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Geospatial Commission and Turing Institute develop AI land use tool

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The Geospatial Commission and the Alan Turing Institute are developing an AI tool to support decisions on land use.

The commission, which sits with the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, said the tool support local authority planners through its capacity to visualise different future scenarios

It entered a partnership with the institute in 2022 to work on the issue, which led to the development of a prototype tool, which has been tested in collaboration with Newcastle City Council.

The partners are now further developing the prototype to incorporate national satellite data and vision foundation models for improved accuracy and analysis via AI. They are also incorporating a large language model approach to make the tool more accessible for non-technical users.

The commission said the underlying model is expected to be available for public download later in the spring.

Increasing pressures

Minister for AI Viscount Camrose said: “We face growing pressures on our limited supply of land, from the need for new housing to tackling challenges like climate change and food security.   

“By harnessing innovative technologies like AI, we can support more effective long term decisions about our land and ensure we are maximising its use and so I welcome this ongoing collaboration between the Geospatial Commission and The Alan Turing Institute.”

Jean Innes, chief executive officer of The Alan Turing Institute, said: “The way we use land will be more crucial than ever in the years ahead as the UK targets economic growth and prosperity whilst ensuring we protect the environment and adapt to climate change.

“It is exciting to see the partnership between the Geospatial Commission and The Turing develop, augmenting current scenario modelling tools with new geospatial AI capability, applying satellite data and large language model technology to help more cities and regions make effective decisions about land use.”

The project is part of the Geospatial Commission’s Land Use Programme, which is exploring how spatial data and analysis can improve our understanding of how land can be better used to balance multiple demands and deliver national policy priorities.  

In May of last year it published its Finding Common Ground paper, which set out recommendations for how the UK’s data capabilities can be enhanced to support land use decision making with a more integrated understanding of urban and rural needs.

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