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July 30th, 2012
Ordnance Survey Provides Expertise Internationally


From September 2012, Ordnance Survey will be launching a new international organisation, Ordnance Survey International. It will harness the vast range of skills and expertise within Ordnance Survey to primarily support other national mapping agencies and their countries. The aim is to provide expert advice and services across the full spectrum of Ordnance Survey’s expertise, including data collection and maintenance, product development and geospatial data management. The expert advice  will enable international customers to develop and enhance their own business requirements and ultimately reap the benefits, which can be delivered through the efficient management of accurate, maintained GI. 

Over the past decade there has been a global realisation of the significance of geospatial information by both governments and businesses. However, the quality, accuracy and use of the mapping data varies from country to country. The global recognition of the importance of reliable and trusted GI has in turn resulted in greater customer demand on national mapping agencies to collect and maintain accurate location data.

Ordnance Survey has built up a reputation for being at the forefront of the geospatial industry through its world-renowned data collection processes and range of mapping products and services. Today Ordnance Survey data is being used extensively across the private and public sector to drive efficiencies, underpin decision making and support valuable products and services.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Ordnance Survey has a reputation as a world leader of geographical information, developed from their strong performance as the national mapping agency for Great Britain. I was particularly impressed with the organisation when I visited them recently and their contribution to supporting economic growth.

“Ordnance Survey has a well defined strategy in providing their customers with accurate and efficient services, and a strong track record of working collaboratively with partners. This has continued with the development of the Public Data Group, and an international service was the obvious next step. The move to provide specialist services internationally supports the wider government drive to promote the expertise of the UK overseas. I look forward to seeing their knowledge being put to good use around the world and furthering the reputation of British business abroad.”

Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director General and Chief Executive at Ordnance Survey added: “Ordnance Survey has a depth and breadth of experience and knowledge and is internationally respected for providing Great Britain with one of the most accurate geographic frameworks of any country in the world.

“For some time we have been approached by other national mapping agencies to provide guidance and share our world renowned expertise. Following encouragement by Ministers to export our skills we have set up Ordnance Survey International so we can now work with overseas customers who wish to seek our assistance.

“Within Great Britain, location-based data is recognised as a vital tool in underpinning decision making and supporting economic activity, with an estimated annual value to the British economy at more than £100 billion. We know from the many overseas approaches that we receive that we can share our skills and knowledge to support other national mapping agencies in implementing standards of data collection and product development, which meet the needs of their customers.”

Over the last decade, Ordnance Survey has frequently engaged with international audiences, either through overseas visits to Ordnance Survey or via the established Cambridge Conference. Staff from Ordnance Survey have also delivered a number of significant presentations, sharing knowledge and best practice, at many high profile overseas conferences. Last year Dr Lawrence, undertook an investigation into the spatial capability of Australia. The study was commissioned by the Australian Government and was carried out in 2011 by Vanessa, acting on behalf of the British Government.

Ordnance Survey International will start in September 2012. The new organisation will be headed by Steven Ramage, former Executive Director at the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), a global body developing open geospatial standards.

Steven commented: “Over many years I have watched Ordnance Survey invest in areas, such as open standards, closed and open source software, open data, linked data, geospatial database and data management systems, as well as working collaboratively with partners and the wider industry. With Ordnance Survey International there is a huge opportunity for us to share this expertise and know-how with the global community, and be the ‘go to’ international mapping agency for advice and assistance on geospatial policy, strategy and technology topics.”

Supporting Steven in developing new overseas opportunities will be Carsten Roensdorf, a recognised international GI expert who will be located in the Middle East providing Ordnance Survey with a local presence and enabling Ordnance Survey International to build and strengthen relationships and to take forward business opportunities.  

Steven added: “I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have worked for some organisations at the forefront of the geospatial industry, such as NAVTEQ (Nokia), 1Spatial and most recently the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). I am very pleased to be able to take all that knowledge and experience into, what is possibly the world’s leading mapping agency, Ordnance Survey.”

Further information on Ordnance Survey International and the services which will be available, will be released ahead of September 2012.