What did an SDI every do for us…

ECGIS

I spent yesterday attending the second day of the 12th European Commission workshop on Geographic Information and GIS. The major topic of discussion is the ongoing development of European SDI’s – Spatial Data Infrastructures.. In the UK it is a topic rarely discussed, so to paraphrase the Monty Python classic – What does a SDI do for us…

In some ways one can think of an SDI as a cross organisation / cross border enterprise GIS, so GIS tools working on a common view of shared data. It is more than just the technical solution to interoperability however, an SDI also requires all the organisational and operational processes and agreements to be in place so that the common shared view of data is truly dynamic and more than a data snapshot.

Across mainland Europe there are both regional and a few national SDI’s operating today, and there is continued debate in the United States about a National SDI, in the UK it seems that we have been quite good a developing vertically integrated data sharing applications like Magic, and clearly have excellent and consistant base data, but have not gone much further…

Why is this… why has then been so little progress towards a UK SDI ?, my own view is that this maybe because culturally we don’t really like sharing, and crucially there is no central organisation promoting the benefits and providing co-ordination. Perhaps this is something that todays meeting to discuss the formulation of a UK GI Strategy will address.

Because going back to that scene from “The Life of Brian”, as Reg said..

“All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

Sounds like GIS to me…

Written and submitted from the Hotel Grauer Bär, in Innsbruck using the hotels broadband network.

4 comments

  1. Julian Gall

    >>culturally we don’t really like sharing

    Is it really that, as a national culture, we don’t like sharing? It may have more to do with the mindset of those in government (and those who work for the government). There has always been a paternalistic reluctance to embrace freedom of information. In addition, we haven’t adopted the strong feeling in the US that anything done by the government has already been paid for by the people and therefore ought to be available to them free.

  2. Allan Doyle

    Good thing you didn’t slip and write: “In some ways one can think of Google Earth as a cross organisation / cross border enterprise GIS, so mashups working on a common view of shared data. It is more than just the technical solution to interoperability however, Google EarthI also requires all the organisational and operational processes and agreements to be in place so that the common shared view of data is truly dynamic and more than a data snapshot.”

    🙂

  3. Pingback: edparsons.com » Blog Archive » UK SDI interest begins to develop

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