• Spatial Information Service

    The Spatial Information Service (SIS) comprises a team of technical and specialist geospatial professionals who are responsible for developing and maintaining several spatial data services on behalf of Scottish local government. The current services they manage are:

     

     

    SIS works directly for Scottish local government and collaborates closely with strategic partners to ensure that improved spatial information management increases value to data owners and the wider Scottish community. It keeps the local government community up to date on Scottish, UK and EU legislation, regulation and data specifications, including INSPIRE, and supports Scottish local government to achieve compliance.

     

    SIS will centralise the efforts associated with the improvement of spatial information management across local government, resulting in long term efficiency gains and cost savings. They will place an emphasis on using open source software and technology, as specified by various European and UK directives and initiatives, which will keep their running costs as low as possible.

     

    Download: What is the Spatial Information Service? (PDF)

  • Spatial Hub

    The Spatial Hub is an online resource that provides a single point of access to quality-assured Scottish local authority data, in a consistent format. It is developed, operated and managed by the Spatial Information Service (SIS).

     

    Every local and national park authority provides data to the Spatial Hub where it is conflated into standardised and up-to-date national datasets, delivered as web services.

     

    As well as developing the infrastructure and processes to accommodate this local government data, SIS have also developed a series of different licences (with associated terms and conditions) that enables data sharing with each sector or organisation.

     

     This benefits local authorities by:

     

    • Saving them time, money and effort in preparing and publishing their data themselves to required specifications e.g. those expected under the EU INSPIRE directive.
    • Reducing the resources needed to answer standard Freedom of Information requests regarding spatial data.
    • Exposing their data to a far larger community that can use it for many more uses than it was initially intended for – which in turn Increases the inherent value of the data and the work of data creators/ providers

     

    Benefits to the wider society are:

     

    • that there are is now easy and efficient access to consistent national datasets of local government data, that they can use for numerous purposes
    • the potential for innovation and new business ideas, that could ultimately help improve public services and communities.

     

    The Spatial Hub was launched in 2016 and covers such data themes as planning, administrative boundaries, environmental, transport and community facilities. Ultimately, the Spatial Hub should collate and publish any spatial data that local authorities systematically create, which warrants a national perspective.

     

    Download: What is the Spatial Hub? (PDF)

  • One Scotland Gazetteer

    The One Scotland Gazetteer (OSG) is an address dataset that comprises up-to-date data, maintained by each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

     

    The information stems from local authority functions, including Planning, Building Standards and Street Naming and Numbering which are the foundations for all address intelligence.

     

    Validation

    The local gazetteers are collated by the Spatial Information Service within the Improvement Service, where robust quality assurance is undertaken to ensure currency and consistency. Consequently, the OSG dataset adheres to nationally agreed conventions and is held in a standardised structure that conforms to the British Standard for addressing.

     

    Origins

    The OSG dates back to 2003, when the then Scottish Executive provided £7.5m of funding, along with £2.5m from Scottish local authorities, to create a national gazetteer which would support the delivery of modern public services in Scotland.

     

    Unique Property Reference Number

    Crucially, the OSG holds the unique property reference number that provides a common thread that allows the linking of information held in disparate systems.

     

    Usage

    The OSG is made freely available to members of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement and is used throughout the Scottish public sector, including the emergency services, e-Planning, ScotLIS, the Energy Savings Trust, SEPA, myaccount, assessor and the electoral register.

     

    In Scotland, the OSG forms the foundation for Ordnance Survey’s AddressBase product suite.

     

    Cost-benefits

    • A faster, more efficient public services through a centralised address source
    • Access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date addressing dataset for Scotland
    • High level of data currency and reliability along with a robust change feedback mechanism ensuring user confidence
    • Supporting multiple-government applications through the UPRN
    • A spatial reference for every record means that other non-spatial data can be incorporated into Geographical Information Systems
    • Access to the status of a property and important dates in its lifecycle
    • Access to added-value data associated with land and property, for example use classification or occupier
    • Assists public sector bodies in compliance with the European Union’s INSPIRE obligations
    • The UPRN allows disparate back-office IT systems to integrate and communicate

     

    Download: What is the One Scotland Gazetteer? (PDF)

  • Tellmescotland

    Tellmescotland (www.tellmescotland.gov.uk) is Scotland's national public information notices (PINs) portal, allowing public notices from across Scotland to be published in a single online location for the first time. The website was launched on 20 December 2010. There are 31 councils and 22 wider public sector organisations now publishing notices on the portal.

     

    Public information notices are announcements that local authorities are legally required to publish. There are two types of notice. Statutory Notices give required notice of an intended action, such as road closures, construction, licensing and planning/property developments. There are also non-statutory notices which provide general public information.  These include changes to services such as refuse collection or notification that community council elections, committee meetings and other local events will be taking place, for example.

     

    Tellmescotland has three main aims, which are to:

     

    • make public information notices easier for the public to understand and act on
    • make public information notices accessible to a wider public
    • improve efficiencies of local government spend in advertising

     

     It provides the following key benefits:

     

    • Cost savings in spend on Public Information Notice advertising
    • Modernised approach to keeping members of the public informed about public information
    • A national picture of statutory and public service developments with enhanced information and notification capability

     

    Users can register for email and SMS alerts specific to public information notices within their selected area of choice or they can simply browse the website and search for notices. You can sign up to receive regular alerts from tellmescotland at www.tellmescotland.gov.uk/registration/

  • One Scotland Mapping Agreement

    The Spatial Information Service (SIS) represents local government’s interests in the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA). This agreement allows the whole of the Scottish public sector to access and use Ordnance Survey (and several other organisations') data products for their own business purposes. SIS ensures that the OSMA community has access to local government’s spatial data and address information via the Spatial Hub and One Scotland Gazetteer respectively. The current OSMA terms runs until 2023.

     

    OSMA is funded by member organisations. The various sectors (Scottish Government and agencies, local government and NHS) all contribute an agreed percentage. Contractor or end user licences can be used to provide data to contractors working with OSMA members or the general public, respectively.

     

    Case studies of OSMA data usage:

     

    • All OSMA members have access to up-to-date address information for their business uses via either the One Scotland Gazetteer or Ordnance Survey’s AddressPoint product.
    • Registers of Scotland depend on OS mapping to register the 78,000 property transactions (with a value of £11 billion) last year. Every title is referenced against Ordnance Survey mapping.
    • The Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics are all based on data derived from OS products and are used to support decision-making on public sector spending, including community partnerships with NHS and local government.
    • Transport Scotland relies on OS mapping for planning major infrastructure initiatives, such as the design for the dualling of the A9 from Perth to Inverness and the Queensferry Crossing.
    • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) depend on OS products for Scotland’s environment management, including statutory functions such as the Flood Prevention Act (Scotland) and INSPIRE.
    • Local government and emergency services: local government uses OSMA products to support services such as ground maintenance (£192m), street cleansing (£192m), schools transport  (£384m), planning and development (40,000 applications pa), and roads maintenance (£650m). These are only examples but the total figure for services supported by OSMA is well over £1.5 billion.
    • Emergency services depend on OS products for all command and control applications, operational planning and crime pattern analysis as well as for data sharing with community planning partners.
  • EU INSPIRE Directive

    The Spatial Information Service (SIS) is funded to help meet local government’s obligations under the EU INSPIRE Directive and to enable sharing of such data with the OSMA community.

     

    INSPIRE aims to improve the provision of data to inform environmental policy making – hence why Defra has been representing the UK’s interests on it in Europe. However, in meeting INSPIRE commitments, it is inevitable that countries will establish an infrastructure for environmental-related spatial information across the European Union. Therefore, the Cabinet Office is now showing an increased interest in what INSPIRE dictates.

     

    INSPIRE defines common technical standards for publishing spatial datasets such as addresses, transport networks, land use, protected areas and risk zones covering 34 data themes.

     

    The key technical requirements of INSPIRE are that datasets that fall under the named themes must be made:

     

    • Discoverable (via metadata records in an online catalogue)
    • Viewable (via a web map service API)
    • Downloadable (via a web feature service API or atom-enabled file download)
    • Transformed to defined standards (though this is complex and likely to be relaxed)

     

    The directive came into force on 15 May 2007 and was transposed into Scottish law in December 2009.

     

    Whilst INSPIRE promotes better sharing of data, it does not, as many people have mistakenly assumed, promote open data. Many organisations that create INSPIRE-related data have intellectual property rights (IPR) inherent in the data (e.g. Ordnance Survey) and are not funded to release it all under an Open Government Licence. Local Government is no different in this regard. Hence, SIS has been creating a sustainable business model that allows them to share council data, but also fund its standardised creation and sharing.

     

    SIS has done the following to help local government comply with INSPIRE:

     

    • Created metadata records for local government datasets on the national Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure catalogue
    • Created (Web Mapping Service) View services of local government datasets via the Spatial Hub
    • Created (Web Feature Service) download capability for local government datasets via the Spatial Hub
    • Created various licences and terms and conditions that allow us to share the local government data with different organisations and sectors
    • Begun to collect far more than just INSPIRE’s environmental data themes

     

    SIS has not implemented the data transformation requirements of INSPIRE due to its complexity, lack of resources and because of an expected relaxation in this specification.

     

    SIS will now aim to share the national local government datasets with as many organisations and sectors as possible to realise much more than INSPIRE’s initial goals.

     

    Download: What is INSPIRE? (PDF)