New Geospatial Strategy to boost UK’s standing as location technology leader

From maps to apps, the Government’s refreshed Geospatial Strategy will ensure the UK stays ahead of the curve in revolutionising location data and technologies up to 2030

  • Renewed Geospatial Strategy to expand ground-breaking location data and technologies across the UK by 2030 – boosting the economy and helping consumers
  • Earth Observation technology pilots and Land Use Analysis Taskforce to play key roles from transport planning to crisis response
  • UK to host world-leading scientists at international geospatial conference in 2024

Fresh commitments to turbocharge the UK’s location data and technologies can revolutionise public services planning and boost business, the Science and Technology Secretary unveiled yesterday (Wednesday 14 June), in a keynote speech at London Tech Week.

The UK Geospatial Strategy 2030 will unlock billions of pounds in economic benefits through harnessing technologies, such as AI, satellite imaging and real-time data to boost location-powered innovation and drive the use of location data in property, transport, utilities and beyond.

Geospatial applications and services play a vital role in everyday life, from online maps used by billions across the world to speeding up delivery for online shoppers – in turn boosting businesses and the economy.

They can also transform public sector delivery, from planning the country’s transport infrastructure to improving emergency responses such as during the pandemic – ensuring taxpayers get the best service for their money.

Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said:

"Location data and technologies power our economy and our Geospatial Strategy 2030 will ensure the UK remains an innovating world leader, by building on our successes and harnessing new opportunities from rapidly evolving technologies.

"Our new strategy will grow our economy, embed the application of geospatial data in key decisions that affect our day-to-day lives while driving the private and public sector creativity needed to cement the UK’s status as a global science and technology superpower."

The renewed strategy sets out the Geospatial Commission’s priorities for the rest of this decade, building on its landmark 2020 paper and ensuring the UK stays at the forefront of rapidly evolving technologies key to driving innovation and growing our economy.

The strategy sets out three renewed missions:

  • Embrace enabling technologies to accelerate geospatial innovation
  • Drive greater use of geospatial applications and insights across the economy
  • Build confidence in the future geospatial ecosystem

The strategy builds on the work to roll out the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) (a government-led programme creating a single, standardised data-sharing platform on the location and condition of underground pipes and cables) to the first cohort of users in North East England, Wales and London; our report on how location data can support the rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charge points; and renewing and modernising key multi million pound contracts that give the public sector access to world leading geospatial data and services.

Sir Bernard Silverman, Chair, Geospatial Commission said:

"Location-based insights have proven their enduring value again and again - during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, tracking outbreaks across the country was critical to inform public health decisions. The power of location will continue to underpin solutions to our biggest challenges including climate change, energy security and economic growth.

"Our strategy supports the drive towards the adoption of critical technologies and continued investment in UK research and development."

Growing the UK geospatial sector

The strategy sets an ambition for the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) to be fully operational across England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the end of 2025.

The Geospatial Commission will also conduct a review of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) to ensure it remains fit for purpose over the remaining seven years of the agreement. The PSGA sets out how Ordnance Survey provides world-leading location data and expertise to the public sector across England, Scotland and Wales.

Further announcements include:

  • An ambition to host an international geospatial conference in 2024
  • Publishing a report identifying the cross-cutting challenges and opportunities for location data in the health sector
  • Publishing key findings from the earth observation pilot to set out how the public sector access to earth observation data and its innovative use can be supported
  • Undertaking new research, with the Office for National Statistics and other partners, to understand the implications of geographic changes to where people work and land used for employment
  • Sharing the Geospatial Commission’s findings for the public sector to make more informed decisions about electric vehicle charge point location
  • A new Land Use Analysis Taskforce to bring together cutting edge data and scientific expertise to support land use decision making
  • Plans to work with universities to publish best practice as a first step towards embedding geospatial learning into data science and geography courses

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Geospatial Commission
Viscount Camrose