Over 500 government departments, agencies and regional offices will benefit from a new agreement extending access to Ordnance Survey’s most detailed and up to date digital mapping. The initiative will help the drive towards meeting government targets for e-delivery of services and information by 2005. The Pan-government agreement was formally launched in London by Vanessa Lawrence of Ordnance Survey and Phillip Ward of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), both of them are official government e-champions. The new three-year deal builds on the success of last year’s pilot scheme, which saw the number of civil service organizations using Ordnance Survey data raise from 54 to 144.
It has been estimated that 80% of all information collected in Britain already has a geographical identity. This agreement will help to raise the profile of geographical data as a key public sector decision-making tool. Among the innovative applications developed during last year’s pilot, Ordnance Survey mapping data has supported: the Environment Agency’s work in flood defence, pollution prevention and water quality improvement; the MAGIC web site, developed by Defra, which enables ready access to rural information for its partners and the citizen; the Communities Plan, the evidence base for the government’s action plan for developing sustainable communities; and the delivery of the 2001 Census results and the Neighborhood Statistics Service that helps target investment into deprived neighborhoods. Because local government enjoys similar arrangements with Ordnance Survey, announcement will make it easier to share information throughout all levels of the public sector. The new agreement has been negotiated by Ordnance Survey and the Intra-governmental Group on Geographic Information (IGGI) and is supported by the Association for Geographic Information (AGI).