British Army’s 42 Engineer Regiment (Geo) globally recognised for ground- breaking data platform and analytical support for UK’s Emergency COVID-19 Response


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Delivers first UK national data platform to be created by the military that provides a common operational picture to over 1000 users across government, health and multiple agencies, enabling rapid decision making and collaboration.

42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) has been internationally recognised for creating a ground-breaking national data platform that informed decision makers and planners with a dynamic common operational picture of all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, and delivering geospatial data analysis services throughout the crisis.

The British Army’s geospatial intelligence experts are the UK winner of the 2021 Esri Special Achievement in Geographic Information Systems (SAG), Awards recognising organisations that have set new precedents and improved the world using geographic information systems (GIS), by Esri President and Founder, Jack Dangermond.

The data platform is the first to be created by the UK military for a national civilian crisis and broke new ground in being capable of overlaying COVID-19 incidence data with NHS infrastructure, hospital bed capacities, population demographics, partner facility locations and available personnel numbers. The extent of its reach is also unique to the UK pandemic response, in joining up multiple organisations and gaining over 1000 users, spanning the Cabinet Office and Government Departments to the NHS, SAGE, Local Authorities, First Responders and Military personnel.

In March 2020 the crisis triggered an urgent need for collaboration and daily decision making and 42 Engineer Regiment (42ER) were tasked with providing a common operational picture of the fast-evolving national emergency. 42ER drew on its experience using GIS to co-ordinate humanitarian operations and within days created a secure, web-based COVID-19 Viewer using Esri’s ArcGIS Online solution. This gave instant access to the same trusted, real-time data to all parties to make faster and more informed decisions, and to effectively deploy limited resources, to save lives, protect the NHS and combat the pandemic.

42ER’s geo intelligence specialists were embedded as advisors within Government and the NHS. Their analysis combined multiple streams of location and time-based data to identify the optimum locations for COVID-19 Testing Centres and the selection and revision of proposed Nightingale hospitals and other care sites. In tandem 42ER used Esri’s ArcGIS mobile survey application, Survey 123, to enable the Military Assessment Teams visiting potential Nightingale sites to collect and immediately upload field data, enabling planners to rapidly decide the site’s suitability.

The Geo-cells also supported the Joint Biosecurity Centre using Esri technology to map and visualise the regional distribution of COVID-19 case and death rates, which have been used in the UK Government’s COVID-19 Briefings to the nation.

Captain Luke Parker, 42ER support lead, says:

“42 Engineer Regiment is proud to have played a key role in enabling the Government to make faster, well-informed decisions in the battle to protect the NHS and save lives. The online GIS platform helped lots of different organisations to work together to make the big decisions about how the UK responded to the pandemic”.

Adrian Friend, Head of Defence, National Security & Public Safety, Esri UK, says:

“The ability to deliver time-sensitive information advantage into the hands of decision-makers during such a period of uncertainty and crisis is a fantastic achievement. 42 Engineer Regiment should be immensely proud of all they have achieved, and I am pleased they have received the international recognition they deserve for their amazing efforts. “


Further information:

Celia Turner +44 (0)7703 344425

About Esri UK in Defence

Esri UK are the UK’s leading provider of location information systems and services, delivering true information advantage through a seamless, two-way flow of information and intelligence that enables critical decisions to be made on where, when and how to act.

To achieve this, Esri UK deploys ArcGIS- the global standard for Geographic Information Systems used across the international defence, national security and public safety community.

Explore more: Esri

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