Strong Progress Being Made on the UK's Geospatial Strategy

Annual plan published shows the Geospatial Commission’s progress on delivering the UK’s Geospatial Strategy. Location data ethics policy paper also published


Rolling out the National Underground Assets Register, piloting public sector access to commercial satellite data and publishing expert guidance on investing in location data are among the key priorities for the Geospatial Commission over the next year.


The Geospatial Commission today (22 June) published its plan for 2022/23, which sets out priorities for the coming year and reflects on the growing use of location data as a strategic national asset to support levelling up, help meet net-zero targets and drive science and technology innovation.


The Geospatial Commission’s priorities for the coming year are:

  • Continuing to rollout the National Underground Assets Register (NUAR) to build a shared, national underground utilities data asset to improve safe digging and UK-wide infrastructure delivery, realising at least £345 million of economic value each year

  • Piloting public sector access to commercial satellite data, to better understand whether collective access will help overcome barriers to the wider public sector adoption of Earth Observation data

  • Publishing guidance about how to make an effective case for investing in location data, ensuring that its full value is well understood, assessed, and articulated

The publication also highlights the progress made towards the 2020 UK Geospatial Strategy over the last year, including:

  • Core public sector data: We undertook the first coordinated assessment of the UK’s geospatial data assets against FAIR data principles, alongside our Partner Bodies

  • Transport location data: We published Positioning the UK in the Fast Lane, supported innovative businesses to meet key public sector transport data challenges and launched a project to explore how location data can support delivery of electric vehicle chargepoints

  • Land use data: We initiated a National Land Data Programme to demonstrate the value of enhancing the UK’s spatial modelling capability to inform land use scenario planning

  • Property data: We announced an intention to legislate to expand access to property attribute data held by the Valuation Office Agency

Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, Lord True CBE said:

Location data is a powerful strategic national asset, underpinning decisions about how we invest to level up, how we distribute resources to improve public health and how we speed up our journey to decarbonisation.
Understanding how this data can be used and deployed will be integral to driving scientific innovation, sustainability and economic growth across the UK.

The Geospatial Commission also published a location data ethics policy paper, as promised in the UK’s Geospatial Strategy. This proposes an ABC - Accountability, Bias and Clarity - as the building blocks for good governance of location data use, to maximise public trust and confidence in the use, sharing and reuse of location data.


Independent Commissioner of the Geospatial Commission and Interim Chair of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, Edwina Dunn OBE said:

Location data is a rich and powerful source of insight and input to AI and data-led decision making. As geographic data fuels innovation and improves our everyday lives, we must not forget that these significant economic, social and environmental benefits are only made possible with the trust and understanding of the UK public.
The Geospatial Commission’s policy paper is the culmination of months of engagement across the geospatial landscape. It proposes three shared values - Accountability, Bias and Clarity - all designed to optimise the benefits but safeguard public trust and confidence.

Both reports will be launched at an online event at 3pm today as part of Digital Leaders Week. Register to attend the online launch event.