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Geospatial Commission to produce guidance on value of location data


Mark Say Managing Editor


The Geospatial Commission is planning to publish guidance on assessing the economic, social and environmental value of location data.

Location points on 3D digital map

Assistant economist Hayden Greenfield pointed to the plan in a recent blogpost, saying the guidance should be available by spring 2022 and will be relevant to data used by government and the private sector.

“The guidance will enable a consistent understanding of the categories and characteristics of location data, helping the public and private sector to articulate the case for improving and creating location datasets,” he said.

“Finally, our guidance will influence decision making by helping authorities to prioritise investment in location data programmes, which will unlock value for consumers and the private sector.”

The move comes in response to difficulties in placing a value on location data, among them that it can only be realised when combined with other datasets, which comes with ethical and privacy considerations that may act as barriers to further use.

Another is that the value differs depending on the intended uses, traits and characteristics of the data, meaning there is no one size that fits all valuation methods. Thirdly, a lot of time and effort is needed to identify the traits and uses of a particular dataset.

Greenfield said there is a need to find a balance between the methods that best inform decision making while also being practical to carry out.

The Geospatial Commission has a broader plan to develop a national location data framework to support future technologies by 2025.

Image from iStock, Kanawatth

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