UK’s geospatial data infrastructure: challenges and opportunities
Matthew White, Senior Business Development Manager at 1Spatial follows up this report, by focusing on geospatial data infrastructures powering geospatial readiness.
The Open Data Institute (ODI) report summarises the desk research carried out as part of the ODI’s project to explore challenges that face the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure, and opportunities to support the publishing and use of openly licensed geospatial data.
Geospatial readiness is enabling organisations across the public and private sectors to innovate and transform by developing new service concepts or improvements to existing public services, rethinking entire end-to-end processes, supporting new business models and exploring emerging and disruptive technologies. Innovation drives economic growth, improved environmental and social outcomes. The UK already has some of the best geospatial readiness in the world, as was shown recently in the Countries Geospatial Readiness Index, where the UK ranks 2nd out of 50 countries for geospatial readiness. The UK has led the world in showing how opening-up geospatial data infrastructures benefits us economically, environmentally and socially.
But we cannot afford to be complacent and we need to keep developing and maintaining geospatial data to improve geospatial readiness. There remains a set of challenges for continued growth from geospatial data that the ODI have identified in their report. A UK geospatial strategy which enhances geospatial data assets, is an integral part of the UK government priorities. This is a fantastic time and opportunity for us all in the geospatial sector.
The UK needs to continue investing in geospatial readiness. Geospatial data infrastructures are the backbone to geospatial readiness. The ODI describe data infrastructures as typically consisting of data assets, the organisations that operate and maintain them and tools and processes for using and governing the data. A key aspect of geospatial data infrastructures is data stewardship (tools and processes for using and governing the data). Geospatial data stewardship creates smarter data for geospatial readiness.
So, what is smarter data?
- Smarter data is the currency for enabling improved geospatial readiness
- Smarter data must drive action in a way that maximises organisation, local, regional, national or global outcomes
- Smarter data must have enough quality to drive value
- Smarter data must be available in real-time to adapt to changing environments
Increasingly organisations look at economic, environmental and social outcomes first and then work backwards to understand the data that is needed to achieve these outcomes. To meet new and rising expectations for knowledge and insight from geospatial data, organisations need to develop their geospatial readiness through data stewardship. 1Spatial’s geospatial data solutions and expertise are frequently at the core of this data stewardship.
1Spatial are helping organisations across the UK and globally to adopt “geospatial data stewardship” for creating smarter data. This means geospatial data stewardship for collecting, maintaining and sharing smarter geospatial data. Figure 1 illustrates how geospatial data stewardship is the foundation for powering geospatial readiness, driven by outcomes and innovation, using a combination of technology, workflow automation and digital engineering.
Two examples to help provide context for geospatial data infrastructures, and specifically data stewardship powering geospatial readiness, are the Rural Payments Agency and US Census.
The Rural Payments Agency (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) want to make continuous improvements to their Rural Payment Service. Geospatial data stewardship underpins the maintenance of the Rural Payment Agency’s geospatial master data, including 2.5 million land parcels and 3.4 million land cover records. The Rural Payments Agency adopted 1Spatial’s geospatial technologies and workflow automation for data stewardship. The Rural Payments Agency has in turn created smarter data, improved geospatial readiness and improved their Rural Payment Service.
The US Census wanted to rethink their entire end-to-end processes, bringing significant efficiency and productivity improvements and contributing to $5bn savings for the 2020 census. The US Census adopted 1Spatial’s geospatial technologies and workflow automation for data stewardship. The US Census has created smarter data, improved geospatial readiness and achieved significant process efficiencies.
Economic growth improved environmental and social outcomes stimulates the need for innovation and transformation, which in turn drives geospatial readiness, smarter data and geospatial data infrastructures. 1Spatial are supporting organisations across the UK and globally to adopt geospatial data stewardship for geospatial data infrastructures. Geospatial data infrastructures are enhancing geospatial assets and powering geospatial readiness.