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In January of this year, a team from 1Spatial attended the 3rd International Workshop on Spatial Data Quality, hosted by Eurogeographics, in Valletta, Malta. This workshop is a biennial event which brings together representatives from academia and National Mapping Agencies (NMAs).

1Spatial were delighted to be the official conference sponsor, giving myself and Dan Warner, Head of Government, the opportunity to present on ‘Data Maturity -Geo Data Growing Up’. A copy of the presentation can be found via the event website. We also exhibited throughout the event, where we demonstrated our solutions that enable customers to unlock the value of location data. On the first night of the event we hosted a drinks reception at a nearby hotel, which was a great opportunity to re-connect with old acquaintances and gave us the opportunity to meet new faces in the geospatial world.

The event was spread over two days with workshops and presentations on a number of different themes ranging from “Managing Quality from Multiple Suppliers” and “Case Studies” to discussions about potential updates required for ISO standards such as ISO 19157 – Geographic Information Data Quality. These sessions were extremely thought provoking and enabled many interesting and productive discussions between representatives from across Europe throughout the event.

The conversations throughout the workshop highlighted the need for an authoritative dataset and how this is vital for evidence-based decision making. A number of speakers focussed on solutions that have evolved through innovations at their organisations in order to validate authoritative data against a set of standards. Not all of the discussions however were technology focussed, with presentations, particularly in the case studies session, focussing on culture in organisations and how this can sometimes be the blocker or catalyst to creating an authoritative dataset.

One of the topics of the workshop was to define the difference between authoritative data and data that we can trust for our evidence-based decision making. Whenever talking to organisations about their need to have confidence as an organisation in evidence-based decision making, our 1Spatial team emphasise the need for data that can be trusted and is authoritative. Crompvoets et al. 2019 argue that authoritative data is data, who’s use is mandated legally, which could for example be in court or a planning permission case. Due to this mandated use there is a rationale that organisations need to ensure that their authoritative data can be trusted.

This doesn’t remove the need for all organisations to be able to trust their own data, therefore allowing them to have confidence in their operational decision making. However, with the increasing desire to collaborate between organisations, and the rise of Linked Data it is becoming increasingly important to establish which datasets are authoritative, and which are not authoritative, but can be trusted. Arguably, the authoritative dataset should be central to any Linked Data set up, with trusted datasets in separate organisations being linked back to the legally mandated authoritative data. Crompvoets et al. 2019 propose the following as a new definition for an authoritative dataset:

“Data provided by or on behalf of a public body (authority) which has an official mandate to provide and sustain it, that is based on a set of criteria to ensure (inter alia) known data quality, and that is required to be used or aimed towards extensive use and reuse within the public sector and society as a whole.” (Crompvoets et al. 2019).

At 1Spatial we are passionate about ensuring public sector organisations can rely on smarter data for evidence-based decision making, resulting in benefits to the economy, environment and society. To do this we want to help enhance geospatial readiness in the public sector by evolving geospatial data infrastructures to deliver authoritative data. This is required to deliver geospatial data infrastructures to understand what happens “where” with an organisation’s data. This allows public sector to make informed decisions based on smarter data, when setting regulations, collecting taxes and providing public services.

1Spatial provide data intelligence and insights enabling organisations to make smarter evidence-based decisions. Discussions at the 3rd International Workshop on Spatial Data Quality were vital to help with our research and industry insight to provide solutions to allow NMA’s to consume data from third party data suppliers or task surveyors to capture new data all without their authoritative data or data maturity to be compromised. All of this will help 1Spatial to achieve its vision of enabling a smarter, safer and more sustainable world for everyone.

We would like to thank Eurogeographics for inviting us to be part of this excellent event and to thank each of the speakers for their useful and insightful sessions.

I look forward to continuing the conversation at future events. To find out more about how we help organisations unlock the value of data, register to join us at our Smarter Data, Smarter World Conference on 10th November in London.


Crompvoets, J., Wouters, S., Chantillon, M., Kopczewski, D., Cory, M., Agius, C., Grimmelikhuijsen, S. (2019) Authoritative Data in a European Context EuroSDR.

Written by Phillip Ridley, Senior Business Development Consultant at 1Spatial.