HomeUncategorizedGeospatial Commission: Board of Commissioners meeting, 31 January 2023

Geospatial Commission: Board of Commissioners meeting, 31 January 2023

Geospatial Commission: Council of Commissioners Meeting January 31, 2023

Hybrid Meeting – BGS, Keyworth & Google Meet, 13:00-15:15



Bernard Silverman (President)
Nigel Clifford (Vice President)
Thalia Baldwin
Louise Heathwaite
Steve Unger
Alex Notay (online)

Nominated Commissioner:

Karen Hanghøj
Peter Sparkes (online)

Commission unit:

Jamie Clark
Chris’ room
good friend of ros
Catherine McGrath (online)
Amelia Napier
chef Ruth
Abigail Page (online)
Ben Carson (online)
Neil Brammall

(Minutes of: Liz Conn)

The Observer:

Alan Corbett (Scotland) (online)
Jim Lennon (Northern Ireland) (online)
David Roberts (for Glyn Jones) (Welsh)
Fiona James (ONS) (online)
Lisa Pinney, (CEO, Coal Authority)
Mark Casey (UKHO)


Glyn Jones
Jim Lennon

External speakers:

Simon McLellan, Met Office (online)

first. Minutes and arising issues

1.1. Bernard opened the meeting. The Council welcomed Lisa Pinney, Executive Director of the Coal Regulatory Authority, as a guest observer and thanked her for participating. Thanks also to Karen Hanghøj and BGS for organizing the board of directors for the day. Dave Roberts (Government of Wales, for Glyn Jones) and Mark Casey (UKHO) were also welcomed and thanked for being in person at the meeting.

1.2. Apologies have been issued to Glyn Jones and Jim Lennon.

1.3. Minutes of the November board meeting were approved without any changes. No other problems have been noted.

2. Reports from the Nominee Trustees

2.1. Karen Hanghøj and Peter Sparkes summarized the points raised by the Partner Agencies at the Nominated Trustees meeting on 24 January:

  • Karen confirmed that the Commissioners nominated for the next 12 months will be Peter Sparkes and Stephen Lake.
  • The Partner Agencies are continuing to see synergistic opportunities and will have ongoing discussions to help identify those opportunities and shape a thematic approach.
  • Peter highlighted the depth of the conversation held at the Earth Observation Nominee Trustees meeting.
  • The Strategic Refresh Update has provided helpful insights relevant to Partner Organisations. Their common view is that funding is not the main barrier to better use of geospatial and that the challenge lies more in the capacity and education gap within user organizations. They would appreciate coming back to this conversation in the future.

2.2. The Board thanked the nominated Trustees for their input and participation in the Commission’s Strategic Refresh.

3. Report of the Director of the Commission

3.1. Thalia provided updates on activities and highlights from across the Commission during December and January, which included a significant amount of outside involvement, as well as close engagement with independent Trustees, and include:

  • the Earth Observation pilot process, which is covered in more detail in Section 6;
  • further progress on the Geospatial Strategy refresh, consultations concluded in December, which are covered in more detail in Section 8;
  • publish our policy article Go to Story highlighting the important role location data plays in informing Electric Vehicle charging point deployments across the UK. The publication was selected and shared in the national media and was well received;
  • advances in the Commission’s Land Use Program with the publication of the House of Lords report Make the most of England including a recommendation to establish a new independent body for land use coordination. The Commission is studying the government’s response to the report, in collaboration with DEFRA;
  • advises Ministers on accessing and improving mobile data. The Committee is reviewing current intergovernmental work and will provide updates at a future meeting.

3.2. Thalia added that the agenda for today’s board meeting has been structured to showcase the innovation, with a demonstration of UKHO’s marine digital replica as well as a live demonstration of National Underground Asset Registry. The committee is considering the topic of its board meeting in April, which is likely to be about land and property.

4. UKO Digital Pairing

4.1. Mark Casey, Head of Research, Design and Innovation at the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) demonstrated the UKHO/Unreal Engine digital duo. Peter Sparkes explains that digital replica creation was born out of a defense requirement, where it was used for mission maneuvers. However, by incorporating real-time feeds, it has great potential with many possible applications and significant commercial opportunities. UKHO is looking at how the technology could be used more widely.

4.2. The board has been demonstrated proof of concept, currently being developed based on feedback. UKHO plans to build a user interface, with one potential application being to create third-generation portal navigation instructions that include accurate weather and lighting conditions in real time. The Coast Guard is also interested in a wide range of search and rescue applications.

4.3. Peter outlined that creating a digital twin is part of the job of many organizations. The next step is to find a way to automate, scale, and increase its capabilities. The Council discussed the Commission’s potential role in this, which Peter added was primarily in recognition of innovation at this stage. UKHO welcomes conversation about additional data that can be brought in both from Partner Agencies and beyond. They see this as a huge area of ​​cooperation, with many benefits for the UK, from national security to the environment.

4.5. The panel thanks Mark and Peter for the very interesting illustrations.

5. External speaker – Simon McClellan, Met Office

5.1. Simon McLellan, Head of Data at the Met Office, joined the meeting to present how they work with data, their approach to the big data challenge they face, and how the Met Office is increasing access to data to maximize its value. data for users and collaborators.

5.2. International data exchange is essential for meteorological forecasting and uses a combination of standards and permits. There are also new data sources that provide new observation opportunities coming from instruments that were not previously available for meteorological data. The Met Office is investing in its data infrastructure to enable more efficient use of big data, which presents enormous opportunities, including predicting weather and climate change.

5.3. The panel thanked Simon for the presentation and agreed to stay in touch and think about potential areas of future cooperation to continue the conversation.

6. Updates and discussions on accessing geospatial & public sector market data

6.1. Abigail and Amelia joined the meeting, providing a brief overview of the Commission’s emerging approach to a broader view of the geospatial market. The Board of Directors has been invited to provide initial thoughts on:

a) the Commission’s plans to improve their understanding of geospatial markets and their strategic approach to improving public sector access; And

b) the Commission’s public sector data access initiatives for Earth Observation Data (EO) and mobility.

6.2. The opportunities offered by EO are widely recognized, but uptake in the public sector is limited. The panel discussed the challenge of encouraging cooperation in areas of interest where previously unpaid but is now possible, and also why there are unrelated EO initiatives. in government and what is the role of the Commission in this.

6.3. Amelia highlighted the link between the NCEO’s Earth Observation work and the Commission’s pilot purposes, building on previous work done by the government in this area.

6.4. The group planned scoping activities to develop a deeper collective understanding of interests, focusing on justifying demand, as well as reviewing regulatory mechanisms.

6.5. The council confirmed their support for the initiatives and approaches outlined, and thanked the team for the work completed so far.

7. Technology – NUAR . Live Performance

7.1. Neil Brammall attended the meeting and presented the current state of the National Underground Asset Registry’s minimum viable product (MVP). There are several other improvements that will be implemented before the MVP is rolled out.

7.2. The panel discussed the strong security required to protect the data held in NUAR, Chris Chambers confirmed that security is at the heart of NUAR and we have worked closely with the National Center for Cybersecurity. (NCSC) and the National Center for Infrastructure Protection (CPNI) since the inception of the Program. Both the CPNI and the NCSC see NUAR as a role model in their approach to protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure while increasing access to data.

7.3. The board thanks Neil for the engaging performance and looks forward to the next exciting milestone.

8. Update on Call to Refresh Evidence & Strategy

8.1. Ben Carson joined the meeting. Ros Goodfellow has released a progress report on the Strategy Refresh. The updated article includes a summary of the responses to the Call for Evidence. The Committee was pleased with the range of responses that came from many parts of the diverse geospatial ecosystem. The group also conducted a number of roundtable discussions, including with underrepresented voices and undergrads.

8.2. Next steps will be to continue interacting with the Authorized Regulators and Partner Agencies as the document develops prior to publication. The Council was asked to provide their views on the key focus areas for the renewal of the strategy, the Commission’s role in developing the ecosystem and where it could have the greatest impact.

8.3. The panel discussed analyzing barriers to adoption and asked if more detailed analysis among respondents could be provided. The general view of the nominated Trustees was that lack of visibility was the main issue, rather than funding. Increased awareness will aid in the acquisition and resolution of other barriers.

8.4. The Board of Directors thanks Ros and her team and will continue to respond to their views as the work on the strategic refresh progresses.

9. Any other business

9.1. The Board of Directors would like to formally acknowledge Karen and BGS for the morning tour and presentation as well as the organization of the Committee for the day. Bernard also thanked Lisa, Mark and Dave for attending in person. He encouraged feedback on the new format of quarterly two-day board meetings, the next of which will be held in April in London.


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