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.
When we heard from Steve Morley at the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust last year and he told us about his Kent2 Challenge, we knew we had to be involved in some way. Steve is the Property Asset Manager at the charity and had a fantastic fundraising idea, to run, cycle or walk across, or into, every kilometre grid square within the County of Kent by the end of 2016.
With over 4,000 Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) members, we see a huge range of uses for OS data in the public sector, making efficiency and cost savings. We’re also aware of a wide range of geographic information systems (GIS) being used by members to manage their geodata needs. One of our PSMA members, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, migrated to using open source GIS in 2015 and has found significant efficiencies in staff time, cost savings and an increase in the number of departments using OS data.
Why was an open source GIS solution needed?
With over 4,500 Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) members, we see a huge range of uses for OS data in the public sector, making efficiency and cost savings. One of our PSMA members, Harrow Council, recently won a prestigious MJ award ‘Innovation in Channel Shift’ for their MyHarrow website, which uses OS maps.
This month we’ve reached an important milestone as over 3000 new members have now joined the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). The latest members are all local councils, with Stourton, Tasley, Kingston and Devon & Horsington Parish Council joining the thousands of other public sector members.
We’re now three and a half years into the 10-year agreement between government and Ordnance Survey which allows public sector bodies in England and Wales to use our datasets. We’ve already seen the PSMA helping the public sector to improve service delivery in areas such as planning, transportation management, and education services making them more efficient and effective. As well as central government departments including local authorities, health organisations and ambulance trusts can all benefit. Public sector bodies in Scotland have a very similar agreement in the One Scotland Mapping Agreement.