Memorandum by RICS (OS 16)
RICS GEOMATICS FACULTY RESPONSE TO THE URBAN
AFFAIRS SUB-COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO ORDNANCE SURVEY
Firstly we would like to take this opportunity
to thank the Urban Affairs Sub-Committee for this opportunity
to provide evidence for the Inquiry in to Ordnance Survey.
As the Geomatics Faculty for the RICS and the
facilitator in any response or enquiry relating to Ordnance Survey,
we have been asked to reply to your request for evidence for the
Urban Affairs Sub-Committee. This evidence has been provided with
the support of the Geomatics membership of the RICS.
RICS has actively engaged with Ordnance Survey
through the Standing Committee of Professional Map Users (SCPMU),
which represents the professional users including surveyors, planners,
engineers and lawyers. In addition the RICS has a Map Users Policy
Panel (MUPP), which enables members to respond to consultation
and information papers from the Ordnance Survey on behalf of the
institution. Our response to your letter is formed from the views
of SCPMU, MUPP and RICS Geomatics Faculty.
To date the various consultative committees,
their span of coverage and their terms of reference remained broadly
unchanged since the 1970's and reform is, perhaps, now overdue
as we move towards e-business environments.
Ordnance Survey publishes all consultation and
information papers through its main website www.ordnancesurvey.gov.uk.
Ordnance Survey has comprehensively reviewed their consultative
procedures (see Consultation Paper 1/2001: Consultation Review).
Although in general broad agreement with the proposals contained
within this paper, we would like the new procedures to be implemented
as quickly as possible.
We would wish to capitalise upon the benefits
of electronic communication with much greater use of our website.
We also hope to target consultation more effectively at those
to whom a particular issue has special importance.
Our members in Local Government through collective
negotiation have been generally pleased with Ordnance Survey's
performance under a Service Level Agreement, which has shown significant
The RICS is supportive of the Ordnance Survey
move to structured Ordnance Survey data through the Digital National
Framework and the offer by Ordnance Survey of arrangements to
enable Local Authorities to access the MasterMap data from day
one of release.
Concerns have been voiced about the management
and strategies for the proposed introduction of Change-only-updates
in the context of MasterMap data and the knock on effects of this
on Ordnance Survey end-users. Although, we feel that we should
leave others to comment.
Our members in Central Government have access
to a service level agreement, which has also shown significant
savings with Ordnance Survey's pricing structure in relation to
copyright charging. We view the papers Consultation Paper 6/2000:
pricing & licensing of detailed datasets and Information
Paper 10/2000: pricing & licensingintroduction of new
arrangements, as a strong indication of the desire of the
Ordnance Survey to simplify and provide value within their future
pricing structure. We believe this offers the potential for significant
cost savings for our Chartered members who use Ordnance Survey
data. The e-business strategy of the Ordnance Survey is also welcomed
although we would like to add the caveat that hard copy mapping
should be made available as long as required by customers.
Other issues of concern to the Institution,
although not directly related to the work of the sub-committee,
are itemised below.
The height control issue: RICS is
becoming increasingly concerned by the degradation of the primary
height control network within the UK. Benchmarks are not longer
being replaced or checked. GPS cannot as yet provide accurate
height information as required by many of our members. Within
the residential and commercial sectors, this raises the issue
of large areas of property becoming "blighted" due to
inaccurate heighting information being used within flooding evaluation
studies by insurance companies.
Positional accuracy issues: Ordnance
Survey is now implementing a comprehensive positional accuracy
programme that will lead to the MasterMap product being GPS compatible.
We believe Ordnance Survey should bear in mind the cost of updating
existing Ordnance Survey data to large organisations, practices
and local government. Information Paper 1/2001: Positional
accuracy at 1:2,500.
Although we do not believe this is
the correct forum to discuss the reconciliation between Ordnance's
Survey's TOID system and the National Land and Property Gazetteer.
A number of issues do emanate from this dichotomy. The issue of
"future-proofing" (ie the ability to time trace topographical
elements) has not been resolved. Historical mapping data can be
crucial in some areas of practice. The locating and data management
of property information is becoming increasingly important to
many of our members and many large surveying practices. It is
critical, in view of current "joined-up-government"
initiatives to have agreement on property identifiers.
The Urban Affairs Sub-committee press release
also asks for information relating to specific areas which we
attempt to address below.
With regard to Ordnance Survey's current pricing
model on planning appeals, we do not see this as an issue for
Local Planning Authorities. The Service Level Agreement within
Local Government allows the internal use of data to support the
planning process, and allows authorities to provide the public
with map extracts to submit planning applications. It is felt
that the royalty charge to Ordnance Survey paid by the applicant
is a reasonable charge for the service.
With regard to the provision of maps for electioneering,
we understand that there have been some issues concerning the
ability of authorities to supply candidates with mapping for electioneering
purposes. Under the terms of the Service Level Agreement, current
Elected Members have the ability to access and use Ordnance Survey
Mapping under the participants internal business use licence.
However it is less clear if prospective candidates would have
the same ability. We believe discussions are ongoing between Local
Government and Ordnance Survey with regard to this issue.
We hope that our comments are useful for the
Committee; if you require any additional or supporting information,
please feel free to contact RICS.
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Geomatics, Management consultancy.