Coal Authority

Coal Authority – hybrid architecture for enterprise spatial data management and exploitation

The Coal Authority (TCA) manages the effects of past coal mining, including subsidence damage claims which are not the responsibility of licensed coal mine operators. It deals with mine water pollution and other mining legacy issues.


In undertakings these operations the Authority collects, uses and maintains a vast array of spatial data in some cases dating back hundreds of years. TCA were using a wide variety of end-of-life point solutions to deliver services from islands of data across their enterprise. Apart from the considerable financial implications of maintaining this position it was identified as limiting the business as it was unable to adapt to changing market conditions and predicted volumes of business. Corporate knowledge was “siloed” making it time consuming to provide the highest quality safety advice.


TCA commissioned SCISYS to supply an enterprise information service: known as "Inferis", this facilitates smarter working via corporate data sharing and service re-use. Services supplied span the entire software life cycle from analysis to support. A centralised spatially enabled database serves all functions. SCISYS worked closely with TCA to understand their corporate business processes and policies, considering each process in isolation. These were then translated into the minimum number of generic capabilities and provided as re-useable services, including the innovative approach of embedding suitably configured mapping (GIS) services within workflow steps. Previously isolated pools of data are now accessible via the re-useable services from a spatially enabled database. This significantly empowers the business as all information and opinion on a site is available in one system: making the most of TCA assets. The same services are re-used in all aspects of the business, from web based customer self service to forensic geospatial analysis of corporate data by TCA specialists.

Inferis uses a hybrid architecture combining Esri components for back-end data processing combined with open source components (Open Layers and Geoserver) to visualise and capture data via the internal corporate GIS browser, cartosys, and external feature capture tool (the SCISYS Digiright component).

"Up to date and accurate operational information is key to every decision we make in the business and to our customers who rely on our coal mining report when buying and selling property. With Inferis, for the first time, we have a single integrated system which provides the solutions we need across the business and access to the most up to date information including Ordnance Survey products."  Says Steve Pennell, The Coal Authority Director of Mining Information and Services.


• All spatial data assets are now available across the whole enterprise
• 100% increase in mining report generation productivity
• 98% of reports ordered and returned electronically via self service
• >70% of property boundaries digitised by the customer

Mining Information Authorities

To learn more about Inferis see it in action via the YouTube video below,
download the flyer or our
mining authority white paper.
If you cannot access YouTube, the video is available here.

Get in Touch!

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Contact us:
Call the environment team on +44 (0)1249 466466 or

White Papers

Coal Authority approach white paper (PDF, new window).

Inferis technical white paper (PDF, new window).

Geoconnections Article (PDF, new window).