aerial view of roads and city lights

Photo by Dennis Kummer on Unsplash

R&D: Geospatial data and technology

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Exploring how the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure is evolving to help unlock its value

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Developing prototypes and guidance to unlock the value of geospatial data in the UK

Geospatial data is data about a place. It might be data about a specific building, or a natural feature like a river, or a broader location like a city or county. We are all familiar with maps, which are a visualisation of geospatial data. But that same data can be used in many different ways. It can help us to calculate efficient transport routes, support planning of homes and businesses or identify areas of flooding risk.

There are increasing volumes of geospatial data and recent technical advances are providing new ways to access and use that data.

The rapid innovation in the geospatial sector creates opportunities for UK businesses and the public sector to use the technology and data to create new products and services, but there is also a risk that these opportunities are not fully recognised or utilised.

Open geospatial data and technology: why is it important?

The importance of geospatial data in different sectors means that it is essential that the UK has both a strong open geospatial data infrastructure and the capacity to use it to its full potential.

Open data and open source tools can ensure that organisations of all sizes can gain the benefits of using geospatial data.

Our approach

This project explores how geospatial data infrastructure is evolving and is developing prototypes and guidance to ensure that the value of that infrastructure is being fully unlocked.

Photo by Dennis Kummer on Unsplash

Key outputs

Multinational organisations are collaborating in the open to build an openly licensed map of the world: OpenStreetMap. Read more about how Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are contributing

As part of our innovation programme, find out about how we’re working on mapping out geospatial data infrastructure in the UK

This report summarises our research exploring the challenges facing the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure, and the opportunities to support the use of openly licensed geospatial data. Read the report here.

Background and funding

This work is part of a three-year innovation programme, running to March 2020 with a funding profile of £2m each year from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The work will enable the UK to build on its established strengths in data and data analytics, break new ground in creating value from data across industry, and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of data innovation globally.