Greater use of location data can unlock innovation in the property sector

New Geospatial Commission report identifies opportunities to unlock greater value across the property ecosystem through location data, technologies and services

  • New report identifies significant opportunity for the property industry to embrace emerging technologies and digital tools enabled by location data
  • Report can be a catalyst for enabling change, supporting greater growth of the PropTech sector and promoting further innovation in the public sector
  • There is a technological revolution underway in the property industry, with data enabled opportunities to change further and faster.

The Geospatial Commission has identified opportunities where improved data and use of location services and applications can unlock innovation across the property ecosystem in a new report published today (1 August).

The UK property sector is undergoing a technological revolution, rapidly adopting new data-driven digital tools. Location data, services and applications are central to this revolution and essential for a well-functioning property sector, from town planning and site identification to property management and retrofitting.

The UK property sector contributes an estimated £100 billion to the UK economy each year. Applying a spatial lens is crucial to achieve the sector’s economic, social and environmental ambitions, boosting productivity and innovation, improving our residential areas and achieving net zero commitments.

Alexandra Notay, Independent Commissioner, Geospatial Commission said:

"The property ecosystem provides the infrastructure of where we live, work and play. However, many of our interactions with the industry from planning to buying, renting and maintenance, remain stubbornly analogue.

"We can all see the transformative potential and multitude of opportunities for the property industry to embrace emerging technologies and digital tools empowered by location data; yet a truly systematic approach to innovation and technology across our diverse and siloed asset classes and property types has yet to emerge. This report can be a catalyst for enabling that change."

The report highlights some key initiatives already underway across the property sector and identifies further opportunities where location data, services and applications can drive innovation across the property life cycle, including:

  • Further digitisation of the property buying and selling process and ensuring data interoperability underpins the end-to-end process
  • Growing deployment of green technologies, like solar panels, heat pumps, insulation and energy efficiency solutions, into our homes by supporting better understanding of where they could have the greatest impact
  • Improving productivity in the industry through greater re-use of location data collected and created during design and construction to reduce costs, and support better targeting and design of retrofitting interventions

The report sets out four cross-cutting themes to support the better use of location data, service and applications, including property as a complex interconnected system and the importance of a strategic approach to data access. These themes arise from an understanding of the role of location data and services across different stages of the property lifecycle from land use and planning, design and construction, buying and selling, safety and operations to the broader themes of retrofit and regeneration.

Dan Hughes, Alpha Property Insight and Real Estate Data Foundation said:

"The property sector is at the heart of a thriving economy, our impact on the planet and a healthy society, and the effective use of data is becoming increasingly important in ensuring that it operates effectively. The world is changing rapidly and so the depth and breadth of data used by property is growing equally fast and at the heart of this is high quality and trusted location data.

"For many years, the UK has had one of the strongest property market data infrastructures which has been a key element in the UK being recognised as one of the leading global property markets. As the world evolves, it is important that the approach to data does too and so this report, and the actions identified, are very welcome to enable the property sector to meet the needs of society, the planet and the UK economy."

Lynne Nicholson, Head of Data, HM Land Registry said:

"HM Land Registry was pleased to work with the Geospatial Commission on this report which outlines the immense potential value of geospatial data for the UK economy. As one of the governmental bodies which holds significant geospatial data, HM Land Registry is committed to unlocking its value and supporting its re-use by making it more FAIR, in alignment with the UK Geospatial Strategy 2030. By sponsoring the award-winning Geovation Accelerator Programme, we are supporting the next generation of innovative Proptech start-ups using location data to revolutionise the property sector."

The report is the first deliverable from the UK Geospatial Strategy 2030 that was published in June. It supports two of the Strategy’s missions: embracing enabling technologies to accelerate geospatial innovation, and driving greater use of geospatial applications and insights across the economy.

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Geospatial Commission