We are excited to launch the new and improved Forward Works Viewer! The Forward Works Viewer was built ten years ago in 2013 as a tool to help with the Canterbury earthquake recovery coordination. It was quickly acknowledged that this was a tool which could benefit New Zealand as a whole, not just Canterbury, and over the years more councils have begun to use the Forward Works Viewer. Technology years works similarly to dog years – ten-year-old technology is very old indeed! As the user base was growing, it was placing increased demand on the software, some of which was no longer supported by the original providers. The best option for resilience and longevity was to rebuild the entire platform on new, open-source technology which can be easily upgraded and maintained. This has also meant we can add new features to the system over time so that our users can continue to benefit from the tool.
What's different between the old system and this new one?
Map-focussed user experience You’ll notice when you log on that you’re faced with the information you need straight away – the map! And the map remains the central focus, whether you’re searching for projects, inputting a new project or viewing project details. The main menu is on the left-hand side, and everything expands out into a sidebar.
Changes to projects vs. stages The original FWV required each project to have at least one stage, but a stage couldn’t have its own boundary. Now, you can have a project with its own boundary and traffic impacts, or you can have a project with various stages – all with their own individual stage boundaries, timelines and traffic impacts. We see this as being much more in line with the various applications of the FWV and enables easier entry of programmes of work.
Simplified impacts The impacts tool wasn’t overly utilised, so we have stripped it back to only traffic impacts. The impacts will also no longer be specific portions of the road corridor and instead apply to the overall boundary of the project or stage. Click here for instructions on how to add impacts.
View your organisation's projects You can now see 50 of the most recently added projects in one place. Click on ‘My Organisation’s Projects’ menu, which will bring up a list of your published projects. We will be introducing a ‘show on the map’ feature and a 'filter and sort' function further down the line.
Simpler account creation process Previously accounts had to be created manually which was cumbersome and time-consuming. Accounts will now be created automatically with a simple administrator approval to ensure only valid users are requesting Access. Simpler data gateways The benefit of the newer technology means it’s simpler for us to both consume your data and extract the FWV data.
What's coming in the future?
We have a whole suite of features we want to introduce to the FWV. These will be prioritised and built as and when funds become available for software development.
The ability to search on the map A user bug-bear was the inability to search for a location on the map in FWV1.0. We’ve listened to your feedback and will be introducing a ‘search for location’ function on the map, which when used will navigate the user to the address they have searched for.
Simpler time-slider We will replace the time-slider and replace it with a simple date filter - selecting the date range will only show projects within that date range on the map. In the future we will look at rebuilding the timeslider so that you can set a ‘from’ date, and skip through the map by week/month/annual increments to see the landscape change.
Notifications We will bring information to your inbox. Notifications will allow users to set various parameters on what they’d like to be notified about – for example any Project which is published and clashes with your published Project. The notifications will be emailed to you so you won’t need to go hunting for information in the FWV.
Dashboard The dashboard will show various reports available to be run on the data in the FWV.
Saved views Set up the FWV how you like it (date range, layers etc) and save the view for later.
Plus loads more!
We are really excited to reach this milestone and are looking forward to the future to keep the NFWV the best it can be - thanks for being part of this journey!
How do I sign up? Click here to apply for a new account. Accounts from the old platform were not migrated across so you'll need to sign up for a new account. Accounts will be approved within 24 hours.