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Open geospatial data can trigger SME growth exponentially, says report

Open access to geospatial data not only drives economic growth, but also facilitates more inclusive citizen engagement, and support new ideas in innovation and science. Many businesses and not-for-profit organizations are employing open data to create new or improved products and services.

The data if used from official sources can be a great opportunity to boost SME productivity and gain competitive advantage says a report ‘Open geospatial data from official sources is an opportunity to boost SME productivity and competitive advantage’ by OpenELS.

Interestingly SMEs constitute 99% of European businesses and the EU cannot succeed in the transition to the data economy without the participation of SMEs in the digital transformation. In such situation centralizing access to official national geospatial and land information from Europe would enable SMEs to be more competitive by cutting costs and boosting their ability to scale up and enter new markets, says the report.

It was also found that SMEs have a strong appetite for more cross-border authoritative data which could help them improve their product and service offerings, save money and become more competitive.

Throwing more light on this, the research carried out by Deloitte and EuroGeographics, the international not-for-profit membership organization for European National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities (NMCAs), found “The majority of SMEs participating in the study already use official map or cadastral information and said it was important that it was harmonised across national borders. There is strong demand for cross-border, edge-matched interoperable data, however, SMEs currently face challenges in using and accessing authoritative information, including lack of resources for dealing with multiple NCMAs as well as costs for data cleaning.”

Further to this Mick Cory, Secretary General and Executive Director, EuroGeographics says, “Open geospatial data from official sources not only helps to overcome these issues but also provides a first step in realising the benefits of authoritative information. To demonstrate its potential, we are developing a single point of access to a number of European open data services. The Open ELS Project will offer the opportunity to try harmonised open geospatial information from official national sources and aims to provide certainty about what is free, charged for and under what terms and conditions.”

Also Read: Geospatial data analytics: The way forward in analytics

Key findings of the report

As part of the Open ELS Project, EuroGeographics contacted 26 SMEs from across Europe. The findings were included in a Deloitte report on the Socio-Economic Impact of Open ELS.

  • Respondents operated in a number of sectors, including: Energy and Infrastructure; Emergency Services; Transport; Real Estate; Finance and Insurance; and Environmental Services.
  • Almost all served customers in more than one European Country, with around one third serving more than five.
  • There was overwhelming interest in free cross-border services, in particular administrative units and areas, cadastral parcels and addresses delivered through a web service or API.
  • The survey highlighted four potential benefits: The possibility to improve existing products and services offering; the possibility to develop new products and services; The reduced time and costs of dealing with different national mapping and cadastral agencies; and the reduced time and costs for acquiring/accessing data.

Also Read: Geospatial data fuel for the digital economy