What we did
SilverStripe worked with the Tasman District Council and other development partners in order to create a truly useful website.
The demographics and geography of the Tasman Region provided some additional challenges to the project. With many residents living in remote rural regions, far from Council offices and without the benefit of broadband, it was important to provide an online experience that was accessible to dial-up users and which would allow more customers to interact with Council without needing to visit the offices.
We used our expertise in different ways in order to deliver the three key functions of the website that the Tasman District Council needed.
SilverStripe provided seamless integration with payment process provider DPS in order to enable online rates payments.
At the time the website was launched, Tasman District Council did not have a public GIS capability. The website strategy determined that spatial data would ultimately be delivered in the public GIS solution, but that website users would need to see the location of things via the website.
This was enabled by tagging pages with spatial coordinates which could be used to display the location in a Google Map within the page, and also be used to create a parent page for a series of content pages, with a single Google Map showing the location of all child pages. This is used extensively throughout the site for things such as the location of Council amenities (offices, parks, sportsgrounds, Resource Recovery Centres) as well as the location of Environmental Monitoring Sites (River Flow, Rainwater, Swimming Water Quality).
SilverStripe CMS users have access to a new tab under Content, called Geotag. This allows them to enter Latitude and Longitude values for the page.
This customised enhancement to the functionality offered by Silverstripe CMS has allowed Editors and Contributors to utilise interactive maps within their content without needing to request development support, meaning more content can be delivered for less development cost.
This approach is also highly scalable for future developments, such as pushing further information from our internal data sets to the website with little or no content management required, for example locations of amenities such as toilets, public barbecues, boat ramps etc.
The site currently offers website users the ability to find the answer to questions like "where are the Council Offices located?", but in the future this functionality could be used to also let website users find the answer to questions like "what amenities are in Mapua?". This would be delivered by a parent map page that searches the entire website for content tagged within a defined radius of the parent page’s location.
We chose to use Google Maps as it is in reasonably common use on the internet, thereby ensuring maximum user-familiarity with the approach.
The CMS part of the solution is so easy to use that even the most novice contributor can produce a map page linking down to several child pages with ease. These page types have a consistent look and feel across the entire site which maintains the professional appearance of the site.
We purpose-built an extension to SilverStripe CMS so that it can access SilentOne’s document information in order to make documents available to CMS users to allow documents to be published to the website. This is the first time that SilverStripe CMS has been fully integrated with SilentOne.
The search capability of SilentOne has also been added to the Search functionality within SilverStripe CMS to allow website users to search documents available via the site, as well as content.
Search Results are split into Pages and Documents with users being able to just view the document search results if they want.
It allows documents to be made available to website users simply by adding the document into SilentOne – this means that administrative staff can publish Agendas, Reports and Minutes to the website without needing to use the CMS.
This feature is not only providing enormous benefit to staff and website users now, but its use can be further extended alongside the online payments feature to provide pay-to-view access to Electronic Property Files in the future.