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Commission releases guide on publishing geospatial datasets

29/01/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Geospatial Commission and six partner bodies have published a guide to make it easier to find and classify geospatial datasets across all search engines.

Guidance document cover

Its Search Engine Optimisation for Publishers: Best Practice Guide is the second in a series, following on from the guidance on linked identifier schemes.

The commission, which sits within the Cabinet Office, said the guide has been created because most users seek out geospatial data using common search engines and at the moment these are not necessarily finding or prioritising the authoritative national datasets.

By following the tips in the guide data publishers can make their data easier to find by users who can then devote more of their time to joining it with other datasets and carrying out analysis to provide insight and support better decision making.

The guide comprises 12 steps, among which are to fill out all metadata fields on data portals, keep page titles no longer than 50-60 characters, and removing out-of-date pages.

The Scottish Government is one of the partners contributing to the guide. Its head of data standards, Shona Nicol, said: “By implementing these recommendations data publishers stand to benefit from increased visibility of their data among a wider audience, while people wanting to use geospatial data are more likely to find what they are looking for.

“For example, by using this guide the Scottish Government has already identified that its webpages are not being optimally indexed by search engines because they are not tagged using the industry standard mark-up language Schema.org. By making this change the Scottish Government will dramatically increase the chances of potential users finding its data.”

The Geospatial Commission said it is open to feedback on the guides.

Image: Guidance document cover from Geospatial Commission

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