Improving the Usability of Geospatial Data

14 June 2017 (Ordnance Survey, Southampton, United Kingdom)

Producers of geospatial data wish to be able to maximise the use of their data and solve users’ problems quickly. Understanding whether a dataset is suitable for an intended use is critical in deciding which dataset to use. All too often, users only find that the dataset is unsuitable for use after they have invested time and effort in it.

Most producers create some quality metrics but these are often difficult to interpret. The elements described in ISO19157 are written in a technical language and are purely for specialists. Few outside the world of spatial data quality understand them. The producers of such data have the ability to measure the quality of the data but are unlikely to know what use a potential user is likely to try and use the data for. Indeed, they may not even know or meet the user.

What’s required is a method of communicating the quality information in a way that the user will be able to follow. The solution must be simple enough for the potential user to understand, yet clear enough, to allow potentially detailed information to be communicated. The method must also work for datasets produced at different scales. Done well, this could significantly enhance the user experience when searching for new datasets to use.

This workshop will bring together producers, users, and academics in order to examine the issue in greater detail. We will hear what producers know about their data and what users really need to know. We will also look at the ways that other industries have solved these issues. In the afternoon, we will discuss potential solutions and options for research into the topic.


The draft agenda for the workshop is:




Presentation from NMCA’s


Coffee & networking


Presentations from users and academia


How have other industries tackled the problem


Buffet Lunch


Breakout sessions – Possible solutions and options for research


Coffee & networking


Presentation of results


Conclusions and next steps



Who can participate?

We are looking to encourage participation from academic researchers, NMCAs, users of geospatial data and anyone else who feels that they have something to contribute, be it ideas, experience, or problems in this area.

If you wish to present, then please contact the organiser in the first instance.


Registration for the event is free. Please register here. Places will be limited and registration will close on 31st May 2017 or sooner if the event is full.


Teas and coffees will be supplied morning and afternoon courtesy of EuroGeographics. Lunch is very kindly being sponsored by Ordnance Survey.

Travel and accommodation

Attendees will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Details on how to get to Ordnance Survey can be found at

For those staying overnight, Ordnance Survey is approximately four miles (6.5km) from the city centre and the majority of hotels and restaurants. It can easily be reached by taxi or bus.