A conservation area is an area of environmental or historical interest or importance considered worth preserving or enhancing. They are defined by local authorities and impact on developments as conservation areas are protected against changes by law.
Conservation areas have been around since 1967 which means a lot of the information is locked up in documents. Those historical documents can range from press announcements, archive paper records and PDFs. The boundary defining the conservation area is usually held in a Local authority's GIS (Geographic Information System). GIS software utilises a framework for collecting, analyzing and managing data digitally.
Neither of these sources are readily available as data. GIS data isn’t always easily accessible meaning we can’t retrieve, find and use the data we need or there can be issues with data quality. Digital Land is interested in seeing what data can be produced from available information and how it can be combined to make a national dataset.
Why we are looking at conservation areas
Conservation areas exist in document form, are well understood as a concept and are often listed on a local authority website.
Previously, we've collected geometries from ONS but we want to explore local authority defined geometries. This project allows us to investigate and test what we need to do to collect real data from local authorities.
Guidance exists to help local authorities create and publish conservation area data.
Added extra data for Lambeth and Southwark
A geography and multiple documents
Finding conservation area data
We were able to find and collect conservation area data from 70+ local authorities. The data is a bit sparse with a lot of names and references missing. However we do have geometries for ~5000 conservation areas.
Started September 2020