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Scotland gets Spatial Hub for council data

06/07/16

Improvement Service sets up portal for single local government spatial dataset

All of Scotland’s local authority data will soon be available to the public through a single point of access.

Scotland_mapThat’s in the shape of the Spatial Hub, which is starting to collate all the data of all 32 local authorities in the country thanks to an initiative by the Improvement Service, the organisation tasked with helping local government and aid community planning north of the border.

The service’s Spatial Information Service team has crafted the portal by taking information submitted by individual local authorities, standardising disparate formats into one and then publishing it as a complete national dataset.

“There has been a long standing requirement from many OSMA (One Scotland Mapping Agreement) members, and a broad range of external organisations, for access to Scotland-wide consistent and quality assured datasets which originate from local government,” noted one of the Spatial Information Service team, Iain McKay, in a recent blog.

Quiet beginning

The Hub was quietly rolled out last month with only 12 datasets, with more on the way, said the team.

The first 12 includes national local government information on Scottish green belt areas, local nature conversation sites, school catchments, vacant and derelict land and town centre air quality management areas.

The work should mean local authorities will not need to develop their own portals to publish data (as required under the EU-wide INSPIRE spatial data directive).

It should also, promised the Improvement Service, reduce the resources required to answer Freedom of Information requests regarding spatial data, while for the public and other organisations it will provide easy access to all Scotland’s local authority data in one, consistent format.

“The underlying principle behind the service is to access spatial data from all 32 local authorities, to work towards collating these 32 datasets whilst recognising that they may be called the same name but can contain wildly differing attribution from authority to authority, harmonising these to a common agreed standard (could be Inspire or equally something more relevant to our requirements) and then provide discovery/view/download services for all included datasets,” confirmed McKay.

Image by macroflight, CC BY-2.0 through flickr

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