All departments of the Scottish Government as well as dozens of local authorities and NHS organisations stand to benefit from the shared services.
Stephen Pestell, emapsite’s Head of Alliances and Commercial Markets, said: “This is a prime example of our hosted service capability aligning with the public sector’s need to access high quality geographic information online.”
Among the immediate government activities likely to be informed by the pilot are the planning process, emergency and health services and the analysis of transport and economic data, neighbourhood statistics, indices of multiple deprivation and natural wildlife habitats. Under the pilot, signatories will receive an API key to consume the full OSMA product range via emapsite servers. This includes the OS MasterMap Topography and Integrated Transport Network Layers, OS VectorMap Local, OS OpenData and various scales of Ordnance Survey raster data.
As well as the avoidance of manual uploads and other data management issues, the main benefits of the pilot are continual access to up-to-date and consistent Ordnance Survey data and ease of data sharing under copyright rules including with private sector contractors.
Mr Pestell said that removing the requirement to manage data uploads had the potential to create substantial time savings for public sector bodies. He added: “Based on our experience, we believe it takes an average of 40 working days a year for a government department to maintain and distribute OS MasterMap based on its six-weekly update cycle. One individual can take between four and seven days to process the update and put it online. Now, the pilot means public sector users can increase the pace of their GIS work which is important when they are under pressure to achieve so many other priorities.”
The pilot follows the launch earlier this year of a second OSMA designed to build on a common geographic framework for the delivery of Scottish public services established by an inaugural agreement in 2010. Feedback from users has shown there is significant interest in web services. emapsite’s appointment by the Scottish Government follows a series of other public sector successes. The company won a place on the Westminster government’s third generation ‘G-Cloud’ supplier framework earlier this year and has also recently supplied services to English local authorities and the Welsh Government.
As with emapsite’s entire web services architecture, the OSMA pilot complies with the EU INSPIRE Directive and open mapping standards that support rapid integration and interoperability. These include the OGC WMS, WMTS and WFS protocols for geographic data visualisation.