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May 2017

1)Digital services elements of election manifesto include a schools map, more support for NHS apps and continued support for Verify

Data rationalisation, a new geospatial data body, more online information services, more NHS apps and a renewed commitment to the roll out of GOV.UK Verify have all been included in the Conservative Party's general election manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats in a nod to open data, the manifesto promises to "build on the success of crime maps to use data more effectively to reduce crime and improve policing, including exploring the feasibility of mandatory reporting of fraud losses by individual credit and debit card providers."

There are also plans to publish operational performance data of all public facing services for a matter of comparison as a matter of course – helping the public to hold their local services to account, or choose other better services if the prefer.  In doing so, central and local government will be required to release information regularly and in an open format.

2)Winners of the GeoPlace annual Exemplar Awards

Congratulations to Northumberland District Council, Rachel Antcliffe from Leeds City Council, Mole Valley District Council and the Royal Borough of Greenwich for their achievements which were recognised at the presentation of the Exemplar Awards at the GeoPlace conference last week.

Many congratulations also go to the winners of the Data Quality & Improvements Awards which include Best in Region and Gold Achievement & Performance Awards.

All of the winners can be seen at

Please also see the following press releases:

All winners should have received an email pointing them to a webpage with resources that we hope are helpful, including:

  • A full list of winners, including further information about the citations from the presentation of the Data Quality & Improvement Awards

  • Personalised logos that winners can download.  Many winners in the past have used it as part of their email signature

  • Press releases about each Award category that you can use to publicise your win within your authority or local press

  • Photos from the day

  • Twitter Moment

3)GeoPlace conference on 11th May

Thursday May 11th saw over 350 people converge at Leeds United Football Club for the GeoPlace annual conference.

Presentations and audio from the day is going up on the GeoPlace website together with photos.

We will be sending out more information from the conference in due course.  Thank you to everyone who attended, we hope that you had an enjoyable and valuable day.

4)From the GeoPlace conference

Reporting from the GeoPlace annual conference, UK Authority have published the following two stories.

Street works data hub project to move to alpha

Department for Transport's discovery phase reveals need for more consistency and ‘one version of truth' in data for road works

The Department for Transport (DfT) is planning to move to the alpha phase in its project to develop a new street manager service as a replacement for its Electronic Transfer of Notifications system for road works.

The chief executive of JAG(UK), the organisation of highway and road authorities that has supported the project, told the GeoPlace 2017 conference that the plans for an alpha product follow an eight-week discovery phase.

The new service will provide a data hub for planning, managing and monitoring street works, and a source of open data.


Nesta government lead urges authorities to use UPRNs

Eddie Copeland tells GeoPlace conference that unique property reference numbers are crucial for matching and exploiting data

A leading figure in the public service innovation arena has urged authorities to make greater use of unique property reference numbers (UPRNs) in their data.

Eddie Copeland speaking at conferenceEddie Copeland (pictured), director of government innovation at the Nesta foundation, told the GeoPlace 2017 conference that the UPRN – the unique identifier for every addressable location in Great Britain – is a prime mechanism for matching data from different systems and supporting its sharing.

He referred to observations from two ongoing data projects – the creation of a London Counter Fraud Hub and work between six local authorities in north-east England on assessing the influences on alcohol abuse – that showed there is a big difference between authorities able to provide usable data and those that struggle do so.

Copeland said there are two big distinguishing factors: "Number one, do you have a leadership team that gives your data staff freedom to work not just on KPI reporting and making sure databases are in tip top condition, but working with service managers on public service challengers?

"And also leadership teams that recognise there are risks to sharing data, but even bigger risks in not sharing data?"


5)Is your council using addresses to underpin the election?

GeoPlace has previously published a number of case studies on how Custodians have worked with Electoral Registration and Democratic Services to support elections – a topic that every self-respecting Councillor should be deeply interested in, together with the Chief Executive who in most councils is the Chief Returning Officer!!

With the General Election turn around the corner, it would be helpful to update our index of case studies in this area. Previous case studies include:


Do you have any evidence on how addressing in your authority has been used to support elections? If so, we'd really like to contact you to write it up – we promise it won't take up much of your time and is another great way to demonstrate the importance of your work and the gazetteers.

6)Rail freight cutting millions of lorry miles

Rail freight can make a much greater impact on reducing road congestion than previously thought, campaigners have said.

New figures given to the Campaign for Better Transport (CfBT) by the Daventry Intermodal Rail Freight Terminal show that it has removed 64 million miles of lorry journeys from UK roads in the last year alone, almost three times more than previously thought (23 million lorry miles).

Philippa Edmunds, Freight-on-Rail manager at CfBT, said: ‘These latest figures confirm what we have long argued, that the best way to reduce road congestion, collisions and pollution is integrated rail and road planning, not adding ever more lanes to motorways.

For full story see:

7)Google Street View used to discover 'lost' cycle ways

A vast network of forgotten cycle ways across the UK has been rediscovered with the help of Google Street View.

Historian and cycling enthusiast Carlton Reid found the routes, which were created between 1934 and 1940, after scanning for evidence of them online.

They were originally put in place by the Ministry of Transport, but many fell out of use after World War Two.

Mr Reid is now part of a campaign to reinstate some of the routes.

"We might see them every single day and not realise what they are - they're very much hidden in plain sight," he said.

By carefully looking at images on Google Street View, Mr Reid was able to discern residual evidence of the cycle ways - sometimes appearing like second pavements or merely depressions by the side of the road.

Route map

A map showing the locations of the routes across the UK has also been posted online as part of the campaign.

8)Regional Meetings

31st May – London Street Islington

1st June – South East Street – London

14th June – East of England Address – Hemel Hempstead

15th June – South West Address – Taunton

20th  June - London Address – Islington

4th July – Wales Address – Llandrindod Wells

6th July – South East Address - London

11th July – Yorkshire & Humber Address – Wakefield

12th July – North West Address – Lancaster