One of the main aims of the LoG-IN project is to improve the exchange of data between local and higher administrative levels by using technical networks. This serves to optimize the quality of local government administrative services for regional business by way of electronic services, with a resultant increase in competitiveness. The supply and processing of spatial data has a central role to play in the project. The LoG-IN Generic Information Infrastructure is a powerful internet infrastructure shared by 35 local authorities from 3 countries.
Many people whose first language is not English or have problems reading could still benefit from information on the internet. There are text readers but these are still a bit impersonal. The newsfast services - funded from the Norfolk Open Link applications competition - gets over this problem by having a virtual character read news, weather and sport by taking these from RSS feeds and putting them into words and gestures. It is now being developed to support other languages for migrant worker communities. It is available on http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/videoconsole/Newscast.aspx .
People and businesses need to know not only what services local administrations provide but also where the nearest services are. This is not just about what is geographically nearest as they may exist on the edge of a service delivery or catchment area so the location which serves them may not be nearest in terms of miles.
As a result of a discussion with the Shaping the Future and Norfolk Ambition partnerships, it was clear that a big boost to support the cultural and creative sectors in Norfolk would be a comprehensive events database. These sectors - together with the Tourism sector - make up more than a third of all employment in Norfolk. At present the marketing of their services is fragmented.
Norfolk was one of the last areas in the UK to have its exchanges enabled for ADSL. However work had identified considerable demand for broadband from the Norwich area in particular as there are a high concentration of creative sector and knowledge companies. Norfolk Open Link is a £1.35m two-year pilot project to evaluate the impact that mobile technology could have on economic development in Norfolk and the delivery of public services. It provides a broadband wireless network covering a large area of Norwich City centre and key locations in the rural district of South Norfolk.
Organizations in Norfolk had no common and easy-to-use source of data for planning service delivery. This was especially key for the Shaping Norfolk's Future economic partnership. An observatory has been created (www.norfolkdata.net) and populated with data and users have been trained. The range of data provided has been expanded from its original base to include health and crime related data as well as skills, employment, poverty, age etc.