Examination of Witnesses (Questions 195
TUESDAY 19 MARCH 2002
195. Can I welcome you to the second session
this morning. Can I ask you to identify yourselves for the record.
(Mr Roper) Christopher Roper, Founder and Director
of Landmark Information Group.
(Mr Nicholson) Michael Nicholson, Chief Executive
of Property Intelligence plc.
196. Do either of you want to say anything by
way of introduction, or are you happy for us to go straight to
(Mr Roper) One thing I would say is that my evidence
was written before the Quinquennial Review came out. I made reference
to it in my evidence and I said we hoped it would address some
of the issues, and I would like to record my disappointment that
it did not.
197. Grave disappointment?
(Mr Roper) Grave disappointment.
198. Mr Nicholson, and Mr Roper as well if you
wish, in your memorandum you mention the lack of definition of
Ordnance Survey's core purpose and a lack of proper definition
of the boundaries it should operate within. What problems has
that actually caused you?
(Mr Nicholson) The critical issue for me is whether
or not Ordnance Survey is a monopoly. I have to say, there is
nothing wrong with being a monopoly. A benign monopoly is, I believe,
what we need. However, if you have a monopoly without clear boundaries
as to what it intends to exploit and how it intends to do it then,
clearly, companies that are considering investing in this market
are at a disadvantage. I am not sure how much detail you want
me to go into, but Ordnance Survey's vision is as wide as any
horizon you would like to put on it. They want to be the information
provider of preference for essentially the whole geographic arena.
I think that is entirely understandable. If I was Director-General
I would be saying the same thing. What I think it does is that
it makes it very difficult for people potentially wanting to enter
the market to develop new ideas, develop new technologies, because
they have within the market a colossus that can move sidewards,
frontways, forwards, wherever it wants to go using strength it
already has from its base mapping information.
(Mr Roper) I think that there is a problem. Our business
is entirely built on Ordnance Survey data. I certainly do not
think it would be helpful if there were two or three suppliers
of large scale mapping to draw on; because people like ourselves
and other utility companies they attach data to the mapping. If
you had one group using one mapping set to attach their data and
another with a different mapping set, we would have tremendous
199. Everyone would get lost!
(Mr Roper) We do need ( I would agree with Michael)