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UK Cabinet Office publishes guide for critical infra

UK: The reliance of UK emergency services and energy and infrastructure providers on accurate geographic information (GI) by the Ordnance Survey, to protect the country, affects all citizens in the country. A new guide to improving the resilience of critical infrastructure and essential services, published by the Cabinet Office, highlighted the role which accurate mapping data plays in improving the resilience of the UK’s critical infrastructure to disruption from natural hazards. The report follows the recent Cabinet Office consultation – Keeping the Country Running: Natural Hazards and Infrastructure. The full version of the guide is available at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/infrastructure-resilience.

The guide shares best practice and advice to enable and encourage infrastructure owners, regulators, emergency responders and government to work together to continuously improve the resilience of the UK. The guide encourages the ‘responder’ community to adopt the use of digital mapping and GIS mapping systems as an effective tool in contingency planning. Responders are being encouraged to map dependencies to enable more joined up planning and to improve the sharing of critical information. These dependencies include key buildings, water supplies and electricity and gas transmission networks.

Over the last eighteen months Ordnance Survey has supported a number of civil contingency planning exercises showing how vital GI can be in emergency situations. These include Exercise Watermark, which was the largest ever flood defence exercise held in the UK. The contingency planning involved over 10,000 people, ten government departments as well as emergency services, utility companies and local authorities. It was led by the Environment Agency and Defra and occurred over four days in March 2011. Ordnance Survey supported Defra, and other agencies involved in the exercise, looking at the use of GI as a common situational awareness platform.

Marc Hobell, Head of Public Sector, Energy & Infrastructure, commented that the GI can provide a common platform on which to make strategic decisions, from a regional or national level down to the impact on individual properties. According to him, it can feed into all stages of the process: prevention, protection, response and recovery, and can improve the quality and timeliness of decision-making, providing a single view of complex information, helping to reduce duplication and cut costs.

Source: Ordnance Survey