On page 59 of this issue, Merryn Henderson makes reference to the Government’s recently-announced Geospatial Commission and voices the hope that its work will benefit all citizens.
For those wondering just what remit the new body has been given, the answer, in the words of Secretary of State, Damian Green, is that, “The UK has some of the best geospatial data in the world, much of it is held by public bodies, and the new Geospatial Commission will help Britain to turn this valuable government data into tangible benefits such as new jobs and savings.”
With members drawn from HM Land Registry, the Ordnance Survey, the British Geological Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the UK Hydrographic Office and the Coal Authority, the Commission will focus on five key deliverables:
* Improving access to, links between, and quality of their data * Making more geospatial data available for free and without restriction * Setting regulation and policy in relation to public sector geospatial data * Holding individual bodies to account for delivery against the geospatial strategy, and * Providing strategic oversight and direction across Whitehall and public bodies who operate in this area
Supported by £80 million of new funding over the next two years, it is intended that the Commission will spearhead the more productive use of geospatial data, potentially unlocking up to £11 billion of extra value for the economy every year.
For those keen to follow the pros and cons of the move, the Open Data Institute has published a handy guide1 as to what it will be looking for as the Commission sets to work. It’s well worth a look.