Informed Solutions has today launched a first-of-its-kind Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based planning decision support platform that will transform the way planning authorities manage protected and environmentally sensitive land, as well as dramatically enhancing how users of all expertise (including members of the public) navigate the planning process.
Informed Solutions is also proud to announce that NatureScot, the lead public body responsible for advising Scottish Government Ministers on all matters relating to Scotland’s natural heritage, is deploying the solution to support sustainable land management and planning across Scotland.
Developed as part of a Govtech Catalyst Challenge and with additional support from The Scottish Government’s CivTech Programme, InformedDECISION© was created using Informed Solutions’ 2022 Queen’s Award for Innovation-winning product design methodology InformedTRANSFORM©, which has been proven to accelerate and de-risk digital business change.
The result is an innovative first of its kind, cloud-native information platform that integrates and exploits advances in digital service design, mapping, data analytics, earth observation (satellite) imagery, and AI capabilities to process and answer complex land management questions in a simple manner.
The product has been developed and refined through rigorous user-centred design, research, and testing involving over 30 major planning organisations across England, Scotland, and Wales. It takes advantage of Informed’s expertise in AI, analytics, and data unification, combining innovative technologies including Natural Language Processing, Named Entity Recognition, and Location Intelligence to provide rich, targeted information on environmentally sensitive areas to planning decision makers, as well as developers and land managers applying for planning permission.
For NatureScot, the deployment of InformedDECISION© is expected to deliver 50% efficiency gains in key parts of the planning process; greater consistency of decision making as a result of AI-based guidance; and an enhanced user experience that provides fast and easy access to more accurate information.
For planning case officers, InformedDECISION© improves the speed, quality and consistency of decision making on planning proposals. AI and Natural Language Processing technology combine to identify relevant cases within document and case management systems, allowing staff to make more informed decisions whilst also massively reducing the number of documents that need to be handled on increasingly complex planning proposals.
For external users of the service, which include farmers, estate managers, landowners, and developers, InformedDECISION© improves the user experience of the planning process by increasing ease of access to relevant information and guidance through integrated mapping and intelligent user workflows.
Seth Finegan, UK CEO at Informed Solutions comments: “It is a proud and hugely significant moment for Informed Solutions to see this product develop from initial kernel to full solution, now being deployed and integral within the Scottish planning system.
“It is a testament to how crucial collaboration is within the innovation process. Working closely with Nature Scot, CivTech and planning bodies across the whole of the UK has enabled us to develop a truly transformative product that will have a positive, system-wide impact on the way planning works and is geared towards protecting sensitive land resources.
“With InformedDECISION© now being fully rolled out with Nature Scot as our first customer, we’re excited and proud to have a digital platform that can not only transform sustainable land management and planning in Scotland but can also act as a digital game changer for land management challenges the world over.”
Darren Hemsley, NatureScot’s Head of Supporting Good Development, said:
“Scotland is facing a nature emergency and protected areas have a vital role to play in helping us build resilience in the face of the climate change and biodiversity loss crises. We are committed to protect, restore, and value these special areas through evidence-based work with partners such as Informed Solutions. InformedDECISION©’s ability to integrate land and environmental data with case history in real-time, whilst providing immediate and tailored information for any specific site will be a great resource for land managers, developers and members of the public interested in their local protected areas.”