Northern Ireland government launches online access to geographic information
The Northern Ireland government has launched online access to the region's public sector geographic information. Spatial NI, created by the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel's Land & Property Services, provides a centralised portal for Northern Ireland's public sector location data. Users can now view online detailed mapping and aerial imagery of Northern Ireland, which helps to inform the location of public services such as schools and hospitals. Spatial NI services have already been used by utility companies to share the location of their infrastructure during civil contingencies such as the recent tidal surge earlier this year. Voluntary organisations are using the data to store and share information with key stakeholders such as the Defibs4Kids project. The Northern Ireland Defibrillator Mapping group utilised Spatial NI to develop a mapping application of static and mobile defibrillators across education establishments in Northern Ireland. The maps have also been used to build a customised emergency response web mapping application for all involved in the emergency operation in March 2013 following an incidence of extremely heavy snowfall across Northern Ireland. Spatial NI provides an intuitive map maker facility and additional features for sharing and displaying maps via social media and email. It can be used by both technical and non-technical users who wish to use geographic information within their own business areas. Mapping information is free to view online, though a commercial license is required to use a number of the datasets in commercial applications.
Pictured: A snow plough at work: Spatial NI data was used to help co-ordinate response to the blizzards of 2013.
Spatial NI: www.spatialni.gov.uk
Cyber Essentials security award scheme goes live
An award scheme to allow business to show consumers that they have measures in place to help defend against common cyber threats, such as the recent GOZeuS and CryptoLocker malware attacks, went live this month. The Cyber Essentials scheme has the backing of insurers, which are offering incentives to businesses to become certified. From 1 October 2014, government will require all suppliers bidding for certain personal and sensitive information handling contracts to be Cyber Essentials certified. This will provide further protections for the information the government handles and will encourage adoption of the new scheme more widely. The scheme is a key objective of the government's National Cyber Security Strategy and is being delivered as part of the government's £860 million National Cyber Security Programme. To ensure the award is cost-effective for smaller businesses there are two levels of assurance available, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. The scheme is also available to universities, charities and the public sector, and is being backed by insurers AIG, Marsh, Swiss Re, the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) and the International Underwriting Association.
Cyber essentials scheme: www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-essentials-scheme-overview