[OSGeo-Edu] Survey subsidies wiped off the map

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Fri Nov 17 16:54:28 EST 2006

dear all, (catching up on mail backlog... ;) )

On Sat, Nov 11, 2006 at 08:21:13PM -0600, P Kishor wrote:
> would love to hear from our UK friends regarding this story --
> http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1942266,00.html
The NIMSA agreement which provided some direct public funds to support
the National Mapping Agency here was worth about 12M UKP/year, out of
total running costs of the OS around 110M/year. It helped ensure the
OS's remit to map "uneconomic areas" which has been a restraint
against putting more of its services onto an "open market". A reduced
amount of NIMSA budget will find its way into OS hands via their
monopoly deals with public sector agencies anyway. 

Free Our Data is very strong behind the "OS activities as they are now 
should be fully taxpayer supported" and i am not sure this is right. 
It is the centralised model of data brokering and maintenance which is
causing high cost and lag in currency, and more of what the OS
provides should arguably be carried out by local authorities and in
data sharing agreements which tend to expose more to the public. 

At the same time there is internal re-examination in the Treasury
about the value of public sector information and how it can generate
the most economic activity - the study by the late Peter Weiss
"Borders in Cyberspace" comparing impact of re-use of PSI in US and EU
is particularly convincing, geodata is a subset of all this
> presentation on Ordnance Survey was followed by a presentation by the
> folks from the global digital commons movement, and the contrast, to
> me, was striking.

Right, the OS have a very business orientation; when i have been to
events there the crowd has been very much been about networking
between largescale telcos, systems companies, consultancies. 
I don't know how well that fits their relation with local government;
perhaps everywhere here just has an interface through a consultancy or
subcontractor these days. The future is not bright. My IRC friends
advise me to give up on the UK. I think we are looking at five to ten
years before we see open geodata here and that will depend on a lot of
changes in the surrounding policy context... :/

ah well,


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