Spatial awareness

Established in 2018, the Geospatial Commission is responsible for setting the UK’s geospatial strategy and also coordinating public sector geospatial activity.  The aim of this data collation is to reveal significant economic, social and environmental opportunities offered by location data and to boost the UK’s global geospatial standing and expertise.

The Commission’s aim is to make a difference by working with a variety of partners. The organisation provides a strategic overview of the geospatial ecosystem in the UK, setting geospatial strategy, policy and standards. It holds the budget for the public sector’s largest investment in geospatial data. It also makes select investments in data projects, that will accelerate the innovation and adoption of geospatial data applications.

Working together

To carry out these roles, it works with a variety of partners. The commission has a core of six partners, known as the Geo6. These are the Coal Authority, HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the UK Hydrographic Office and the Valuation Office Agency. All these partners have a part to play in the delivery of the UK’s geospatial strategy, through a combination of the data they themselves gather and hold, and their expertise in various different aspects of the UK’s geographical and geological make-up.

The main objectives of the commission and its partners are to encourage economic growth and improve social and environmental aspects of living in the UK. This includes setting cross-cutting geospatial strategy, policy and data standards; promoting competition for geospatial data, products and services; and improving access, usability and quality of the data collated. It also aims to improve the capability, skills and resources of those gathering data, to support the growth of new and existing geospatial businesses and improve public services.

Future visions

Published in June 2020, the UK’s Geospatial Strategy has set out that by 2025 the UK will have a coherent national location data framework. Using the reasoning ‘You can’t use an old map to explore a new world’, the strategy sets out a programme of activity to achieve the creation of ‘new maps’ across four key areas. Firstly, it will promote and safeguard the use of location data, to provide a view of the market value of location data, set clear guidelines on data access, privacy, ethics and security, and promote best use of location data. It will also improve access to better location data, to streamline, test and scale the development of new and existing location data. This will ensure the data is easy to locate, access, reuse and is of the highest accuracy.

Another aspect of the five-year strategy is to ensure that it will enhance skills, capabilities and awareness, to develop more people with the right skills and tools to work with location data. This will hopefully take place across a range of organisations and sectors, to meet the UK’s future needs and contribute to global development. It also aims to enable and encourage innovation, to maximise the commercial opportunities and promote the adoption of high-value emerging location technologies. The Geospatial Commission’s Charter, outlines how it will do this.

The Geospatial Commission has identified a number of areas where location data can be used effectively. This includes planning and implementation in relation to infrastructure, transport, housing and local planning, the environment, public health, emergency response, our Ocean economy, retail and finance.

As the Commission builds its geospatial data it will be able to introduce more, far-reaching and innovative uses of the data, that will allow for even more detailed models and planning to shape the environments and living spaces of the future.

At Powers we collect a great deal of geospatial data in the course of carrying out surveys and other geographical studies. This data can reveal a lot about landscapes, populations and infrastructure. Contact us to find out how we can assist your next project.