The Geospatial Commission is planning a £1.5 million project for the development of a digital map of the Midlands.
It will be built in a partnership with the Midlands Engine – a coalition of public sector bodies and businesses for the region – providing location data on infrastructure, local services, housing and other developments.
An announcement from HM Treasury said that bringing the information together should provide for informed decisions around health, education, housing, trade and tourism, and boost the local economy.
It highlighted the possibility of land earmarked for housebuilding being identified by other sectors as an opportunity to invest in developing nearby public assets, such as a school or office complex, as well as installing next generation technologies, such as 5G connectivity.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick said: “By opening up this valuable data to both investors and developers we will create greater opportunities across the Midlands in vital areas like housebuilding.
“Through the harnessing of this data, we are encouraging both public and private sectors to work in smarter, more joined up ways that will create jobs, boost productivity and grow the economy here in Derby and across the Midlands.”
The work is part of the Government’s drive to maximise the value of data linked to locations, which it estimates could generate £11 billion a year. The work is led by the Geospatial Commission.
Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace said: “This will fund an invaluable one-stop digital map for local authorities that will allow them to work much faster and more efficiently.
“At the Midlands Engine we have committed to supporting the build of 600,000 new homes in the next 15 years. This is an ambitious target and the tool will support local authorities by giving them the information that they need to identify suitable development sites and work in a more joined up way.
“The mapping tool will also allow faster and more informed decisions with ready access to maps of utilities, surgeries and educational establishments.”
Image from Environment Agency CC BY 2.0
This article was amended on 12 November on receving a clarification on the funding arrangements