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At 1Spatial we like to create a buzz. Whether it’s through our products, our solutions, or our people, we’re always striving to be innovative and find that sweet spot to unlock the value of data.

At Smarter Data Smarter World 2021 (SDSW), 1Spatial’s annual flagship event, the buzz was around our new metaphor for data. As we work to make the world more sustainable, safer, and smarter for the future, we’ve taken our inspiration from nature. So, if I told you that, according to the Soil Association, insect pollination is worth £690 million to UK crops each year, you can see why I urged participants to be more bee!

Data is the new oil – we’ve all heard the headline-grabbing expression. But what if our approach to data is more akin to the Gold Rush of the 1800s? What if, just like the prospectors converging on California, our 21st century data rush risks a huge scramble to acquire and hoard information?

How we can make data more sustainable

Just like gold, around 90% of data is stored in the hope that it may be worth more in the future. Isn’t it ironic then that, whilst we know data is key to the solution to many of the world's problems, data centres currently use 1% of global energy and emit more CO2 than the entire airline industry?

With the prediction that this is likely to increase fivefold by 2030, the solution is truly in danger of becoming part of the problem, and the implications for sustainability are serious. We need a new approach to data – a three-pronged approach to unlocking our data ecosystems. For us, this means a new ecosystem where we share, reuse, and not just recycle, but upcycle our existing data to achieve sustainability through collaboration and innovation.

We need to think about treating data assets with respect and handling them in a responsible way. We need to stop capturing unnecessary data when it probably exists in multiple places already. We need to stop storing old data just in case.

Watch all the presentations from SDSW here

Embracing the power of data sharing and collaboration

Instead, let's make it usable for today's society. To do this, we need to collaborate as an industry – we need the collaboration revolution, and we need to further embrace a culture of innovation.

So, let’s look to the bees, the most collaborative beings on the planet. And, if we look to the bees, then data must be the new honey. It's pure, it's high quality, it's consistent and it’s potentially worth billions of pounds to the UK economy.

In the UK, we’re fortunate to have the Geospatial Commission driving many initiatives that unlock the value of data. Take for example, the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) the estimated total monetised benefit of which is £3.4 billion. 1Spatial is leading the NUAR Data Transformation and Ingestion workstream, and working with partners, in this case Atkins and Ordnance Survey. Working with partners has been a common theme in our contract wins over the last year,

Together with Ordnance Survey, we’re also producing a digital map to underpin net zero for the Energy Networks Association, and we’re also collaborating with Northern Gas Networks and Esri UK on their ArcGIS Utility Network model to create the digital twin of their network for the transformation to net zero.

So, it is only as a community bringing together our skills that we can address challenges such as nationwide data sharing initiatives, legislation driven by regulators, and of course the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we need to do this through an ecosystem.

Innovation in data collaboration

We are in a privileged position as a company who create working software and solutions, with such a global reach. Collaboration and problem solving goes across borders, in the private and public sector, as do our customers. This is one of the reasons behind our SDSW each year, to provide a platform to let our customers show off, share and collaborate.

At last year’s SDSW conference, we discussed the opportunities for data sharing that would be opened up through 1Integrate and 1Data Gateway, our patented, no-code rules engine and self-service portal which automate data validation and processing. We’re now realising this potential in a number of global projects.

From the United States, where it is used to integrate and share data for 911 emergency services in Arizona, Minnesota, and Georgia, to Google real estate, where workplace services are using it in their supply chain to take in and validate data for CAD and facilities management data. Its capabilities in integrated data from multiple sources is seen in the state of Michigan which is creating a platform for integrated data from more than 300 cities and counties, and in England and Wales where HM Land Registry is creating a single register of digital local land charges using data from over 300 local authorities.

Data ecosystems and net zero goals

The 1Spatial Platform is an integrated data system - an ecosystem where existing data can be shared, integrated, managed, and analysed to save significant time and money. In part two of this blog, we’ll be exploring our customers’ stories of unlocking their data ecosystem to achieve sustainability and net zero goals.

By continuing to collaborate, listening to users’ challenges, and understanding their detailed requirements, as well as the industry drivers, we will continue to build new innovative solutions. In doing so, we’ll continue our mission to create a safer, smarter, and more sustainable world, not just for today but also for tomorrow.

Find out how 1Integrate can help you

1Integrate brings the power of our patented rules engine to your location data, delivering automated data validation, cleaning, transformation and enhancement. It gives you confidence in your data by assessing its quality, ensuring it meets defined specifications and is fit for purpose.

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