THURSDAY 6 JUL 2017 3:33 PM

MAPPING VIEWS ACROSS THE UK COUNTRYSIDE

It was well into the twentieth century before most of the UK’s population had access to at least one electricity source. Yet a recent project carried out by electricity distribution company UK Power Networks and London-based ideas agency Yes&Pepper took just ten weeks. By digitally mapping where miles of overhead, once view-obstructing, power cables have been transferred underground, the collaboration highlights areas of natural British beauty.

A digital map, detailing the areas in which UK Power Networks has transferred overhead power cables to below the ground, is the first of its kind. Designed by creative ideas agency Yes&Pepper, its interactive features allow customers to suggest the next spot UK Power Networks should consider for undergrounding cables. And, with the east and south-east regions of England the main areas in which the UK Power Networks carry out most of its energy supply and restoration work, the map highlights swathes of green. In fact, much of Yes&Pepper’s work points viewers towards Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks previously obscured by electricity cables.

Jenny Carter, senior marketing communications executive at UK Power Networks, explains why the project was so vital – not just for the UK countryside, but also for local communities. “Our regulator Ofgem encourages companies like us to carry out undergrounding works by providing special funding, but we wanted to take this project one step further and share the positive impact this initiative has on the UK’s protected countryside, and engage with local communities further,” says Carter.

Carter continues, “We provide the expertise and manpower to underground these lines, allowing local residents and tourists to fully appreciate the surroundings. Such work also increases the reliability of power supplies in the area. This map celebrates all that hard work. We’re looking forward to hearing what people think of it, and will continue to update and improve the online map in future.”

Orange pointers currently denote where restoration work has been completed, with blue showing planned works. The numerous areas currently include Little Missenden, Ightham Mote, Cobham Park, Gravesend, and Chillseford and Buttley River Valley. Inspiration for the collaboration came from a previous UK Power Network project. Similarly using mapping as a tool, it promoted business response time through customer tweets mapped according to regions in which outage restoration work was taking place.

Ross Peet, managing partner at Yes&Pepper, says, “When dealing with large data, it’s vital for the information to be reported in a visual manner, to allow easy access and offer an overall understanding in a matter of seconds. We’ve been working hand in hand with our client to build this innovative, user-centric project, always fine-tuning it for an optimal experience online.”

For the UK countryside, the resulting map reflects continual progress to restore the UK landscape to its natural beauty. For customers, the collaboration recognises how digital platforms can be optimised to enhance both B2C and B2B engagement. Peet ends, “It’s been a real technical challenge for Yes&Pepper to pull everything together so quickly and accurately during testing, but the end result is incredibly efficient.”

View the map here.

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