Digital infrastructureOpen Data Institute invites tenders to local government open geospatial data stimulus fund

Open Data Institute invites tenders to local government open geospatial data stimulus fund

Apply for this stimulus fund to grow the public sector’s understanding of how to collect, publish and use open geospatial data, with a specific focus on collaborative approaches

The Open Data Institute (ODI) is inviting tenders to a new local government open geospatial data stimulus fund that it hopes will grow the public sector’s understanding of how to collect, publish and use open geospatial data.

Local government organisations in the UK are the stewards of a rich collection of geospatial data including data on transport, planning, green spaces and the urban environment. As a result, the fund will be specifically focusing on collaborative approaches.

Research conducted during the ODI’s work on unlocking the benefits of open geospatial data highlighted that local government often struggles to release openly licensed data, limiting its ability to work with local communities, startups and SMEs to create innovative products and services. As a result, the ODI is keen to develop further insights into how local government can be supported in publishing and using more open geospatial data.

Funded through the Innovate UK funded R&D programme, this stimulus is designed to encourage local government to explore new approaches to publishing and using open geospatial data. It’s interested in funding projects that explore collaborative approaches to data collection, management and use that draw on resources and support from across the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure including, for example, the Ordnance Survey, OpenStreetMap communities and local open data groups.

The types of activities the ODI is looking to fund include:

  • Projects that might help to demonstrate the onward benefits of the Open MasterMap, e.g. by highlighting the types of derived data that will be easier to release, or through use of infrastructure such as the OS Open Zoomstack trial
  • Collaborative projects that enable local government GIS, planning and other service delivery teams to learn more about OpenStreetmap and how it could support local service delivery, e.g. via a “Mapper in Residence” project
  • Projects to import openly licensed geospatial data into OpenStreetMap or similar platforms, that can be easily extended into other local areas of the country
  • Community based mapping activities, e.g. using services like Wheelmap in a mapathon, to help enrich collaboratively maintained maps with information that might inform local policy development
  • Creation of guides and tools to enable local businesses and communities to more easily contribute to their local maps

The ODI expects to make up to four awards, ranging from £15-25k depending on the number of awards.

Right time

The project is aimed at UK upper tier and lower tied local authorities, in partnership with local or national OpenStreetMap communities or chapters, local open data groups, or civil society groups. Recent announcements relating to the opening up of OS MasterMap will offer significant opportunities for local government to publish more geospatial data. This stimulus fund should provide useful insights into how this might be achieved.

In the UK and around the world a number of national and local governments have begun engaging with OpenStreetMap communities to explore collaborative approaches to publishing and maintaining open geospatial data. This stimulus fund would support and enable further collaboration between local government GIS teams and the broader open data community, including OpenStreetMap and its contributors.

The successful projects will work in collaboration with the Open Data Institute who will provide guidance, review and assistance throughout the project.

The ODI will work closely with Ordnance Survey to provide feedback on issues around derived data licensing. It will also ensure that projects can take account of the ability to publish additional derived data that will be enabled as part of the delivery of Open MasterMap. The ODI will also help to collate prioritised lists of datasets that local government would like to release more generally as part of its work.

This stimulus fund is one of the activities the ODI is conducting as part of its project to explore how to unlock the value of open geospatial data in the UK as part of its wider 2018 innovation programme.

Open Government Licence

The UK government recently announced that key parts of the OS MasterMap product will be made openly available for the public and businesses to use under the Open Government Licence (OGL).

Over the next 12 months the Geospatial Commission are working with GeoPlace, the LGA, the Improvement Service (on behalf of Scottish Local Government), and OS to investigate opening up the key identifiers UPRN and USRN, together with their respective geometries, for the whole of Great Britain under OGL terms.

Opening this data under OGL will provide additional valuable open data into the ecosystem and help to remove barriers that are limiting local government in publishing more open data created from these sources.

The datasets that will be made available for free, subject to thresholds, through an API are:

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer, including building heights and functional sites
  • OS MasterMap Greenspace Layer
  • OS MasterMap Highways Network
  • OS MasterMap Water Network Layer
  • OS Detailed Path Network

Further information, including details on how to apply, click here.

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