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How the UK government is transforming the way it shares geospatial data

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Data is all around us. Whether it helps us to locate, measure or determine the quality of something, good data can have a big impact on our lives. In fact, it’s played a key role in many of our day to day activities during the recent lockdown: whether we’re booking a delivery slot for our food shopping or sneakily checking Google for that quiz answer over a glass (or two) of gin! 

Data is empowering us and transforming the way we interact and lead our lives. So what work is the UK Government doing to transform our geospatial data, ensuring it is of the best quality and reaches those that need it?

Data Scientist at UKHO

‘Geo6’ Data Discoverability 2

In a previous blog, I highlighted the work of a project (‘Data Discoverability’) to unlock the potential of geospatial data across UK Government. Since then, the ‘Geo6’ - UK Hydrographic Office, Ordnance Survey, British Geological Survey, Coal Authority, HM Land Registry and the Valuation Office Agency - has delivered a number of key packages under a follow-on project titled ‘Data Discoverability 2’. These include:

  • A Geospatial Glossary depicting the key terms used across the ‘Geo6’ community. 
  • A framework for assessing the level of authoritativeness amongst our data. This considers factors such as trust and quality.
  • A Data Sharing Risk Assessment to understand what data can be released to the wider public, helping to unlock data not previously published.
  • An updated Geospatial Catalogue of all geospatial data from each of the ‘Geo6’ agencies. This gives an improved way of searching geospatial data across the ‘Geo6’.

So, what does all this mean?

Each package has contributed to the way each member of the ‘Geo6’ makes location data available to you. The packages are transforming the way we challenge our practices and governance around data to ensure it is trusted and shared in the most optimal way possible.

Buying a quality car does not necessarily result in years of trouble-free motoring! It is the servicing, care and attention that will help maintain its longevity. Data is no different and for that reason, the ‘Geo6’ continue to work together to understand how to care for our data in the best way possible. We want to ensure you as a user can trust our data and use it in new and innovative ways.

The toolkit has now been live for 2 months and it has been great to get feedback from you, our users. From the feedback, we have today, made updates to the glossary and incorporated further changes to the resources. Please feedback any comments you have to enable us to keep improving this kit. 

Data Discoverability team virtual meeting.

What next?

During this challenging time, the ‘Geo6’ community is still working as hard as ever to enhance the way it delivers its geospatial data. This year will see the emergence of two major workstreams to deliver consistent and improved metadata across the ‘Geo6’ for our geospatial data and improve the way we wish to display data to our end-users through the use of catalogues.

In parallel to this, each ‘Geo6’ agency is working towards the implementation of the packages developed through the previous ‘Data Discoverability 2’ project. 

At the UK Hydrographic Office, we are already developing and strengthening our internal processes to reflect the outcomes from the ‘Data Discoverability 2’ project. As a world leader in marine geospatial data, we understand the importance of “good” data and what it means to our customers. We are proud to work alongside the Geospatial Commission and its partners to share our knowledge and expertise to further improve our joint approach to handling geospatial data across the UK Government.

You can find the best practice guidance and tools for geospatial data managers on the Geospatial Commission website.

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