Last week we published our Data Discoverability with Geo6 blog, which followed one of four data-related projects being brought together by the Geospatial Commission to maximise the benefits of geospatial data for the UK. The Data Discoverability project is all about making it easier for current and future users of geospatial information to find out exactly what UK location-based data each of the Geo6 bodies holds.
Today we are excited to announce that as a result of the Data Discoverability team’s work over the last few months, the Geo6 have published 6 catalogues (one for each organisation) listing all the data we each hold. These catalogues are published in a CSV format on data.gov.uk to ensure they are visible and accessible to anyone who needs them. The OS catalogues alone hold over 1,200 datasets from zip lines to roads! This data represents the first stage in a longer process to unlock the value of geospatial data held by the Geo6, and we are publishing this now so that you can get involved in shaping the future work we do.
We have worked hard to ensure each catalogue uses the same format to make life easier for anyone who wants to compare the data held by more than one Geo6 body. The catalogues are designed to be open about the information we hold, but some of the data listed may not be available to users because of data protection law, intellectual property rights or commercial implications.
Whilst improving the discoverability of geospatial data may sound straightforward, creating a data catalogue is not a simple task, especially with the added dimension of bringing together 6 different organisations that are at different levels of maturity in how they document and publish data assets.
The Data Discoverability project is a key part of government efforts to improve the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure. We think Deborah Yates from the Open Data Institute (ODI) put it best in our previous blog when she said that “coming together in this way is important if we are to develop a more open and trustworthy data ecosystem.”
Cara Wiles, Product Manager at HM Land Registry, said: “HM Land Registry has published a dataset inventory since 2013 containing information on all of the electronic data obtained or recorded so you’ll see two registers on data.gov.uk from us. Our Geo6 catalogue has aligned to the rest of the group and includes theming to help users match the data together. Working across the Geo6 organisations to review the data has made me think about the ways the title registrations link to location and align to the other Geo6. This has been enlightening.”
Through this project, we hope to better connect with both expert users of geospatial data and enthusiasts who are keen to develop their knowledge. These catalogues represent the first step on this journey and with your help, we hope to continue to build on them. We have already started to gather feedback and insight into users’ needs through surveys and interviews, but now we want to take this research further.
Can you help us to improve the accessibility of UK location data? If so, we want to hear from you! If you are interested in supporting this project by offering feedback, please email us. Please include information about your background, level of experience of working with geospatial data and contact details. We are looking for people with all levels of experience so everyone is welcome to get involved!
For direct links to the catalogues on data.gov.uk, please see below:
Please note, the data catalogue CSV files are hosted on the publisher’s website where possible. Gov.uk is used where the publisher does not have a website.
Previous Geo6 blogs
Ordnance Survey – Data Discoverability with Geo6
UK Hydrographic Office – Data Discoverability: Improving access to UK geospatial data
What is the Geo6?
Known as the ‘Geo6’, this refers to a collaboration between OS, British Geological Survey (BGS), Coal Authority (CA), HM Land Registry (LR), UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and the Valuation Office Agency (VoA).
What is the Geospatial Commission?
As part of the Cabinet Office, the Geospatial Commission aims to help unlock the value of geospatial data held by its six expert partner-bodies (Geo6 as above).