Public services. Image credit: Adobe Stock

Local government using open geospatial data to make a difference

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View our videos showing how four UK councils supported local open-geospatial-data projects

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As part of our geospatial data research and development project, we invited public sector organisations to propose projects that would help to develop our understanding of how to collect, publish and use open geospatial data in local government. We were particularly interested in projects that explored collaborative approaches and drew on data from across the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure, including the Ordnance Survey, OpenStreetmap and beyond.

Four local government organisations were awarded funding to support projects that use open geospatial data in the UK.

Local government projects

Falkirk Council collaborated with thinkWhere to develop a simple mapping platform to support the Fairer Falkirk strategy. The open source platform presents data from OpenStreetMap on a map that will help local community groups and citizens to find and access local services.

Bath and North East Somerset Council have been creating a more open data infrastructure that will help the council to more easily release geospatial data for use by the community. The team created a taxonomy to help identify and prioritise data for release and is working with its local open data group, Bath: Hacked, to put that data to use in ways that support the local community. The lessons learned here are relevant to other councils, and will help explore issues around data licensing that might create barriers to the release of data.

Oxfordshire County Council put together a consortia that includes the local OpenStreetMap community, Hanborough Parish Council, Oxfordshire Cycling Network and The Windrush Bike Project. They have developed a cycle route audit tool that can be used to assess local cycling routes and help inform local transport policy. The tool is open source and could be used by other groups to do similar assessments in other areas.

They also worked with Buckinghamshire Council to demonstrate the potential use of a crowdsourcing platform to collect geospatial data in an approach which can be replicated by another organisation through a process of project scaling and knowledge transfer between local authorities. This resulted in the Bucks Cycling Infrastructure Evaluation and a guide to publishing to OpenStreetMap.

Stockport Council partnered with Open Data Manchester on a project titled ‘Mapping Mobility Stockport’. Working with Age UK and Disability Stockport communities, they crowdsourced data about accessibility issues in the area, drawing on the lived experience of people with mobility impairments to supplement data already available to the council.

Buckinghamshire County Council worked on a project to explore whether the Cycle Infrastructure Evaluation, developed by Oxfordshire County Council, could be replicated in another local authority and return the same quality and quantity of crowdsourced data when compared with the original project. Buckinghamshire County Council also worked in collaboration with Sustrans and SystemeD.

Read the Bucks Cycling Infrastructure Evaluation and OpenStreetMap guide: