Headlines: August 4th, 2000

The Countryside Agency will use GIS technology to manipulate data from the most comprehensive and detailed survey of rural services it has ever undertaken. Until now it has been working on survey material from 1997, which built a picture of rural social exclusion, with 70% of rural parishes having no general store, 83% no GP and 75% with no daily bus service.The Rural Services Survey 2000 will update and expand this information to ensure that planning and funding can be targeted with pin-point accuracy to the rural areas most in need. Data collection will be in two parts. A postal survey will be request information from community, parish and local councils this autumn, to add to a new database on services that include GPs, hospitals, banks and post offices. The data will be fed into Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to show service provision at virtually any scale from settlement level to parish, district, county, region and national level.

Consultants MVA, based in Surrey will carry out the postal survey. The contract for designing the GIS database has been awarded to the South-east Regional Research Laboratory, Birkbeck College, London. Information will be available for users in spring 2001 with the full analysis published in summer 2001