Ordnance Survey Ireland held their inaugural GeoGov Symposium in the historic surroundings of the Royal College of Physicians, Kildare Street on 26 September
The purpose of this event was to support the implementation of the Public Service Data Strategy 2019-2023, and was itself supported by the Office of the Government Information Office (OGCIO).
The theme of this symposium was “Data at the Heart of Government” and the day was divided into four distinct sessions:
- Data at the Heart of Government – Global and Local Policy
- Geography and Statistics – Data’s Power Couple for the Ages
- Transformative Geospatial Services
- Best Practice Re-use and Open Data
Embracing global and local policy, the first session was opened by Minister John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform. Following this, Barry Lowry, Chief Information Officer for the Government gave a detailed outline of Public Service data strategy.
Next to the podium was Colin Bray, Chief Executive Officer of Ordnance Survey Ireland who spoke on geospatial policy development, both in a global and a national context, and where OSi fits, in supporting State policy.
The keynote speaker of the day then took the podium, Martin O’Malley, former Governor of Maryland, USA. His insight into the use of geospatial information for evidence-based decision making was really informative and helped pave the way for the subsequent messages that followed on the day. He drew on his experience as governor, and previously as mayor of Baltimore, to illustrate how access to information has changed the decision-making process for those wise enough to see the benefits, and how smart managers will move from hierarchical management styles to more collaborative and inclusive styles, acknowledging that access to digital data empowers staff at all levels of government.
The segment on ‘Geography and Statistics – Data’s Power Couple for the Ages’ had Paul Morrin CSO, Lorraine McNerney OSi, Justin Gleeson AIRO and Dáithí Downey, Dublin Housing Observatory all in different ways showing how shared and linked data can be exploited to improve evidence-based decision making.
After lunch, a very practical session ensued, titled ‘Transformative Geospatial Services ‘, giving examples of how the use of geospatial information can help projects achieve their objectives more effectively. Tara Higgins and Ainhoa Gonzalez UCD, Morgan Crumlish DAA, Gareth John of the Dept. of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, outlined their experiences in using geodata for real world problem solving.
The final session of the day, focussing on ‘Best Practice Data Re-use and Open Data’, was delivered by Deirdre Lee of Derilinx, Eoin O’Grady of the Marine Institute, and Ian Kennedy PRA. This section retained the interest of the audience right up to the end of the day, keeping the venue mostly full till the end.
The attendees of the symposium were drawn from all strands of central government, and several local authorities. While some had a day-to-day involvement with geographic information, geography or statistics, most did not. But all were there to explore the power of geospatial data and what can be achieved with it, regardless of their own particular discipline.
Feedback from attendees subsequently indicated that they were engaged by the speakers and topics, and were taking away a deeper appreciation for the power of Data at the Heart of Government.