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Dan Schirren
Region Director Asia Pacific, Ordnance Survey

How you can become a digital superpower with geospatial data

Geospatial data underpins much of the technology and digital services that power nations’ digital economies.

Data has been described as a driver of growth and change in the 21st century, much like oil was in the 20th century. With McKinsey projecting that the global data economy will generate $13 trillion globally in new economic activity by 2030, many countries are seeing data and digital services as an important avenue for future growth.

Geospatial is considered a special category of data because of its ability to link other data sets together through their shared spatial and temporal components.

Find out how geospatial data can fuel your nation’s data economy - download our latest See Your Nation's Potential Report.

Geospatial data at the core of digital growth

Geospatial data underpins much of the technology and digital services that power nations’ digital economies. It's a core component of what some people call the fourth industrial revolution, providing the digital information that fuels some of the biggest economic success stories of the last decade, including on-demand ride-hailing apps and delivery services like Grab, Gojek, Uber and Deliveroo. Looking to the future, geospatial data is a key enabler of emerging technologies, allowing delivery drones to reach their targets and underpinning the roll-out of self-driving cars.

Drone flying in sky at sunset
Emerging technologies such as delivery drones would use geospatial data to reach specific targets

The UK is a major player in the world’s data economy, coming in second to only the USA when ranking countries according to sophistication of data production, or “gross data product”, according to Harvard Business Review. As Britain’s mapping agency, Ordnance Survey is a key player in the nation’s growing data economy.

Our authoritative geospatial data products are available for free to the public sector under our Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA), and in 2020, in partnership with the Geospatial Commission, we opened more of this data than ever before to commercial enterprises free at the point of use. This extra provision will provide a £130 million per year boost to the UK economy, according to the Geospatial Commission, who project that geospatial data could unlock an extra £11 billion worth of economic growth in the private sector per year.

Ordnance Survey has been helping to grow geospatial start-ups into viable businesses through our incubator, Geovation, for over a decade. Geovation supports a community of more than 1,500 entrepreneurs, investors, developers, academics, students and corporate innovators.

Self-driving cars built on geospatial data

Self-driving cars are expected to be a major driver of economic growth in the data economy over the next decade. To facilitate their adoption, Ordnance Survey is using its geospatial expertise to help establish the digital infrastructure that will support their operation. As part of this, we’re helping to build common data standards for the exchange of location data between vehicles and connected infrastructure with our participation in the E-CAVE project, an Industrial Strategy Challenge Funded (ISCF) research and development project. We're also a partner body of the OmniCAV consortium, which will enable testing of autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure in a virtual environment.

Digital twin models enable better planning

Ordnance Survey works with government agencies internationally to carry out geospatial maturity assessments and build bespoke geospatial data solutions to address countries’ data needs. For example, in Singapore, we worked with the Government Technology Agency to build a 3D model of the city. The team identified suitable data capture tools and created a multi-staged process to capture and process data to a very high standard, in a dense, mid-rise urban area with complex building shapes as well as a significant transport infrastructure.

This digital twin of the city allows for more detailed planning – GovTech can better support innovation in clean energy, eMobility and autonomous vehicles by improving decision making on, for example, where to place solar panels calculating how much sunlight particular faces of buildings receive. The 3D model allows for sophisticated simulations of how the city’s infrastructure works with technological developments, as it has rich semantic data covering everything from traffic information, building use to construction materials, to population data and environmental conditions.

Find out how your country can create digital growth

Discover how geospatial data can help make your country a digital superpower:
Download our report on seeing your nation's potential, and take a free online geospatial maturity assessment.

Dan Schirren
By Dan Schirren
Region Director Asia Pacific, Ordnance Survey

Dan works in the Ordnance Survey Geospatial Solutions team as Region Director of Asia Pacific.