Place Matters – a fair start

Inevitably the recently published UK Location Strategy has disappointed some people. I think that some of that disappointment is based upon unrealistic expectations after all this is a strategy and not an implementation plan. It was also not the role of the strategy drafting group to seek to resolve the longstanding issues of Trading Funds, Derived Data and the like.

This is a strategy for Government Geographic Information, there is little mention of the private sector and it doesn’t appear to have been a focus for the participants in the GI panel. I think that this is a strategy for the effective deployment of Geographic Information across all levels of the Public Sector and will establish a framework for cooperation and sharing that should avoid duplication and expand the usage of GI and its benefit to the public and private sector. The Location Strategy builds upon the UK’s implementation of INSPIRE (which is primarily focussed on environmental data) to incorporate all public sector GI and also to establish a Location Council to provide leadership, drive the implementation of the Strategy and interface with other government information and technology initiatives. The recognition of the need to broaden the understanding of GI and build our skills base provides exciting opportunities for those already working in this area. 

The publication of the Location Strategy should be welcomed. Getting ministerial support, funding (even if not all of it at the moment) and government wide recognition of the importance of Place is an achievement which should not be underestimated. 
The Location Council held its first meeting last week, hopefully the wider community will be consulted and involved as the LC plans the implementation of the strategy.