UK calls for input on geospatial data and technologies

UK calls for input on geospatial data and technologies

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By Nick Flaherty

The UK government is running a consultation on opening up geospatial data and technologies from AI and digital twins to drones, sensors and quantum technologies.

Improving access to location data from satellites and smart devices gives organisations across the economy the opportunity to be more productive and innovative, it says. Developments in technology such as cloud computing, AI and machine learning also help to drive this.

Critical national infrastructure relies on geospatial intelligence to operate and remain secure. Across the public sector, geospatial data is providing the vital insights needed to respond to live and critical incidents, and informing long term policies particularly around sustainability says Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Lords Minister at the UK Cabinet Office.

“I encourage stakeholders from all sectors to share views on challenges and opportunities as we continue to drive innovation with location data in the UK,” she said.

In traditional sectors like transport, location data is driving efficiency in the movement of freight and establishing new markets in location enabled technology such as drone deliveries.

In June 2020, the government published an ambitious five year strategy to open up location data and the Geospatial Commission is looking at areas where this can be boosted.

These areas are all key technology areas for European companies:

  • Artificial intelligence/Machine learning
  • Automation and robotics
  • Digital twins
  • Visualisation and immersive tech (AR/VR/MR)
  • Internet of Things
  • Satellite and airborne remote sensing (including earth observation)
  • Cloud computing
  • Miniaturisation of new sensors
  • Quantum computing
  • Edge computing
  • Geo-Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Crowd-sourced data

In the first years of the strategy the Geospatial Commission says it has ‘progressed delivery’ of the National Underground Asset Register to with a new digital map of underground pipes and cables, and funded the delivery of seven innovative, commercial applications of transport location data.

It has also released the Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Numbers (USRN) free of charge, under open government licence. UPRNs and USRNs are critical identifiers that support data linking for housing, planning, infrastructure and construction data in particular.

The Call for Evidence is the next step in setting priorities for geospatial technologies in the coming years.

Respond by using the online form or emailing 

The full questions are at


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