The editorial in our last issue must have struck a chord, for the Association for Geographic Information and the Royal Geographical Society have joined forces to fund and share the services of a senior Public Affairs Manager1 This will be good news for those who feel the social, economic and political value of geographic information needs a greater voice as Brexit negotiations get underway. It may also prove important in maintaining the UK’s commitment to Open Data, for it would no longer be bound by the PSI Directive which underpins the EU’s regulatory framework for the re-use of public sector information.
And while the British government puts its house in order following a destabilising General Election, its negotiators face opening shots from the European Commission which has demanded the right to cancel EU space programme contracts without penalty if a supplier is no longer based in a Member State. The move could scupper the UK’s chance of securing £400 million-worth of contracts to complete the Galileo constellation of navigation satellites. And, as Thomas Cheney notes in this issue, the nation could find itself frozen-out of other space programmes in which it has a major stake.
But it’s not all uncertainty. One government department to have seized the initiative in harnessing the ever-increasing sophistication of satellite remote sensing is the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Its Chief Scientific Adviser, Ian Boyd, reports in this issue on how Defra’s Earth Observations Centre of Excellence not only helps us understand how our actions affect the environment but is also key to delivering better services.
Better customer service has also been a driving requirement of Ofwat, the water industry regulator. In this issue, Bob Chell recounts how one water company has responded to the call by leveraging smarter spatial data … and saved a fortune in the process.
Last, but by no means least, our next issue will be flying the flag for those innovative British companies that will be exhibiting at this year’s INTERGEO Expo in Berlin. In the meantime, take a peek at https://youtu.be/9xf0bnw3tBE to find out what the INTERGEO organisers made of the recent GEO Business Show in London, Britain’s biggest geo industry gathering.