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Geospatial Commission highlights new features in data licensing

06/10/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Geospatial Commission has outlined three steps to improve the licensing of location data as part of its Data Improvement Programme.

Terms and conditions on laptop screen

It said the move has come from a series of surveys and workshops with data users and is aimed at making the data easier to license and share.

The first step is to produce plain English summaries of the licences as an introduction to the legal text. This is aimed at reducing the “licensing literacy gap” between the legal teams that review and sign the licence and the data teams that use them.

Secondly, along with its partner the British Geological Survey (BGS) it has drafted supporting guidance that includes frequently asked questions, summaries of some common licences and a checklist of things data users should consider or ask their legal teams about.

Thirdly, and yet to come, is the harmonisation of licence terms wherever possible. This is aimed at building users’ familiarity with terms and reassurance that the terms of use are broadly the same.

Work on this began with the development of the Data Exploration Licence and is still ongoing.

On a journey

Writing in a blogpost, Geraldine Wildman, data licensing and delivery lead for BGS, said: “We are on a journey, and admittedly we are not there yet. Changing something as long-standing and legally complicated as licensing takes time, but everything we have worked on so far has laid the foundations for us to continue to push at the barriers and make accessing our data simpler and quicker.

“Over the next year, we hope to roll out more harmonised licences, to keep working together and to keep striving to make things better.”

Image from iStock, anyakerbut

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