The NLPG Can it be a beacon for a Successful GI Strategy for the UK

Released on: April 23, 2008, 6:13 am

Press Release Author: Carl Hancock, Aligned Assets

Industry: Government

Press Release Summary: In a world that is getting smaller through technology it
could be easily argued that place does not matter - or at least not as much as it
used to. Pensions are now paid directly into the bank accounts of the recipients,
car tax is purchased online and often enquiries are better handled via the telephone
than in person. As people's lives get busier and time becomes a more valuable
commodity it is perhaps little wonder that we live a world of automation, eBay and

Press Release Body: When looked at like this it might seem as though someone or
something's location is no longer important, but whilst communication to China for
example might be easy, one can never forget the ground upon which our houses are
built, the roads upon which we drive and the rivers that seem to flood every year
without fail.

For this very reason, Geographical Information (GI) has formed a foundation stone of
many agencies and organisations from planners and engineers, to the military,
through to the postal service. The collection of GI data has been happening
piecemeal for many years with each institution collating its own and formatting it
in ways most useful for its own purposes. These individual collections are useful
for their owners but there is the potential that two institutions could
independently be sourcing new GI data for themselves whilst all the while a third
institution already had that information.

From this was born the concept of a national GI Strategy for the UK, a framework to
guide regional and local geographical initiatives. The strategy, motivated by
t-government modernisation drives would afford the opportunity to maximise
exploitation and benefit from GI.

The lack of common standards across the GI community might seem like a giant
crevasse, with no sign of a bridge, but already within the world of GI can be found
an example of how such strategy can be successfully implemented.

Initially conceived in 1999, the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) brought
together all the address and location data held by local authorities into one
national hub. The same issues of compatibility facing the national GI Strategy were
faced by the proponents of the NLPG, as well as some resistance by those that had
already invested heavily in systems that through the new standards would become
obsolete. British Standard BS7666 was the standard set to which all local
authorities had to create their Local Land and Property Gazetteers (LLPG), which
meant that the data that was previously incompatible was no longer so.

What can be achieved

Naturally though, national initiatives are not proposed simply for the sake of it.
Just as the UK GI Strategy is intended to produce results, the true benefits of the
NLPG are finally becoming apparent. The data contained within it is the most
accurate and up to date available, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the
emergency services who recognise the innate benefits that such information can have.
As well as benefitting them through greater efficiency, it is the fact that their
ability to better locate the site of an emergency that is the key benefit that will
ultimately result in the saving of lives.

The UK's FiReControl programme is one such example of how this national strategy is
benefitting the wider public sector. Using software provided by gazetteer
management specialists Aligned Assets, the nine Regional Control Centres will be
able to access the data held on the NLPG and so pinpoint precisely a caller's
location, saving valuable time.

In addition to FiReControl, the NLPG has also found usage within the British
Transport Police, Transport for London, and the National Parks.
Speaking of the commercial applications of the NLPG, Sales and Marketing Manager at
Aligned Assets Mike Smith said, "After working in partnership with over 80 local
authorities to provide the solutions by which they could manage and export their
address data, it's extremely satisfying to be working with organisations that can
now access and utilise that data."

Though the NLPG is fully grown now and the GI Strategy is still in its infancy, one
is not able to look at them in isolation. In fact, the NLPG is such an integral
part of any UK-wide GI Strategy that without it there could be only strategy i.e. a
great idea, but no results. With approximately 85% of GI data having an address
component it is clear that a significant amount of the groundwork has already been
done and that the way forward through it will be much clearer.


There can be little doubt that the roadmap to success for the NLPG has had its
twists and turns but the persistence and determination of those leading the way has
produced a product that's value will still be recognised for years to come. The
same will undoubtedly be true for the UK's GI Strategy - it will take time and a lot
of effort. What the NLPG does demonstrate though is that in the long run all the
hard work involved in making these national projects viable will all produce

When complete, the benefits of this national GI initiative will be realised in
numerous aspects of the public and private sector, as well as society at large. The
unified approach will lead to much greater efficiency within transactions, which
will lead to the considerable saving of time and the economic benefits that stem
from this.

So however much technology is making the world smaller, it will also make it more
efficient, more universal and more accessible. The GI Strategy needs to harness
this technology and those involved need to find the strength to support it every
step of the way.

Web Site:

Contact Details: Carl Hancock
Aligned Assets
Old Woking, Surrey, UK
01483 717951

  • Printer Friendly Format
  • Back to previous page...
  • Back to home page...
  • Submit your press releases...