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Geospatial plan points to new data licences

02/05/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Geospatial Commission has set out to develop a new set of licences for some of the prime sources of geospatial data.

Aerial shot of countryside

It has pointed to the effort in its newly published annual plan, which also includes plans to support the growth of the market in relevant products and services.

Key elements of the plan reflect the view that there is a need for a change in the licensing arrangement around the use geospatial data. It points to work to replace the Public Sector Mapping Agreement by April of next year – subject to commercial negotiations – and to run a procurement to replace the Aerial Photography Great Britain contract.

Other steps include working with Royal Mail to improve the PAF Public Sector Licence, and developing similar public sector-wide arrangements with other key data providers to give public sector bodies access to relevant datasets. It is aiming to have the new agreements in place by April 2020.

This amounts to a progression of the move, announced last week, in which the commission and its partner bodies announced a new single Data Exploration Licence for geospatial from a range of public sector sources.

It also follows indications last year of a plan to place elements of Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap under the Open Government Licence, with remaining data freely available up to a threshold of transactions.

Other initiatives include the commissioning of a review with consultancy Public on future technologies and their value to geospatial data. This will map out the investment landscape and is scheduled for publication later in the year.

Supporting technology

It reflects an effort by the commission to support the development of new technologies. It says an early step is to look at how it can drive investment and commercial activity, improve its understanding of how businesses use or (do not use) geospatial data, and help innovators access the skills to make the most of emerging technologies.

It is also working with the Geovation accelerator programme – run by Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry – and Registers of Scotland to set up a new innovation hub in Edinburgh.

Writing in the plan’s foreword, Geospatial Commission chair says: “This work builds on the evidence gathering and initial investments we have made so far, and surfaces some of the fundamental questions we need to begin to answer in order to ensure we are effective.”

Image by Kkairri, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

Paragraph on plans for MasterMap amended on 3/5/19 to reflect the fact it was a plan

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