Roundup of Geographical Information Day 2009

This is a roundup of the presentations given at last week’s event in Birmingham focused on the importance of geographical information and systems. The event was targeted mainly at primary school teachers, though many delegates from the public sector attended.

The event which was chaired by Shona Frost from Staffordshire County Council.

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Government ensures free access to some Ordnance Survey maps

Gordon Brown, Liam Byrne and Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the Smarter Government seminar at Downing Street, 17th November 2009

Gordon Brown, Liam Byrne and Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the Smarter Government seminar at Downing Street, 17th November 2009

Photo of Smarter Government seminar by Downing Street

Some Ordnance Survey maps are to be made available to businesses and the public, as part of the Government’s drive to open up data to improve transparency.

Speaking at a seminar yesterday on Smarter Government in Downing Street, attended by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, the Prime Minister and Communities Secretary John Denham set out how the Government and Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping agency, will open up its data relating to electoral and local authority boundaries, postcode areas and mid scale mapping information.

This data would be released for free re-use, including commercially.

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Place matters

UK mapA recent discussion between a panel of experts assembled by the Government Computing magazine and ESRI highlighted that the UK needs to make the most of  its location or geographical data.

Participants, including Brian Higgs from the Observatory’s Geographical Information group, believe that organisations need to encourage the sharing of location specific data in order to improve decision making processes.

Location information is perceived as a critical element of  the contingency planning  system and can be used to understand what or who is physically at risk, and to assess social and economic value.

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