Data accreditation (ISO19158)

Quality sits at the heart of Ordnance Survey’s brand and operations. ISO accreditation provides the formal recognition of operating according to international standards.

We held the ISO 9000 series accreditation for four years, and while it identified where operations and processes were under-performing, it wasn’t economically viable. So in the early 2000s we decided not to renew it.

Similarly, a review concluded there would be little benefit to have EFQM accreditation.

These quality systems were too generic for Ordnance Survey’s business and weren’t geared specifically enough towards geographic data production and management systems.

ISO 19158 has delivered approximately 33% savings to our total quality cost.

— OS International
As a result, Ordnance Survey worked extensively with the British Standards Institute (BSI), the ISO themselves, and several other international private and public sector organisations around the world to get international support for the concept of a new standard specifically geared towards geographic data collection and management.

OS was subsequently nominated as the Official Author of: ISO19158 Geographic Information – Quality Assurance of Data Supply which was produced in collaboration with international partners, under the umbrella of the ISO.

Published in November 2013, it focuses specifically on geographic data production supply chains and is significantly more valuable and relevant to our operations than the more generic quality standards. We now use this specification in conjunction with ISO19157: Geographic Information Data.

Delivering quality data

Our application of ISO19158 is fundamental to our Quality Management System (QMS) term ‘Accreditation’. Through this, we know that our suppliers, both external and internal, are capable of delivering data to the required quality.

‘Quality’ in this case refers to:

  • Ensuring quality is built at source – that is, throughout the production process, wherever and whenever data or meta data is created.
  • Consistently producing data and products which meet the Acceptable Quality Levels (AQLs) contained in our comprehensive product and service specifications.
  • Avoiding errors and the expenses they incur.
  • Speeding up data delivery and reducing production and supply costs.

We’ve re-engineered 25 core operating processes using ‘Lean’ principles [...] As a result, we’ve seen production increase by over 55%.

— OS International
The new standard was embedded across our end-to-end supply chain including third party data providers, ensuring consistency of data quality from capture to customer. ISO 19158 has delivered approximately 33% savings to our total quality cost.

We’ve re-engineered 25 core operating processes using ‘Lean’ principles, a business approach which reduces ‘waste’ in information and data supply chains and improves efficiency. As a result, we’ve seen production increase by over 55%.

OS maintains an accreditation process to make sure that emphasis on quality is ‘built in’ at the point of production rather than simply ‘bolted-on’ to a product or service at the end of the production process.

The accreditation process means that:

  • The Acceptable Quality Levels (AQLs) required for Ordnance Survey’s products and services are clearly defined and published.
  • Processes are designed and improved so that the required standards are consistently delivered every time.
  • Our Quality Assurance Team operates a robust ‘checking’ regime.
  • Training and development is provided to internal and supplier’s staff so they’re well equipped to operate the service or process correctly and consistently.
  • Auditing and sampling is routinely carried out so that standards are maintained.
  • Continuous feedback is provided to improve the process.

We can help you

Find out how we can help your organisation to improve its processes by contacting us at:
Email: internationalenquiries@os.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 3456 05 05 05