The Geospatial Commission’s Annual Plan 2019/20 launch

It’s time for us to support preparations for a National Geospatial Strategy.

The Association for Geographic Information (AGI) Council has read, with interest, the recently published Geospatial Commission Annual Plan 2019/20. We would encourage all of our 1000+ members to review this document and engage with us about how we can best represent you in this exciting period of opportunity.

We are privileged to represent the widest cross-section of the UK’s geographic information industry. In 2018, we welcomed the creation of the Geospatial Commission and have engaged with it, our members, and the wider industry through regional and national events, seminars, webinars and meetings with the Geospatial Commission’s senior leadership team to support their early work. Following well attended workshops across the UK, in October 2018, the AGI responded comprehensively to the Commission’s Call for Evidence on behalf of our membership.

We are pleased to continue our engagement following the publication of the Commission’s Annual Plan, and we are now seeking feedback on it so that we can best represent the voice of our members.

In reviewing the content of the plan, AGI Council is greatly encouraged by:

  • being named as one of the key stakeholders in the skills debate. We have proposed several projects to help create an evidence-base for geospatial skills and the expansion of established skills development programmes;
  • the progress and investments that the Government is making in improving access to core geospatial data (Open MasterMap and planned improvement of the addressing landscape). While we welcome these investments, there is an opportunity to further this ambition via standards and increased inter-operability. The AGI Standards Group plan to pursue the develop the UK Gemini standards within this context, and have proposed a project to help achieve this;
  • interventions in the geospatial industry, for example the underground assets register pilots and the planned establishment of a geospatial innovation hub in Scotland. Again, this is an opportunity for the AGI standards community.

It is very clear to us that this Annual Plan is a stepping stone to the UK’s first National Geospatial Strategy, but there remains a lot of work to do. The AGI is a willing partner in the journey to realising those ambitions and will work with our members and others to convey strong, clear input in relation to the Plan.

There are areas where we feel that the activities of the Geospatial Commission could be further articulated or strengthened – such as:

  • their approach to the creation of a UK National Geospatial Strategy;
  • how our profession can work together to identify and resolve the skills gap that is evident to us, and much of our membership;
  • engagement and investment in the standards that underpin everything we do within the geographic information industry and that will play a major part in delivering the £6bn – £11bn value that they are aiming to unlock.

We know that our members will also have their own views and thoughts upon reading the Plan. It is very clear that the National Geospatial Strategy must be representative of views beyond government to be successful for the UK. Representing you, the AGI provides the Geospatial Commission with a significant conduit for insight and intelligence gathering. We aim to provide our members with a strong voice in these debates. As we now prepare to represent the industry in the development of this Plan, please let us know your thoughts via email so that we may continue to contribute and feed these into our open dialogue with the Geospatial Commission.