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Geospatial Commission outlines seven steps to value from location data

04/08/22

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Thalia Baldwin
Image source: GOV.UK - Thalia Baldwin

The Geospatial Commission has set out a seven-step framework for the public sector to get more value from its location data.

It is part of a newly published guidance document, applying principles within HM Treasury’s Green Book on appraising policies and programmes, and designed to support the consistent and coherent evaluation of proposals for investment in the data.

The first five of the seven steps involve the development of a conceptual theory of change and are to: articulate a rationale and strategic fit of investment; classify the type of investment; set out how it will affect data characteristics; identify data uses or applications; and identify potential benefits.

The final two relate to quantification and monetisation of the benefits and involve prioritising high impact benefits for further in-depth analysis, then assessing these when associated with known and unknown users.

The document also identifies difficulties in describing the value of location data, notably that it is often realised only when combined with other dataset, that it varies depending on the intended use, and it can be difficult to foresee.

It says these factors create the need for a more tailored approach than general frameworks for valuing government interventions.

Case studies

The guidance was developed in conjunction with consultancy Frontier Economics, with contributions from a wide range of location data users and suppliers. It includes four case studies where the framework has been applied to past investments, acting as a helpful reference and learning tool for users.

Thalia Baldwin, commissioner of the Geospatial Commission said: “Linking data to location improves analysis, decisions and outcomes. It is vital that the public sector invests to maintain our strategic national geospatial assets.

“Our guidance will support organisations to make a coherent and persuasive case for improved geospatial data.”

The document adds that the Geospatial Commission hopes the approach will also be of benefit to the private sector.

It also follows recent publications from the organisation on a code of practice to ensure the data is findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable, and on its ethical use.

 

 

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