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Ordnance Survey plans for ‘data-as-a-service’



Mapping agency outlines four workstreams for phase two of its data strategy project

National mapping agency Ordnance Survey (OS) is aiming to develop a ‘data-as-a-service’ function to meet the future needs of its customers.

It has identified the ambition as one of four workstreams in phase two of its project to develop a comprehensive data strategy.

It has also begun to look for a partner to support the effort by delivering data consultancy services and helping to develop a roadmap for phase two. Phase one of the project was completed in December, defining the need for a strategy and the benefits it could deliver.

The project brief says that OS has to make use of new data sources and serve customers whose needs are changing with the development of new technology. As part of this, it is aspiring to provide data ready for services, or data-as-a-service, for customers.

Need for definitions

This leads to requirements on the partner to help define the insight that must be applied to raw sources of data to support customers, and to define the optimum service structure for data-as-a-service.

The other workstreams cover:

  • Customer use, case definition and viability, focused on a set of future use cases of OS data that need to be fleshed out.
  • A capability assessment and prioritised execution plan of agreed use cases.
  • Defining a big data information architecture.

OS is aiming to complete phase two within three months of its launch. The overall aim is to produce a step change in its data capability, covering how it takes in, processes, stores, architects, analyses and makes the data accessible.

The move follows the recruitment last year of Caroline Bellamy as OS’s first chief data officer and the establishment of a Data Office within the organisation. Talking to UKAuthority last summer, she emphasised the importance of geographic data in providing a thread that holds together a wider combination of data from new sources such as internet of things devices; and said the challenge for OS is turning it into a useful deployment for the public sector.

Its data is used by more than 4,500 public sector organisations for policy development and service delivery.

Image: Hedges data over OS MasterMap Imagery Layer, from Ordnance Survey

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