Seth Finegan, CEO of Informed Solutions, shares his thoughts following a “fireside chat” with William Priest, CEO of the recently formed geospatial commission.
Having studied geographic information science at Edinburgh University many moons ago, I was delighted to share the stage with William Priest of the Geospatial Commission at the recent Public Sector Innovation – Emerging Technologies, AI and Govtech conference in London and discuss the Commission’s priorities and the future potential for geospatial in the UK.
I have had a passionate interest in geography and geospatial data spanning over 25 years and have seen the geospatial industry transform and mature from niche to mainstream. Its enormous potential value to the UK economy is increasingly recognised, providing the underpinning data infrastructure for a range of technologies including autonomous vehicles and smart cities, and offering new sources of productivity and innovation through its symbiotic relationship with advances in AI.
William made a powerful case for the commission. The recently created organisation will provide £80 million over a two year period to support the development of new products that can propel “British companies onto a global market”. Using publicly held data more productively could be worth up to £11 billion to the economy every year, the Government believes and it is the Commissions remit to help unlock this. He also made the important point that to use data more effectively we need greater data interoperability, accessibility and discoverability combined with improved data science skills, something I am acutely aware of and in agreement with. Transformation requires more than data alone.
Informed Solutions is firmly located at the intersection of digital transformation, AI and geospatial analytics – a truly transformative mix. As CEO, I am keen to see us contribute to helping the government realise this value and we are working with many central government Departments delivering online services using geospatial data and AI.
From delivering the national hub for Fire Incident Data, which joins up and analyses all 999 fire incidents in England and Wales to the National Patient Safety Incident Management System which joins up the NHS and applies Machine Learning to continuously improve patient safety, we already have a strong pedigree in this area. We are excited about the further value we will be able to deliver with the geospatial commission opening up the government’s most important spatial data assets.
The timing of the Commission with the advent of AI convinces me that geospatial has a greater role to play in our future prosperity than ever before. The Internet of Things is truly becoming an Internet of Places.