The Scottish Executive's Geography Steering Group was set up to coordinate the Executive's own use of geographic data and information and to develop a response to external calls for the Executive to take a lead in drafting a geographic information strategy for Scotland. Following circulation of a draft Strategy in October 2004, there was wide stakeholder input and endorsement from partner organisations and the wider geographic community. This report summarises the responses to consultation.
Copies of the individual submissions are available on request. Please contact:
Telephone: 0131 244 1439
2. Method of analysis
34 responses were received from 33 respondents. (The Association for Geographic Information submitted separate comments from AGI Scotland and AGIUK). 94 separate comments were identified. A fair degree of interpretation was required as the same comments could be phrased in several different ways by different respondents. Tables were prepared listing the number of comments per respondent and the number of respondents making each comment. Given the number of comments, some duplication was inevitable during the initial listing and interpretation. Therefore for the purposes of analysis, comments with a similar theme were grouped together.
3. Overall findings.
The draft Strategy was generally welcomed, commended for its comprehensiveness and Ministerial endorsement, and considered a useful framework for the future.
Some concern was expressed that the Strategy contained both policy/strategic and technical/operational issues and so was inadequately focussed. There was also a fairly general view that the Strategy concentrated too much on the Scottish Executive and gave inadequate attention to the needs of "Scotland PLC".
One of the most frequent comments was that the Strategy did not contain an implementation plan, or costed action programme.
By and large, the actions called for by the comments were those already listed in the Strategy's prescriptions. Every prescription in the Strategy was repeated in some form in the responses. Relatively few new issues were identified.
Taken together, the comments form a "wish list" of things the respondents want to see happen. What is missing from the comments is any guidance or suggestions on how these issues can actually be resolved or the objectives achieved.
4. Specific responses
The comments can be considered in the following main themes. The number of comments on these themes is in brackets.
Nature of the Strategy and the target audience (12).
Need for outcomes to be citizen focussed (6).
Lack of an implementation plan (32).
Lack of methodology to monitor progress (5).
Ability of the Executive to deliver and disaggregating the internal activities of the Executive from the outward facing actions required to deliver the Strategy (4) .
An analysis required of current GI initiatives in Scotland (33).
Identification of benefits required (17).
Importance of delivery of key geographies, including archiving and historical data (45).
Need for Leadership (18).
Need for Governance (39).
IPR issues need to be addressed (15).
Need for integration of GI with mainstream IS/ IT (14).
Need for alignment with technical standards (10).
Need for alignment with professional standards (9).
Need for increased stakeholder involvement (16).
Need to raise profile outwith GI community (4).
Need to develop better UK/ EU links (17).
Need to support an academic research programme (5).
Desirability of an integrated public sector bid to Efficient Government fund for infrastructure (4).
In general the responses confirmed that, by and large, the Strategy has identified the correct issues. Relatively few new issues were raised by the respondents. The comments will contribute to on overall vision of what the Strategy would look like when completely implemented. They will also form individual targets for the Strategy's Implementation Plan.
Many of the comments called for delivery of the prescriptions which are already in the draft Strategy, and relatively few new issues were identified. However changes were made to the draft Strategy to take account of the more significant comments.
However the Strategy remains an aspirational document and framework for action. The detail of the comments will be incorporated as specific targets in the implementation plan.
Scottish Executive Geographic Information Services
1-J88 Victoria Quay
The Geography Steering Group can be contacted on:
Telephone: 0131 244 1439
List of Respondents
AGI - Director
AGI - Scotland
Argyll & Bute Council
British Geological Survey
City of Edinburgh Council
Dundee City Council
East Ayrshire Council
EDINA (Edinburgh University Data Library)
Edinburgh University (School of Geosciences)
Forth Valley GIS
Mr D McConaghy
National Library of Scotland
North Ayrshire Council
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
Orkney Islands Council
Perth & Kinross Council
Registers of Scotland
Royal Scottish Geographic Society
Scottish Agricultural Science Agency
Scottish Children's Reporters Administration
Scottish Executive - Planning
Scottish Natural Heritage
Scottish Place Name Society
The Know Edge Consortium
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
Edinburgh University (The Gazetteer for Scotland)
Stirling Council ( DNA Project manager)
Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland
Total = 34
Central Government - Departments/Agencies/ NDPBs