Leading UK Housebuilder:
Land Identification for Residential Development

Executive Summary

CartoConsult, using their Land Source web based software, were commissioned by a leading UK housebuilder to identify residential development land in the North West of England using ‘Big Data’ analytics.

The area of interest (AOI) was large (800 square kilometres), and the client required an efficient first phase assessment and identification of suitable land based on their criteria wish list.

Using this approach, field teams were more focused and motivated, visiting areas of land that had their physical characteristics pre-qualified by the land identification process.


The clients existing approach to land finding was to undertake physical surveys, Google Earth interpretation desktop studies, Rightmove/Plotfinder, and third party (agent) engagement.

This approach was not only resource intensive and expensive, it yielded unpredictable results without any particular focus.

Housing estate aerial view


The list of criteria for suitability outlined by the client was as follows:

  • Within the Manchester green belt area
  • Brownfield sites i.e. garden centres, scrap yards with associated land
  • Within 2km of a bus stop, and 3km of a train station
  • Within 3km of a settlement
  • Not within a Protected Area i.e. SSSI or Ancient Monument designation
  • Minimum 3 hectares in size, no maximum


Once the sites were filtered according to the criteria, remaining land parcels were analysed against the Ordnance Survey Addressbase dataset.

This allowed the identification of land with a postal address, commercial or industrial classification and size, to remove any parcels of land less than 3 hectares in size.

Key Stats

  • Large UK Housebuilder
  • Big Data analysis techniques
  • 1 million land parcels analysed
  • GIS data and technology used
  • 1,200 land parcels identified
  • 800 square kilometres searched
  • Data can be exported to Excel
Dave Rowe

Dave Rowe, Principle Developer, The Carto Group.

About the Author

Dave is an open data advocate, always looking to deliver as much value as possible from clients data.

Microsoft Certified in cloud Azure stacks, Dave is an awesome GIS Software Engineer that takes web GIS applications to the highest level.

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