15 March 2019

The great statistician William Deming once proclaimed, 'in God we trust, all others must bring data' – and it's a mantra which England's Economic Heartland swears by.

EEH's partners have a legacy in paving the way in research, innovation and data. The Heartland's world class universities and knowledge clusters' track record in this field spans centuries, so it's no surprise this thinking is a core part of our DNA.

In a world more connected than ever, EEH understands and champions the role data plays in enabling smarter decisions to be made that offer the greatest value for money. It is on this basis we have established a 'regional evidence base' which continues to expand and enhance organically through the work on our Transport Strategy.

But don't just take our word for it, our partners get it too. In the last two months alone, I've received over 60 new requests for access to our GIS web mapping platform ProjectView. The platform has brought together the Heartland's socioeconomic, transport and growth data into one single place – finally!

More and more our partners are applying ProjectView to their work, the usability and slick interface means you can export and present data much faster than conventional approaches. Plus, it saves all of those awkward 'how much longer is it going to take?' questions with your in-house GIS boffin.

Our regional evidence base is also pushing conventional boundaries in the modelling space; we've worked with Immense Simulations to develop another cutting-edge 'cloud based' platform. Its proof of concept is award winning (by the way), due to its ingenuity. It will run models in hours (not weeks) and reflects persona behaviour to test the relative implication of new policy 'what if?' scenarios.

ProjectView has been integral in developing the baseline from which our modelling tool can look forward and I can't wait to see the outputs after we calibrate it in the coming months.

EEH's success in developing the regional evidence base has been forged by the legacy of our past, the expertise of our partners and the awareness of our political and business leaders to recognise the role data plays in realising the economic potential of the Heartland, which includes the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Watch this space, this is just the start…

Antony Swift is the Project Lead at England's Economic Heartland