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Economy Economy

Use digital technology to release value from our land

Last updated: 02:50pm 8 December 2019

And we will use digital technology to release massive value from our land that currently is simply not realised, introducing greater specialisation in the property development industry and far greater transparency for buyers.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.82

Our verdict

In the emerging digital business landscape, location data, from maps of the water supply to information on cycle lanes, has the potential to unlock new services and opportunities. This is a pledge to use digital technology and location data to “release massive value from our land”.

In November 2017, the government formed the Geospatial Commission, a public body equipped with a budget of  £40 million per year to produce value from location-based data.

In October 2018, the Geospatial Commission invested £5 million to support the Geo6 – the public bodies partnered with the Commission – in publishing their databases. These were made available for consultation under a single licence in April 2019.

In November 2018, the Geospatial Commission, in collaboration with the Midlands Engine Partnership, allocated £1.5 million to develop a digital map of the region similar to one already in place for Greater Manchester, which “saves planners and developers between one and three hours every time it is used”.

In August 2019, the Geospatial Commission published the Future Technologies Review, to showcase opportunities and success stories in the use of location data as a means of economic development. Possibly particularly relevant for this promise to release value from land is the section on survey, measurement and 3D scanning.

The Geospatial Commission has published six location datasets under a single licence, invested in mapping the Midlands and highlighted economic opportunities which can be unlocked with location data. These developments demonstrate potential, but initiatives implemented up to this point fall short of releasing the “massive value” promised. Advances have been made, but our judgement is that this policy remains ‘in progress’.

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