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Southern Housing Group and Batchgeo

Rahima Begum, Community Regeneration Officer for Southern Housing Group, talks about how she uses Batchgeo to make her life easier.

Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
My role involves delivering Digital Inclusion projects across various regions. I needed to identify the requirements of residents in lots of different locations, and then plan a programme of delivery. Basically I needed some sort of mapping tool so I could plot lots of schemes at once, and work out how to deliver sessions and use resources efficiently.

What is this tool mainly used for?
Batchgeo is used to interactively map multiple locations, with a handy feature of ‘grouping’ locations on one map.

What do you use it for?
Mapping our community centres, community partners, sheltered schemes, supported housing and UK online centres in chosen regions, fast. Then using these maps to plan and visit the locations efficiently for research and outreach work. We also use the maps in Southern Housing Group reports and recently used the maps in an exhibition to demonstrate the scope of the Digital Inclusion team’s work. It’s a great way to instantly show stakeholders and funders your breadth and depth.

Why has this tool been useful to you?
This tool has been useful because it has saved me time and resources. I’m able to use it as a travel map, planning my route between several different locations. I also use it as a checklist, ticking off the schemes I’ve finished visiting. Doing that offline – longhand – is very time consuming.

Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
The basic version if FREE, which is sufficient enough and all I require to do my work.

Are there any online tutorials available?
Yes, there are many tutorials and demos on Youtube. Just type in Batchgeo and take your pick!

Did this application need much of your time to set it up at the beginning?
No, it’s quite self-explanatory and straight forward.

Are there any limitations to using this tool?
Sometimes there can be a glitch, where the geocoding does not read a location properly. This is usually fixed by leaving it a few hours and logging back in!

Do you have any top tips for using this tool?
Yes, instead of filling out the location information for every column like the example on the Batchgeo website, just provide the basic address details to save time. This includes name of location, street number, street name and post code. Batchgeo picks up the location quite well.

Do you have any other recommendations of tools that could help you do something similar?
Google maps if searching for just one location.

Are there any other online tools that you use that you would recommend and why?
Google Calendar is also useful for planning as well as sharing important events and to see what other volunteers are doing. We also use Google Drive for storing and sharing documents