The Somerset Intelligence Network (SINe) aims to gather and use intelligence effectively to support policy-making and improve the quality of life for people living in the county of Somerset. SINe is part of the South West Observatory and is co-ordinated by the Partnership Intelligence Unit (PIU), based at Somerset County Council – a strategic partner. The website (www.sine.org.uk) is a public portal to SINe and the Observatory. It acts as a first point of access for people and organisations looking for data, information and research about Somerset at a range of geographical levels.
We spoke to Mike Smith, information manager with the PIU. He says that one of the issues identified early on was that individual partner organisations each had their own data sets but there was little coordination in terms of bringing them together. A team was set up to collate data sets and disseminate them which is now being done via a microsite called INFORM Somerset. This provides an overview of Somerset based on a range of themes including health and wellbeing and crime and community safety.
Once staff for the PIU was recruited, it started to look at how other organisations were disseminating data and it was quickly recognised that a data visualisation package was needed. After going out to tender, InstantAtlas was selected as the preferred provider and the decision was taken to have a hosted solution.