Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 195 - 199)




  195. Can I welcome you to the second session this morning. Can I ask you to identify yourselves for the record.
  (Mr Roper) Christopher Roper, Founder and Director of Landmark Information Group.
  (Mr Nicholson) Michael Nicholson, Chief Executive of Property Intelligence plc.

  196. Do either of you want to say anything by way of introduction, or are you happy for us to go straight to questions?
  (Mr Roper) One thing I would say is that my evidence was written before the Quinquennial Review came out. I made reference to it in my evidence and I said we hoped it would address some of the issues, and I would like to record my disappointment that it did not.

  197. Grave disappointment?
  (Mr Roper) Grave disappointment.

Mr Betts

  198. Mr Nicholson, and Mr Roper as well if you wish, in your memorandum you mention the lack of definition of Ordnance Survey's core purpose and a lack of proper definition of the boundaries it should operate within. What problems has that actually caused you?
  (Mr Nicholson) The critical issue for me is whether or not Ordnance Survey is a monopoly. I have to say, there is nothing wrong with being a monopoly. A benign monopoly is, I believe, what we need. However, if you have a monopoly without clear boundaries as to what it intends to exploit and how it intends to do it then, clearly, companies that are considering investing in this market are at a disadvantage. I am not sure how much detail you want me to go into, but Ordnance Survey's vision is as wide as any horizon you would like to put on it. They want to be the information provider of preference for essentially the whole geographic arena. I think that is entirely understandable. If I was Director-General I would be saying the same thing. What I think it does is that it makes it very difficult for people potentially wanting to enter the market to develop new ideas, develop new technologies, because they have within the market a colossus that can move sidewards, frontways, forwards, wherever it wants to go using strength it already has from its base mapping information.
  (Mr Roper) I think that there is a problem. Our business is entirely built on Ordnance Survey data. I certainly do not think it would be helpful if there were two or three suppliers of large scale mapping to draw on; because people like ourselves and other utility companies they attach data to the mapping. If you had one group using one mapping set to attach their data and another with a different mapping set, we would have tremendous confusion.


  199. Everyone would get lost!
  (Mr Roper) We do need ( I would agree with Michael) a monopoly.

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