Response to Call for Evidence by Geospatial Commission

The AGI welcomed the establishment of the Geospatial Commission and the opportunity to submit a response to its Call for Evidence on a National Geospatial Strategy. Today, the AGI is publishing an open Response to the Geospatial Commission’s Call for Evidence on a National Geospatial Strategy. Copies of the Response were also submitted directly to No 10 Downing Street, during a breakfast meeting for Geospatial Leaders.

Since the Call was announced, we have been gathering insights from AGI members in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our response and recommendations are an aggregation of their informed, evidence-based inputs: our members have highlighted the need for a wider remit for the Geospatial Commission – and have put the spotlight firmly on the importance of work in Skills, Access, and Standards.

  • On skills: our members want to see work starting earlier in the curriculum, expanding beyond the bounds of  traditional geography, so that geospatial skills appear in the toolkit of every digital professional;
  • On access: our members do not focus on price alone: they want to see clearer, improved licensing; greater interoperability; better discoverability and more two-way support;
  • And on Standards: our members have strong opinions about not just technical standards but also about the need to align with well-established international policy frameworks – rather than re-inventing the wheel.

It is our understanding that the Commission wants to ensure the UK is well-equipped for the long-term, so that it may capitalise on opportunities presented by the geospatial data at its disposal. The Commission states that it wants to champion, and help realise, the derivation of maximum social and economic value from that data by driving insight, innovation and investment in geospatial capabilities and technologies across both the public and private sectors. The AGI shares and supports this ambition, and our members are ready to support the Commission to shape the UK’s first National Geospatial Strategy.

Abigail Page, Chair, AGI: “This Response to the Call for Evidence is a landmark piece of activity by our members. Coming together in roundtables and workshops across Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, they have emphasised that our community is keen to contribute its knowledge and experience in support of the Commission’s work – and it has a vested interest in helping to shape a National Geospatial Strategy for the future. The focus is definitely on skills, access, and standards, but I cannot stress how impressive it is has been to see such a wide cross-section of our community taking part. We are grateful to all of the individuals – representatives from the public, private and third sector – who’ve taken the time to give us their informed views and evidence, to help us deliver this aggregated response.”

The AGI’s response to the Call for Evidence includes a set of 23 concise recommendations, made on the membership community’s behalf.

Abigail continues, “In particular, the detailed contributions and insights from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland demonstrate the importance of the Commission’s work, shaping a strategy that works for everyone. I was delighted to present copies of our aggregated members’ views to Number 10, Downing Street in person this morning – and we look forward to supporting and working with the Geospatial Commission on into 2019 and beyond.””

The Response to the Call for Evidence and the following recommendations were approved by the Council of the Association for Geographic Information following active consultation with our members.

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About the Association for Geographic Information

The AGI represent the interests of the UK’s Geographic Information industry; a wide-ranging group of organisations, suppliers of geographic information / geospatial software, hardware, data and services, consultants, academics and interested individuals.

By way of its unique membership, the AGI brings together members of this community to share ideas on best practice, experience and innovation, and offers access to unparalleled networking opportunities with significant business benefits.

The AGI also facilitates exposure outside of this community, to challenges and opportunities which are being or need to be met, and which benefit from a collaborative focus. As such the AGI acts on behalf of the community as whole. Since its formal inception in 1989, the AGI has built up a significant membership and established itself as the respected voice in geospatial. The AGI is the membership body for everyone with an interest or involvement with geospatial, and GeoCom is ‘the members’ event that’s open to all’.


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