Assessment of the UKs national geospatial data published

From: Cabinet Office
Published: Wed Feb 09 2022

The Geospatial Commission delivers an assessment of the current state of the UK's public sector geospatial data.

Today the Geospatial Commission has published an assessment of the UK's geospatial data. The data is assessed against the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles.

FAIR is an internationally applied framework to structure and communicate data improvements and the report covers how FAIR is being adopted for the UK's geospatial data held by the Geospatial Commission's six Partner Bodies (British Geological Survey, Coal Authority, UK Hydrographic Office, HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey and Valuation Office Agency).

Independent Commissioner of the Geospatial Commission, Kru Desai, said:

The UK has some of the best geospatial data in the world, and we have found much to celebrate. But we have not shied away from calling out where improvement is needed to bring the greatest overall benefit for the UK. The FAIR principles need to be applied more consistently, and we need a shift in culture and capabilities if the UK is to unlock the power of location.

Geospatial data is fast becoming one of the most important tools for understanding and acting on the challenges of our modern world. Across the globe, a country's location data capability will soon be a key factor in its competitiveness and quality of life.

The government has published a National Data Strategy and a UK Geospatial Strategy with targeted interventions to unlock significant economic, social and environmental value. To deliver the benefits of these strategies, data needs to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

Our assessment has revealed that there is a wide adoption of FAIR principles to UK geospatial data and overall it is adequate for its current use. But there remain wider and systemic challenges to address, particularly where geospatial data needs to be better integrated to support emerging and future challenges.

John Kimmance, Managing Director, Ordnance Survey (OS) National Mapping Services, said:

It is so important that we continuously improve how customers find, access and use geospatial data. We are proud to be working with the Geospatial Commission to ensure that the foundations of geospatial in Britain are fit for purpose.

The Geospatial Commission will work with partners to agree a Code of Practice for the implementation of FAIR data. The new Code of Practice will embrace the diversity of the geospatial market to ensure that, for UK geospatial data, FAIR is transparently and consistently applied.

Peter Sparkes, Chief Executive, UK Hydrographic Office, said:

We welcome the report and look forward to continuing to take a leading role in ensuring common, international principles are applied to optimise the use, management and governance of our national marine geospatial data assets, in support of safe, secure and thriving oceans.

Simon Hayes, Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar, HM Land Registry, said:

We are pleased to be working with the Geospatial Commission and other Partner Bodies to ensure that FAIR principles are recognised and implemented as widely as possible across the UK geospatial sector. We are continuously refining our popular portfolio of land and property datasets in alignment with these principles, to help our customers to reuse them effectively.

Company: Cabinet Office

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