Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240 - 246)

TUESDAY 19 MARCH 2002

MR CHRISTOPHER ROPER AND MR MICHAEL NICHOLSON

Mr Betts

  240. So you would set up an independent Geographic Adviser?
  (Mr Roper) I believe so, which could be the Geographical Commission, it could be combined with the office of a regulator. It does need to be someone with a great depth of knowledge, but I can certainly think of individuals who could do that job.

  241. And that advice then would be in the public domain?
  (Mr Roper) Yes. Well, obviously there are areas of, say, security where the Government does need confidentiality, so there would be areas where it is confidential, but where it relates to the regulation, the person could be in the same position as Ofwat, or Oftel or any of these other bodies. There are obviously areas where there is confidentiality. I would say not generally where it is commercially confidential as I think those areas should be more transparent, but clearly there are many areas for Ordnance Survey which cover defence issues and security issues which have to be private in the nature of things and that has to be a role, could be one of the roles of this person.

Chairman

  242. Mr Nicholson, can you tell us anything about the National Land and Property Gazetteer? Where is that up to?
  (Mr Nicholson) It covers the whole of England and Wales. Scotland has agreed to join and is working on it currently, so that about half of local government either has a local gazetteer linked to the National Gazetteer or is working on one and, I suppose in brief, it is growing roots. It will be used in the creation of the National Electoral Roll, for example, which I know the Committee was interested in.

  243. So we are going to have one, if you like, way in which you can identify where people are, organised really by local government, and then you are going to have the mapping side, organised by the Ordnance Survey?
  (Mr Nicholson) Not strictly.

  244. No, but I am trying to put it into shorthand and I am wanting you to do it a bit more efficiently than I am.
  (Mr Nicholson) Let me try to put it into shorthand. The NLPG is a national register—an address base, if you like, because each building typically has more than one address—so the NLPG brings the information together so you have a single point of reference for a building. All those addresses also have a co-ordinate attached to them and the expectation is that we will use an Ordnance Survey product called "Address Point" certainly initially to provide that co-ordinate and link to the map.
  (Mr Roper) I have a very different view on NLPG and I would like to be able to submit a written answer to that question. Should I send it to Sarah Hartwell?

  245. Yes.
  (Mr Roper) I believe that the NLPG has got to be organically linked to datasets held by Ordnance Survey, not to Address Point, but I really would prefer to submit a written answer rather than take up more of your time.

  246. That is all right from our point of view, particularly with the time pressing, if you can give us a written note.
  (Mr Roper) I will give you a written note.

  Chairman: Gentlemen, you have been very helpful and can I thank you very much for your evidence.





 
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