Last Week (WE 3/2/12)



An interesting start to the week at the UNIFI Scotland meeting on Monday. For those of you who haven’t heard of UNIFI before, it is a think tank set up to try to improve the way that the public sector and private sector interacts and shares land and property information and involves senior people from Registers of Scotland, the Law Society for Scotland, Council of Mortgage Landers, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Scottish Government and the Improvement Service. There is a good rich picture of what UNIFI is about is at UNIFI provides an external support and lobbying group for some of the initiatives which the Land, Property and Addressing Theme Group, set up in response to INSPIRE, will be taking forward. An action that arose from the meeting was to investigate potential for European funding to develop a new version of ScotLIS, in line with Stephen Alexander's presentation at the AGI event in November.


On Tuesday we had the weekly conference call with the Ordnance Survey and GeoPlace and again we moved forwards. There is a distinction emerging between OSG data meeting the AddressBase product specification and passing the NLPG data quality checks. This has been a little blurred in the past but we are now getting a better understanding of what is required to include OSG in AddressBase but there is an issue in how end users of AddressBase premium will be able to use the product. We are almost there with our data, thanks to the custodians' efforts, and are moving onto the PAF AddressPoint/AL2 matching exercise. We are slowly beginning to agree the terms of the Data Supply Contract. In the afternoon I met with East Ayrshire Council, in response to a request for more information about INSPIRE and what councils should be doing at the moment. This highlighted to me that we need to be be doing more to put information out to people but this isn't as straightforward as it seems because at this stage there are a lot of specifications around the Annexe 3 datasets which are no where near being agreed. Most of the data that councils hold and will be required falls into this category, at least as far as I can understand. This will be raised with the Theme Leads. We also talked about the Spatial Information Board, the Public Sector Reform Board and what the successor to OSMA might look like.


A meeting took place on Wednesday between the Chair of the Spatial Information Board and senior representatives of five OSMA organisations. This reflected some of the comments made about OSMA and in particular the inherited funding model which several of you have been making. The consensus was that the agreement with Ordnance Survey was ground breaking and was very good, with OSMA organisations currently ordering around three times as much data than under the previous agreements which it replaced, and about 30 new organisations taking some data. The original drivers for OSMA had been to increase the use of spatial data in the Scottish public sector and to remove the barriers to data sharing and these had been achieved. However, the funding model behind OSMA was inherited from previous agreements and has some serious flaws which have been exacerbated by the increase in members. This is unanimously recognised by all and the consensus is that we complete the OSMA for the 2012-13 year but start work now on the replacement.


Following Cameron's retirement and until the review of GI within Scottish Government is complete, I have been asked to cover OSMA and SOSLO (and the Radon datset - more next week). This will include involvement in the renegotiation of OSMA, and a project team is going to be set up in the very near future. At the OS meeting in Glasgow there was an animated discussion around the renewal (or replacement) and some strong views expressed. I took three key points from that discussion and these were echoed at the meeting on Wednesday:-

  • We need to understand clearly what the requirements are going forward

  • Top Slicing” or similar is the preferred funding option as it removes the “who pays for what” argument.

  • We need to actively engage with the entire community in a way in which all can express their ideas and opinions and that any documentation is put out to consultation to all


I have posted a new thread as a starter for 10.


On Friday we had a meeting with Spider Online who developed “TellMeScotland” (Public Information Notices). This is gradually being rolled out across Scottish local government and provides a channel for the public to view all sorts of public notices from a web portal. The issue that has come up involves the background mapping on the web site which has been developed using Google maps. This has led to a debate as to whether Google maps should be replaced with OS mapping and if so, which web services should be used to deliver them. The decision comes down to whether the public is happier with the Google mapping than the less familiar OS products or whether as the project develops with perhaps more street gazetteer data being displayed, that the OS background is required to ensure that it all fits to the background. I was at the last Steering Board meeting where I got the impression that a number of people from councils seemed to think that moving to OS mapping was perhaps an unnecessary additional cost. Are the people in this community aware of this project and do you have any views on this?





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