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Publication of the UK Geospatial Strategy

Last week, the UK Geospatial Commission published their five year strategy entitled “Unlocking the power of location”.

Geospatial data is foundational and the opportunities both within the sector and for many other sectors are substantial. It underpins efforts such as helping achieve net zero targets, improving our essential infrastructure and understanding and controlling the spread of covid-19. New business models can be generated through innovative use of geospatial data. The geospatial strategy outlines the huge potential offered by combining geospatial capability with other key technology trends: the growth of cheaper location sensors, improved connectivity, cloud and artificial intelligence. It’s mission is four-fold:

  • To promote and safeguard the use of location data. Work has already been done to open up Ordnance Survey data, and create a unified Public Sector Geospatial Agreement recently signed by the Scottish Government. A “Geospatial Data Market study” is planned to inform policy interventions. As part of the strategy, the commission will develop guidance on unlocking value from location data while maintaining ethical and privacy standards, adhering to the law and maintaining public trust. 
  • To improve access to location data. Specific studies are planned for particular sector areas – eg. mobility and the next generation transport network; housing. Work to improve access will focus on ensuring geospatial datasets are easily findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. This includes harmonising licences and improving data catalogues and platforms and guidance for accessing geospatial data.
  • To enhance capabilities, skills and awareness of geospatial data. A geospatial skills forum will  different stakeholders together to assess the emergent demand for geospatial skills, understand the gaps, diversity issues and develop geospatial apprenticeships.    
  • To enable innovation. In Scotland, the Geospatial Commission will support the development of a geospatial network integrator in Scotland to accelerate economic activity; this model may then be rolled out elsewhere. We already have a key strength in Scotland, in both the production and use of geospatial data with many innovative, high performing Scottish businesses in the sector: Ecometrica, Topolytics, Spire Global, to list but a few. 

Albert King, Chief Data Officer, Scottish Government said:

Scotland’s thriving geospatial sector is well placed to help our communities, public services and businesses succeed, unlocking social and economic value for Scotland by driving innovation and promoting collaboration in its geospatial sector. We are committed to building on the opportunities offered through the new Public Sector Geospatial Agreement and look forward to working with the Commission to realise this vision. As part of the commitment we are working with Scottish Enterprise and the Geospatial Commission to unlock the power of geospatial data on our collaborative Network Integrator project, to achieve these aims.

ScotlandIS also look forward to supporting the ambitions within the geospatial strategy, and working with partners and companies in Scotland to develop and realise on those ambitions.

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