Government launches geospatial strategy aimed at boosting UK’s position in location data

A UK Geospatial strategy announced this week (Wednesday 14th June) at London Tech Week, will help transform public services and boost business, the government has claimed.

Announcing the launch of the The UK Geospatial Strategy 2030, the UK’s minister for AI and Intellectual Property Viscount Camrose said it will help unlock billions of pounds in economic benefits by harnessing technologies such as AI, satellite imaging and real-time data to boost location-powered innovation.  “Our new strategy will grow our economy, embed the application of geospatial data in key decisions that affect our day-to-day lives while driving the private and public sector creativity needed to cement the UK’s status as a global science and technology superpower,” said the minister.

Sir Bernard Silverman, Chair, Geospatial Commission which carried out the report said: “Location-based insights have proven their enduring value again and again - during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, tracking outbreaks across the country was critical to inform public health decisions. The power of location will continue to underpin solutions to our biggest challenges including climate change, energy security and economic growth.”

Broad ambitions outlined in the strategy include a drive to increase the adoption of enabling technologies to accelerate geospatial innovation, greater use of geospatial applications and insights across the economy and measures to build confidence in the future geospatial ecosystem

Specific aims include the publication of a report identifying the cross-cutting challenges and opportunities for location data in the health sector and a further report setting out how the public sector access to earth observation data and its innovative use can be supported. The strategy also includes plans to work with universities to publish best practice as a first step towards embedding geospatial learning into data science and geography courses.

Sir Adrian Smith, Institute Director, The Alan Turing Institute said: “The… new strategy… is important to ensure that technologies developed using AI, machine learning and augmented reality continue to help researchers to better analyse and visualise data in new ways. Embracing these technologies to accelerate geospatial research will require effective partnerships across academia, industry and the public sector, and active public participation. We look forward to continuing our work with the Geospatial Commission to improve land use planning, resilience to climate change and infrastructure investment decisions.”