns to be created for the entry of the date considered by the Parish Council, and the decision itself.
The provision of the layer from SSDC would hopefully prevent the need for the manual entry into Parish Layers, but two issues prevent this:
1. The inability to write data to a third-party layer - so no way to record the Council decision
2. Current Filter limitations in Parish Online:
a) No boolean options for more than one filter field
b) No filter options in Public Map
I am not sure of any solution to issue 1., and would be very open to suggestions, please
As for 2(a), filtering in the Table View for the SSDC Planning Applications is hugely successful, and works very well (after some corrections by Geoxphere, gratefully acknowledged) - but although multiple values for any one field are permitted (and again, this works well), the data from SSDC require more definitive sorting: ideally we could sort on two columns - eg refkey ( which is the planning application number, in the format 22/80939/HOU) AND Decision (eg Permitted, Rejected, and any number of permutations thereto - such as Permitted with Conditions), which would bring the selection down to those currently of interest to the Parish Council: eg applications opened this year (refkey Starts With '22' -which works just fine) and not yet decided (Decision = any one of three or four codes (which has also been shown to work well)). It is the Boolean AND which is desirable (and presumably OR or NOT could also be included?)
As for 2(b): a public map with 70,000 records is of no use to anyone, so we need to be able to apply the filters offered by 2(a) to the data going to the Public Map - so that users are able to filter features in or out as they can currently turn layers (Planning Applications for 2019, or 2020, or 2021, or 2022) on or off in the current Public Map.
It may be that the updates currently being worked on at Geoxphere (eg Copying Data from one Layer to another, or Exporting data to a spreadsheet, amending it, and then importing it back in (perhaps to a fresh layer)) will make it so quick and easy to reduce the SSDC Planning Applications layer to very simple Parish Layers (one per year, as now) that we could in fact continue with the current system, only that the raw data coming from SSDC provides the base data for the Parish Layers, and thereby continue with recording the Council decisions for all to see, and the current Public Map.
On the other hand, I think that the principle of enabling multiple columns to be used in Filtering with Boolean operators being available could be very useful, without being so complicated that it makes the system too hard to use for the average Parish Clerk or Councillor - and ditto for being able to apply filters to data on its way to a public map.