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Ordnance Survey is Government owned, we do not focus challenges. Many businesses and organisations are already
solely on profit, but by covering our costs and returning a harnessing GI and the concept of location to reduce their
dividend to Government, we are able to invest in a sustain- environmental impact. In many ways the problems we face
able way forward that maximises the use of geographic are so complex that geography is the only meaningful way
information (GI) in the future. We currently have around of visualising them.
500 commercial partners that rely on our data to create
I think the best way of explaining the power of geography
value added products and services. Market sectors like
within an environmental context is to do so with real-life
insurance and banking are in the early stages of harnessing
examples, one of which has been particularly pertinent
the full power of GI, but over the last decade I believe that
over the last few years, namely flooding.
in large areas of both the public and private sectors,
location is now understood to be a critical part of the
Flooding is a national issue that has the potential to affect
decision-making process.
many areas of the country, as demonstrated by the floods
in July 2007 and subsequent flooding. Even areas that
Certainly, GI has never been so much in use, or benefited
were perceived to be low risk can be seriously affected.
so many people. There is increasing exposure of the
Owing to the national scale of this issue and the magnitude
power of geography to visualise and interpret information
of the losses involved - £3-4 billion in the summer 2007
over the web, in satellite navigation systems, and many
floods alone - any approach to predict, prevent and
other aspects of our daily lives. Equally, I believe that GI
mitigate the impact of future flooding must be based on
has a vital role to play in tackling our environmental
a consistent framework of information.
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