Some more interesting things been going on in the last wee while, so here is a bit of an update about what is allowed to be discussed publicly. Hopefully the really interesting stuff which currently can’t be discussed will become public before Christmas!
The main things that have been going on involve where OSMA is likely to go once signed in April and the GI Strategy for Scotland.
Starting with the latter. The AGI Scotland Executive met last week and we discussed the point that I raised at the OSMA seminars in Glasgow and Inverness about the last GI Strategy running out in 2011 and nothing being done to replace it. As an aside, thanks for the very positive feedback from those who attended the seminars and the excellent number of feedback sheets returned. The lure of an Ordnance Survey mouse was obviously overpowering or something which suggests that everyone has their price! We need to rethink the seminars following the feedback and perhaps have more. To me the biggest surprise was that over 75% saw Knowledge Hub as the main source of information.
At the AGI meeting we put quite a lot of time into whether or not we needed a GI strategy in the first place, who should write it, who should own it, what should it say and many others. We decided to have a workshop session, which takes place on Monday, to try to agree how to approach things. In the meantime I posed some questions on the forum in the Knowledge Hub group “One Scotland, One Geography”. The meagre responses (thanks to those who did respond unlike the other 90% who looked at the questions but didn’t) are pretty damning as to where we are at the moment but do raise some fair points. However, I see where we are as a challenge in trying to move forwards together, but certainly get the impression that actually crafting a beautiful document will be a distraction. More to follow on this after Monday.
Where we go after OSMA is exercising minds at the moment. It seems to me that a new OSMA will contain a data supply agreement between Ordnance Survey and Scottish Government, along the lines of the PSMA and that there is a view that this is all that is needed and that people can get access to OS data and carry on doing what they have always done. I personally think that this a pretty depressing view on what was originally proposed i.e. a partnership agreement to work with Ordnance Survey to produce better products and services to support better public services for Scotland.
We had an excellent workshop yesterday with Ordnance Survey about GreenSpace mapping. I have mentioned this before but to recap, it was created by all 32 councils collecting attribution data based on MasterMap Topo Layer about green areas in urban settlements, with all working to an agreed specification. What has emerged is that Ordnance Survey capture about 95% of this data in the course of their business anyway, but don’tpublish it, and the workshop was focussed on how Ordnance Survey could keep the dataset up to date, saving councils the effort (which many can’t resource) and more importantly introducing a level of consistency across Scotland.
Some thought has been directed at trying to evaluate whether local government and Ordnance Survey are best placed to promote this sort of collaborative project. Making such projects work successfully relies on having the correct management arrangements in place to make sure that all involved are working to common aims and objectives. There is a view emerging that local government should be taking a leading role in this and perhaps deliver much of the Scottish SDI, but working with others to ensure that the benefits are spread around the entire public sector. It is local government who actually delivers services to citizens and who more importantly hold the bulk of the data required to support this delivery.
There are a lot of thoughts going around that need to be brought together into a form that will secure the approval of senior stakeholders. Perhaps this is what the GI Strategy should be doing?