Director General and Chief Executive
Ordnance Survey, uk
The UK government has just announced plans for the formation of a single national infrastructure to store and maintain spatial address information. The aim is to provide a consistent national database that will be maintained through a partnership approach and a collaborative framework of address and property identifiers
The UK government has just announced plans for the formation of a single national infrastructure to store and maintain spatial address information. The aim is to provide a consistent national database that will be maintained through a partnership approach and a collaborative framework of address and property identifiers. The National Spatial Address Infrastructure (NSAI) will support a wide range of services delivered by central and local government and the private sector. In government for example, it will improve the address base for the processing of benefits claims, the management and collection of local taxation and the next population census, as well as supporting the delivery of services such as police, fire and social care. NSAI represents the integration of previously disconnected databases from different organisations into a unified national database built on collaborative processes. It will be developed and operated by Ordnance Survey in partnership with local and central government.
The NSAI announcement was made just a few weeks after the inaugural meeting of a geographic information panel comprising representatives of both government and industry bodies. Its terms of reference include the provision of high-level advice to Ministers and the wider promotion of more effective use and management of geographic information.
The GeoInformation panel has identified the development of a GI strategy for the UK as one of its first priorities. Clearly, forming a new committee does not of itself achieve an improved SDI, but any coherent national development certainly requires senior-level vision and leadership.
Proof of the popularity of GI in government has been shown in recent figures showing the take-up of Ordnance Survey digital data under a pan-governmental agreement. Over the past three years, the agreement has increased the number of central government organisations using GI in Britain from 40 to 215. They include major departments at the heart of policy making such as the Home Office, the Department for Transport, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Education and Skills. By making reference data available to government on a unified basis, data sharing has been facilitated and GI is now being more widely used as a strategic tool for both policymaking and public service delivery.