The beast from the east dominated headlines this month, with snow causing traffic issues, school closures and disruption across the country. In Cumbria, the depth of the snow and challenging terrain resulted in significant issues accessing some communities. Cumbria’s multi-agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (SCG), made up of partner agencies, secured military assistance to help access the most isolated communities, many of which had been cut off from all supplies for five days. We were asked to assist the SCG under Mapping for Emergencies (MFE).
One of our technical consultants, Kevin Topping, knows the power of geospatial in these situations only too well. Since joining OS last autumn, Kevin has been working with local resilience teams across England and Wales, showing how geospatial data can help in emergency planning. He ensures that authorities are aware of the data available under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) and how to best make use of it, including calling for extra assistance from OS under MFE.
By Katerina Harrington, Relationship Manager, OSGB
With an increased focus on house building across the country, how can we monitor the changes to the landscape of Great Britain? Government has pledged to enable the building of 300,000 new homes a year, to counteract the short fall of homes in this country. But they’ve also promised to protect the greenbelt and build more homes on brownfield land. How can we ensure our green spaces are being protected? Do we know how many homes are built on brownfield land vs greenspace or on the green belt? How can we monitor land change?
Land classification from Ordnance Survey (OS) data provides a way of monitoring the changes to the natural and built environment. Information about land cover and land use is a key part of the planning process. It’s used as a benchmark of current investments and can reveal patterns to inform regional planning. Planners may use land change patterns as part of an environmental conservation or sustainability project, or to predicted future housing requirements.
In fact, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) use OS land change information. It aids the analysis and monitoring of change in the number of homes built on the green belt, flood risk areas and previously developed land (brownfield).
Guest blog by Gary Randle, UK Sales Manager, Cadcorp
If you work in government and want to maximise the benefit of geographic information systems (GIS) and web mapping, becoming familiar with Ordnance Survey (OS) data products is a good place to start. What OS products do we have? How do we best load and manage these products? How can these products complement our own business data? For this reason, at Cadcorp, we’ve been running free onsite Ordnance Survey Data Management Workshops for central government. The workshops are designed to introduce OS data products and offer practical advice about using and managing the data.
When customers first get access to OS products there are a number choices to make. The workshops are designed to help equip users with the knowledge to make the right choices for their organisation. For example:
- Background mapping or business intelligence
- Data stack and scales
- Styles and colours
- Flat files or database
- Direct access or web services
For many years OS mapping has helped to define your land in law. What constitutes your land in law goes beyond your property and land ownership. It is more than just the actual earth beneath our feet within what we know to be the physical boundaries and buildings. Nowadays the registration of title to land is particularly important as it is often the most valuable asset of any individual or business.
In Scotland, the transfer of land from one owner to another has been recorded for centuries. Read this guest blog from Registers of Scotland who have been transforming this process.
Before we dive right in and tell you about the exciting digital transformation projects happening at Registers of Scotland (RoS) we should probably start with what we do here at RoS…We are the non-ministerial government department that looks after registers relating to land, property and other legal matters.
The maintenance of our property registers underpins the Scottish property market and economy. For hundreds of years we have been a largely paper-based organisation – until now! In fact we are in the midst of a radical business transformation; with the aim of offering fully digital registration and information services by 2020, which will not only improve efficiency and our carbon footprint but enable us to offer even higher levels of security and transparency concerning Scottish land and property transactions. A lynchpin in this digital transformation programme is ScotLIS, the brand new map-based land information service we launched in October.
We’ve been working with Glasgow City Council (GCC) since 2013, supporting their journey to become a world-leading smart city following funding through Innovate UK. Throughout, we’ve been demonstrating the power of location data in the technologies and decision-making needed to create a smart city. Our data, provided through the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) has played an integral role in delivering services to both citizens and business, including during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
To build a truly smart city, Glasgow needed to maximise the value of data and make it widely available. GCC identified over 1,000 datasets which it wanted to release to support innovators, SMEs and partners delivering smart solutions. Working together with GCC to make this happen not only supported Glasgow’s smart city ambitions, but also shaped how OS data has become more usable, more open and more accessible. The early work with GCC has also enabled greater data sharing to support smart city development across Great Britain.
By Iain Goodwin, OS Relationship Manager across all government sectors
At a time when there’s an appetite for making better use of data to improve services, I’ve been thinking…
If we recognise the value of the output (a map as an evidence base to underpin decision making), what can be done to improve the input (the data)?
The answer, I believe, is unique geographic keys.
Data visualisation is absolutely crucial in helping public sector organisations work smarter and underpinning policy making. It helps to make sense of population characteristics, understand the needs of communities, and target resources effectively.
Examples of individual unique keys are scattered across the public sector: Healthcare has the NHS Number. HMRC has the National Insurance Number. The DVLA links us to our vehicle registrations with a Unique Driver Licence Number. But these organisations are concerned with their own characteristics. So, how can departments ensure these unique keys describe the same people?
The answer is to link them to the unique geographic keys that describe places. And in most cases, this will be property. Unlike unique keys for citizens, there is one version of the truth for property – the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).
Sunny day? Head to the coast to enjoy the British beaches. Need to de-stress? Head to the coast and have a walk, listen to the waves crashing and smelling the sea air. Picturing your perfect holiday home? Chances are it’s on the coast. It’s safe to say that most Britons are fans of the coast and there’s a good chance that you’re aware of coastal change to some degree. Whether it’s investment in coastal defences, cliff falls or erosion impacting landowners, coastal change often hits the news.
Great Britain has tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline, which is a key resource and home to communities, businesses and infrastructure – as well as being a great place to holiday. Looking at Scotland, around 20% of the population live within 1km of the coast, that’s around 1 million people. Yet 19% of the coast is erodible or ‘soft’.
What does that mean for the coast? According to Dynamic Coast it means that thousands of assets are at risk. Within just 50m of the Scottish coast lie 34,000 buildings, of which 72% are residential properties. You also have 1,300km of roads, 100km of rail networks and 600 natural heritage sites.
The Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) is a collective agreement between OS and the government. Its licence lets public sector organisations in England and Wales access and share OS digital mapping. With the news this week that our Public Sector Mapping Agreement now has over 4,000 members, we went back through the archives to find out first member, Cambridgeshire County Council. Denis Payne at CCC tells us why they were so keen to be involved and how GI has benefited them over the last five years.
CCC became the first member of the PSMA, why do you think that was?
We signed up straight away in April 2011, for us it was a no-brainer. The PSMA is a collective agreement that covers all government, is free at the point of use, gives access to all of the OS data we need and has the scope to work with contractors, other Local Government members and Central Government/Public Sector departments as we need. I think most councils got involved pretty quickly.
Rugby is in the forefront of many fans minds at the moment with the Six Nations Championship well underway. It’s following just months after the hugely successful Rugby World Cup 2015 which was hosted by England, and an event at which we at OS can claim to have had a hand in its safe and secure running.
Events like the Rugby World Cup 2015, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking place in Great Britain, require a huge amount of contingency planning by our security services and the Government (UK and Devolved), often starting years ahead of the events themselves. Through our Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), we provide a consistent national framework of geospatial data for the public sector. The analytical capability of our data means our Government customers can combine it with their own data and integrate it into event specific products and solutions to make a real difference to their work.