Heritage Eye was one of the pilot projects funded by English Heritage to develop an app that could be used by community groups and heritage officers in Bristol City Council for surveying buildings on the Heritage at Risk register.
The app was developed over a four-month period in close consultation with Bristol City Council. We developed an interface to the GIS database called “Know Your Place” which the council uses for managing its Heritage at Risk register. The development process included user testing with members of the civic society. Feedback was unanimously positive and users appreciated the way that we had re-formatted the survey so that sections could easily be skipped if not relevant. Multiple-choice options also made the process quicker than filling in the manual form.
One of the innovations that we came up with was the idea of a simple form. This was to encourage people who weren’t trained surveyors to submit a quick report about buildings in their neighbourhood. It provides the ability to take a photograph and to write a short comment.
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The app has enabled officers to undertake rapid ‘at-risk’ surveys that link directly to the HER database and trigger automated actions such as letters to property owners. It also allows for members of the public to submit alerts when they see a potential problem with a building, helping to manage the heritage of the city.