RSA debate considers access to geographic information

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - 08:52 GMT Jump to Comments

Ordnance Survey was represented at a high-profile public debate on public sector information this week.

Director General and Chief Executive Vanessa Lawrence was a panel member at the RSA lecture, Free our data: should public sector information be available to all for the cost of reproduction?

The event, held in London in association with The Guardian newspaper, attracted a 200-strong audience from government, academia, business and the voluntary sector.

Dr Lawrence outlined Ordnance Survey's role in creating and maintaining the definitive mastermap of Great Britain. She highlighted Ordnance Survey's responsibilities as a government Trading Fund and the benefits of ensuring there was stable, long-term funding of nationally consistent and up-to-date geographic information.

She also explained how the practice of data charging helped protect and exploit Crown Copyright within wider public sector information policy.

As well as geographic information, the debate considered the costs and accessibility of meteorological, hydrographic, census and local authority data.

Other panel members were Charles Arthur, Technology Editor of The Guardian, Paul Crake, RSA Programme Director, Carol Tullo, Director of the Office of Public Sector Information, and David Vaver, Director of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre. The event was chaired by Derek Wyatt MP, Chairman of the All-Party Internet Group.

The debate was audio-streamed live on the RSA website - www.theRSA.org - and is available to download free of charge in mp3 format. A written transcript is also due to be posted on the site.

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