Following the recent publication of the UK Geospatial Commission’s strategy, we asked several of our members their thoughts and reaction to the geospatial strategy.
Dr Michael Grove of environmental data specialist, Topolytics, had this to say:
“As a Geographer and someone that is using mapping and analytics to track the world’s waste, I am delighted to see the UK Geospatial Strategy published. It’s about time the country had one. I have always said that the geospatial sector needs to get out more! In other words, we need to move out of the public sector, academic, utility, planning nexus into the world of everyday business. This also requires us to change some of the language and the definitions of ‘geospatial’. An e-commerce company cannot effectively function without an addressing database – that’s geospatial. A logistics company cannot function without a routing app – that’s geospatial. A retailer cannot function effectively without understanding footfall and customer demographics – that’s geospatial.
The strategy rightly highlights the need for ‘awareness’ raising, but I think this needs to be wider and broader than perhaps envisaged – not just relying on the formal education sector. I was also struck by a focus on the role that geospatial can play in enabling us to meet Net Zero targets and meeting global sustainability goals – which is so true. Set this against the stated role that geospatial can play in making retail more efficient and driving consumer spending, and there is an interesting potential dichotomy there. I say this as someone that buys things and runs a for-profit company. It’s an interesting discussion point nonetheless and I am absolutely delighted that geography can expose and frame such debates. Welcome to the world, UK Geospatial Strategy!”
Ecometrica, environmental software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, commented:
“We are always delighted to see a strategy for Space and particularly for Downstream, it seems to be focusing more on public sector use of geospatial data rather than supporting the growing number of companies who are using geospatial data to provide commercial services – understandable given the remit but disappointing that there isn’t more focus on the private sector. It is a little short on detail as to how “open” data will be for non-government users (like us), so I’m not sure we will benefit much from the initiative – although I hope we will be proved wrong as time progresses!”
There are over 50 companies in Scotland who have a geospatial offering, and geospatial data and skills are important across all sectors. At ScotlandIS, we look forward to helping shape the implementation of some of the measures in the strategy, and gaining understanding of the opportunities and blockers to help grow this key sector.
Collated by Head of Data, Katy Guthrie.