AGI GIS Technology Thoughts

GI Innovation in the UK – you just need to look in the right place..

Yesterday was a series of interesting contrasts for me, the state of the “traditional” Government dominated GI industry was pretty well summed up by the Chorley Day review event organised by the AGI, key impression – “why after 20 years of trying does nobody listen to us”, while the very same evening brought a larger audience to the mashup* location themed event, key impression – “Hello we would really like to build application “x” using your platform is that OK..”

I was really pleased to see the WIDR guys at the event last night, some bright guys who used to work for me while I was at Ordnance Survey, who have developed a location determination platform, with an open API, based on wifi hotspots. Not a new idea I know, but the API element is really interesting as it offers the potential for developers to easily add location awareness to their own web based applications.


What would begin to close the gap between the two diverging GI communities, would be if these guys could develop they ideas during the day rather than in their spare time, and bring the benefit directly back to their organisation. The 20% time that Google engineers can use to develop their own ideas is well known, and really is a powerful tool for developing new products and services – would we ever see anything like that in Government ?

No.. I guess not.. but then the next generation of customers of Government services, as David Rhind so brilliantly called them yesterday the “myTube” generation have vastly different expectations of dealing with organisations based on experiences with eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Google etc all of which recognise the importance of innovation in keeping their customers happy.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

One reply on “GI Innovation in the UK – you just need to look in the right place..”

Well, possibly not 20% time, but a lot depends on management perspectives. I’m lucky enough to work in a department where the value of passion has been recognised.

While there is still the overriding imperative to get the City’s business done, experimentation and innovation are also embraced wholeheartedly.

This attitude results in business process improvements, but it also increases efficiency. I’m much more willing to work longer and harder on something that I love, but also on boring tasks so I can get back to the cool stuff.


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