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

Memorandum by Tom Turner, Principal Lecturer in Landscape Planning, University of Greenwich (OS 03)


  This note is written from the perspective of a university lecturer involved in teaching landscape planning and GIS.

  The first and most important point is that the advent of the Edina Digimap service has been of great benefit to my students. OS data is paid for under the CHEST agreement. This has made it possible for us to run GIS projects with the students. Previously, the data was far too expensive. I cannot doubt that this policy will be commercially beneficial to the OS in the medium and long term. Students will graduate with an expectation that data will be available in digital form and that this method of data supply is vastly superior to any other. This should increase the demand for geographical data by the commercial companies that our students go and work for.

  With regard to the work that they will undertake in landscape planning consultancies, I believe it would be beneficial if offices could rent the data for the limited period of time during which they will need the data. Purchase of even an annual license for the large volumes required in landscape planning make its use prohibitively expensive for all but the largest and best-funded clients.

  I believe that there is a data supply arrangement for the Ile de France under which larger organisations pay higher prices than smaller organisations. Since they are likely to make more use of the data, this seems fair.

  It would be beneficial if the OS were able to supply other types of spatial data in addition to map data. I believe that a wide range of planning data is available from a single supplier for the Ile de France. It would be very helpful to landscape planning agencies if they could go to a single supplier for a wide range of data in a compatible format. This could include aerial photographs and data on landcover, soils, hydrology, etc. The OS could become a producer of traditional cartographic data, as it has always been, and a retailer of other types of geographical data.

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