Map-friendly building development data provides invaluable strategic resource

key-built-up-areaBusiness planners, strategists and analysts can now view the location of future building developments on detailed maps of the surrounding area, thanks to a new initiative led jointly by MAPMECHANICS, a specialist in mapping and geographic information systems, and Barbour ABI, an expert in gathering, processing and presenting information on UK planning applications and construction contracts.

Further details on this data set, which is named Barbour ABI Planning Applications, is available here on

While many business data sets already provide information on existing premises, the unique advantage of this data is that it shows what is planned for building in the future. This makes it an invaluable strategic planning tool for gathering competitor information and identifying business opportunities.

For example, a restaurant owner could spot planned developments that are complementary to the hospitality sector – a cinema, for instance – and open a new facility taking advantage of the potential extra footfall. Or a business selling conservatories or solar panels might want to see where there are the most planning applications for this type of home improvement – information that can help it target its marketing most effectively.

Equally a business could avoid areas where the map shows too much planned competition. Displaying the density of planned developments on a map provides an instant “on-the-ground” picture of what is likely to be happening in the future.

Data of this kind is not widely available in “map-friendly” form, but the new product packs from Mapmechanics and Barbour ABI fill the gap. Mapmechanics has taken the raw Barbour ABI data, geocoded it (which means adding grid references), and grouped it by time and date. This makes it easy for users to show planned developments on a suitable map, selecting whatever future time frame they need.

Mapmechanics has divided the resultant data into separate business categories, which are available individually in special packs. This means buyers can select the geocoded data under a wide variety of headings – for instance, closed-circuit TV placement or major retail developments.

Barbour ABI ( has over 70 years of experience in the gathering, processing and delivering of information on UK construction contracts as they are built. All UK planning applications are tracked by their research team who then verifies which of the projects move to the construction phase and continues to monitor them, right through to project build completion. As a result, Barbour ABI has huge databases of individual projects from low budget refurbishments to complete new shopping centres with details of exactly what stage they are at.