ScotLIS: Scotland’s land information service one year on

Guest blog by Registers of Scotland

Registers of Scotland is a non-ministerial government department that looks after registers relating to land, property and other legal matters. Two years ago Scotland’s Land Information Service (ScotLIS) was set up to transform our services and make land and property data more accessible to all.

Since then, the service has truly evolved. From early development through to launch, the ScotLIS team has very much focused on a customer-centric approach. An example of this is the initial user workshops held with a range of stakeholders, with customer collaboration continuing throughout the development lifecycle.

ScotLIS logo Read More


Registers of Scotland: What, exactly, is your land?

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. Read More


Locating Glasgow as a world-leading smart city

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. Read More


Fire and water in Scotland

As a content editor based in Southampton, it’s easy to miss what’s going on in Scotland, home of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (or OSMA.) Having recently updated the web pages for the OSMA team, I thought a round-up of news from north of the border was now due.

We recently released a new product that has some relevance to the recent ‘rainy season’ experienced in 2012. According to this Met Office article, as you may have suspected, 2012 was one of the wettest years on record, so the launch of the new OS MasterMap® Networks – Water Layer alpha release seems like an appropriate choice for understanding our changing environment in greater detail.

The thinking behind this new product came from the Scottish Detailed River Network (SDRN) project: a collaboration between Scottish Government, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water, local government in Scotland, and Ordnance Survey, tasked with delivering a highly detailed river network dataset in support of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

An alpha version of OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer dataset (covering Scotland), was released by Ordnance Survey in December 2012 and is exclusive to public sector organisations in Scotland who are members of the OSMA.

What is the OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer?

The new layer in OS MasterMap is designed for public sector organisations who are working on the challenges that our current climate brings to many communities. So, if you are a local authority looking at flood defence planning or you work for a central government organisation looking at disaster planning, this could be a product that will add real value to your digital geographic resources.

The water layer can help you plan work efficiently by providing details on rivers, watercourses, width and direction of flow, without you having to leave the office or get wet. This could be used to map your organisations assets, plan any construction, or review flood-prone areas against a digital backdrop of highly accurate geographic information.

3D fire incident maps

In contrast to the activity around water, fire services in Scotland are also benefitting from using digital map products provided through the OSMA.

Centralisation and using digital tools to improve efficiency is an ever present in many areas of the public sector. From 1 April 2013 there has been a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), and a strategic team has been appointed by Alasdair Hay, the Chief Fire Officer for the new service. Going forward, the SFRS will consist of three hubs, for East, West and North Scotland, taking a centralised approach to providing this particular emergency service.

The existing eight Fire and Rescue services in Scotland are all members of the OSMA and many have already used the products available to them through OSMA, helping them to improve the services they deliver through the use of geographic information in a digital format.

One notable example of this is from the former Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service (now a part of the SFRS) who have made use of digital maps, addressing and building height data to support their incident response plans.

OS MasterMap Topography layer provides the basis for building a quite sophisticated incident map, Details on the structural environment provides the intelligence needed for those who will be deployed to the location on the ground. OS MasterMap Topography layer provides an easy, time-saving way to create the detailed 3-D models that clarifies and helps with the management of any significant risks.

OS MasterMap Topography layer includes more than 400 million individual features, including railways and individual buildings, providing a detailed view of the urban landscape which is ideal for this work.

The image (above) gives an idea of how this information can be viewed in a 3D format, making the most of geographic and location information, to provide detailed insight and intelligence to the control room.

Scotland is clearly a place to watch in terms of the innovative use of map data in the public sector. I hope to be bringing you more examples of using geographic information to drive improvements in the public sector from this part of the world very soon.