The UK government is taking impressive and extraordinary measures to stimulate innovative solutions to tackle various COVID-19 challenges.
Given the wide-ranging application of geospatial data, the Geospatial Commission recently launched a very generous, new COVID-19 data licence for Ordnance Survey premium data. The new license lets organisations involved in COVID-19 responses access premium Ordnance Survey data for free until 30th September 2020.
Anyone who has used Ordnance Survey data in the past will know it is:
- Best in Class – highly detailed, accurate and comprehensive
- Expert-Focused – data is geared towards experienced users
The new temporary licence makes it possible for anyone to use best-in-class government data, easily. As an Ordnance Survey partner, the Mapcite SaaS geospatial platform simplifies access, helping organisations use the data practically in their everyday COVID-19 responses.
Which Data is Useful?
One place organisations engaged in COVID-19 responses can start is with Points of Interest® (PoI) data.
The PoI dataset is a comprehensive, location-based directory of both public and privately-owned businesses in Britain that contains over four million records, sourced and quality-checked from more than 100 suppliers. Thanks to its classification structure, it is easy to identify very specific types of organisations, even brands, like Hospitals with an A&E department, Supermarkets, Pharmacies or GP surgeries. PoI data is ordinarily supplied on CD, comes in the post and is held in a very large (~1GB) text file.
Use Ordnance Survey data in Excel®
With an ordinary spreadsheet, your data tends to be hidden away in tabs, rows and columns. On top of this, it is usually impossible to get a sense of how your data is spread geographically – which can help you quickly allocate scarce response resources based on the areas of greatest need.
Mapcite has processed the PoI data into easily digestible chunks to make it usable in Excel. This means you can create maps showing points of interest in seconds using the FREE Mapcite Excel Add-In.
With the Mapcite Excel Add-In, you can map spreadsheet data using different coloured pins or shapes to distinguish different datasets. For example, the image below shows a spreadsheet containing all the A&Es, Pharmacies, GP Surgeries, Supermarkets across GB.
Powerful Data Mashups
To show how multiple datasets can work together, the below sample map combines heatmap locations of a (fictitious) list of vulnerable people in Bournemouth with pin locations of essential PoI services. In less than 5 minutes, you can quickly see the areas of greatest need and their proximity to essential service providers.
In addition to its COVID-19 data license, Ordnance Survey, a government-owned enterprise, provides data to a range of public bodies via its Mapping for Emergencies (MfE) service. MfE helps local authority, emergency service, hospital trusts, and services supporting these organisations like utility and transport operators, provide services to category 1 and 2 responders.
In fact, the UK government as a whole is doing great work stimulating the application of its data more broadly through various proactive initiatives.
From repurposing geospatial data to support a national response through the new NHS Volunteer Responders program to partnering NHS-X and launching TechForce19 in order to fund the development of 23 technologies to support vulnerable individuals, the government’s concerted effort to foster data innovation means it is helping communities respond to COVID-19 in a myriad of ways.
How can I access this data?
If you are engaged with COVID-19 responses, contact Mapcite today so we can help you make the most of PoI data. No matter what dataset you are using, the Mapcite Excel Add-In is FREE to everyone and can help get your spreadsheet data on a map in seconds.
Download Mapcite for Excel today from the Microsoft Office App Store.
Writer: Richard Crump
Editor: Claude Drulik