Wales Data Leaders Network meeting: 11 October 2022
Minutes of a meeting of the Wales Data Leaders Network on 11 October 2022.
A PDF download of this document will be available soon.
In this page
- Glyn Jones (Chair) - Welsh Government
- John Morris - Welsh Government
- Rhiannon Caunt - Welsh Government
- Anna Bartlett-Avery - Welsh Government
- Vince Devine (Minutes) - Welsh Government
- Adam Al-Nuaimi - Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA)
- Rob Pascoe - Data Cymru
- Lisa Trigg - Social Care Wales
- Tom Anderson - Qualifications Wales
- Simon Renault - Centre for Digital Public Services (CDPS)
- Dave Williams - Transport for Wales (TfW)
Presenters / observers
- James Skates - Welsh Government
- Dave Roberts - Welsh Government
- Amit Slaich and Amy Manefield - Cabinet Office, UK government
- Richard Palmer - Data Cymru
- Helen Wilkinson - Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
- Alison Saunders - Food Standards Agency (FSA)
- Sioned Fidler - Food Standards Agency (FSA)
- Sam Hall - Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)
- Dyfed Huws - Public Health Wales (PHW)
- Gareth Thomas - Welsh Government
- Ifan Evans - Welsh Government
- Iain Bell - Public Health Wales (PHW)
1. Introduction and note of last meeting
Glyn Jones welcomed the attendees to the meeting.
Alison Saunders (Food Standards Agency) will no longer be attending the network meetings. Her replacement will be Sioned Fidler.
Rob Pascoe attended in Richard Palmer’s absence, representing Data Cymru.
The actions from the last meeting (24 May 2022) have either been completed or are ongoing. Lisa Trigg reminded members of action 3.6, to send any feedback on the national social care data portal for Wales to email@example.com.
2. Geospatial in Welsh Government
Dave Roberts, head of geography in Welsh Government, informed the group how geographical data is used across Welsh Government. Some of the Welsh Government teams that use this type of data include:
- Rural Payments Wales - Agri-environment payments to the farming community
- Cadw – Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service - In the designation of ancient monuments, the listing of historic buildings and for development control planning checks
- Knowledge and Analytical Services (KAS) - For the analysis of housing stock
- Agriculture, Food & Marine - For marine spatial planning and fisheries monitoring
- Climate Change and Rural Affairs Group - The ERAMMP (Environment and Rural Affairs Monitoring & Modelling Programme) Integrated Modelling Platform (IMP)
- Property & Professional Services - Estate management and property development
- Geography and Technology - The provision of Geographic Information services to Welsh Government, the delivery of DataMapWales, the publication of online aerial photography, the management of Geographic Information Systems software, licencing and the management and delivery of Ordnance Survey mapping data (via Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA)) to Welsh Government and public services in Wales.
Dave Roberts provided an update on DataMapWales. DataMapWales (DMW) is an online mapping system, where users can search for data, select the datasets that are of interest and then overlay single or multiple datasets upon scalable digital mapping. Features of interest can be examined, measured, and analysed.
One of the key ambitions for the DMW project is to serve as a single definitive source for public sector geospatial data in Wales. The benefits of this approach will be that individual public service organisations will no longer need to build and maintain expensive online mapping services, that users have a single location to find public service geospatial data and that geospatial data is available to drive innovation, sustainability, and economic growth.
Most of the data on DMW is publicly available, however, some sensitive data is restricted to a smaller number of users and can only be accessed via secure user credentials.
Users of the system can search for data via ‘The Data Catalogue’. General searches can be undertaken; however, users can also filter the search using categories such as Type’, ‘Category’ or ‘Organisation’. The data is supported by metadata and unless specified, data is openly published under an Open Government Licence so that it is available for reuse. Data can be downloaded in several user specified formats, or it can be consumed via an application programming interface (API) endpoint.
The Map Viewer enables users to search the Data Catalogue, view the results and overlay the dataset on a scalable digital map. To locate a specific geographical area, users can search using a placename or an address or visually by ‘zooming’ in and out. When a dataset has been added to the map, each point or polygon representation can be selected to view descriptive attribute data.
If members have geospatial datasets that they wish to publish on DMW, have any queries or wish to discuss DMW, please contact the development team at firstname.lastname@example.org
To keep up to date with developments follow the team at Map Data Cymru (@MapDataCymru) / Twitter
Simon Renault asked whether the data on DMW is available in an open format whether APIs could be used by the private sector. Dave Roberts explained that most data on DMW is already available as Open Data, although a small number of datasets have different licencing arrangements. The team encourages partner organisations who supply datasets to allow the reuse (where appropriate) of their data and they are in discussions with local authorities and the Ordnance Survey to increase the number of open datasets on the platform. The data is also available in wide variety of formats for download (soon to also include Power BI formats) and is available as web services for consumption by third parties.
Adam Al-Nuaimi queried whether DMW has replaced ad hoc requests to set up separate map portals. Dave Roberts confirmed this was the case and that DMW has embedded features that allow maps to be incorporated in other websites.
Lisa Trigg suggested that her team would be interested in exploring possibilities for adding social care data and would follow this up with the DMW team.
Tom Anderson asked whether there were any plans to do more with the latest census data. Dave Roberts confirmed that they have added the 2021 census geographies and that they are keen to engage on joining any new census information to that data.
Adam Al-Nuaimi asked whether DMW differentiates between residential and non-residential properties. Dave Roberts confirmed this was possible due to DMW being underpinned by Ordnance Survey AddressBase.
4. ERAMMP (Environment and Rural Affairs Monitoring & Modelling Programme) Integrated Modelling Platform (IMP)
James Skates introduced the ERAMMP – IMP, which is partnership project between UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the Welsh Government. A key element of the project is that it uses range of models to deliver a programme of monitoring and modelling, which collects data from across the Welsh landscape and links any changes to their impacts on a wide range of outcomes, including their economic consequences.
ERAMMP – IMP is:
- A tool for the rapid exploration of the effects of policy and management interventions on farm viability, land use and public goods in Wales.
- It takes an integrated approach, recognising that policy effects in one sector have indirect effects in other sectors.
- It comprises a chain of specialised, state-of-the-art models covering agriculture, forestry, land use allocation decisions, water, air, soils, biodiversity, ecosystem services and valuation.
- User specified interventions and model outputs are aligned (where possible) to support and inform policy development.
A key element in developing the models is geospatial data, where:
- The IMP operates at various spatial resolutions depending on what scale is most appropriate for the indicator being simulated.
- The finest spatial resolution is used for simulating farm type and land use transitions is the Decision-Making Unit (DMU).
- A DMU is sub-farm (often field-scale) defined as a managerially homogenous cluster of soil type, rainfall, and land cover.
The modelling used in the IMP is fully compliant with The Aqua Book guidance for producing quality analysis for government.
The IMP provides a new policy-relevant, integrated modelling tool that can provide scientific evidence to inform rapidly evolving policies across sectors. It is flexible and can be adapted quickly to changing Welsh Government requirements. The IMP can rapidly explore costs, benefits, and impacts of scheme components. This work is still in progress and will continue to be iterated within Welsh Government.
Glyn Jones queried whether there were any areas of this work where data standards would help. James Skates explained that they work with partners to identify and improve data, but the linking of data can be problematic. It was suggested that the network may be able to offer help and support on any data related issues.
James Skates also stated that he was interested in exploring the possibility of developing a restricted secure area of DataMapWales to host environmental data and would discuss with the DataMapWales team.
5. A brief introduction to the Geospatial Commission
Amit Slaich from the Geospatial Commission, explained that the commission is part of the Cabinet Office and comprises an expert committee that sets the UK’s geospatial strategy and promotes the best use of location data. Some key initiatives of the Commission include:
National Land Data Programme - National Land Information Service (NLIS)
The NLIS is an online platform that provides electronic access to official sources of land and property information across the whole of England and Wales. It helps inform decisions on whether land is used for housing, infrastructure or is net zero.
Q-Fair is part of the Geospatial Commission’s ambition to improve access to better location data by making it ‘Q-FAIR’ (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and ensuring that it is of the right quality so that it is fit for purpose. Building on the work of the geospatial Data Improvement Programme, the Commission is now launching its Q-FAIR benchmarking process, which will drive and track progress across the public sector to make better location data available to more people.
Ordnance Survey Data
The Geospatial Commission has been working with the Ordnance Survey to increase the amount of geospatial data available to the public sector in Wales.
6. The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) - Amit Slaich and Amy Manefield (Cabinet Office, UK government)
Amy Manefield (Geospatial Commission) provided an overview of another key project for the commission. The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) is a digital map of underground pipes and cables that will transform the installation, maintenance, operation and repair of the UK’s buried infrastructure.
The NUAR is in the first year of a 3-year programme to deliver a trusted sustainable online platform, that can be used to inform, plan, coordinate, and deliver infrastructure projects that require excavation. The key beneficiaries of the programme are:
- Asset owners - efficiencies will be realised through the sharing of data
- Planners - efficiencies will be realised in the sourcing of data and risks of asset strikes (accidental damage to cables and pipelines etc) will be reduced
- Excavators - reduced risks of asset strikes
- Data managers - improved data quality
- Plant protection officers - greater knowledge of activity near assets
- General public and businesses - reduced delays caused by accidental asset strikes
A key challenge to the project has been the collection, alignment, improvement, and management of datasets, which have been sourced from a large number of stakeholders.
The project timeline includes the release of a version to Wales in March 2023, which will be available for users to test, evaluate and suggest improvements.
Simon Renault asked whether NUAR provided data on the capacity of the ‘ducts’ that carry fibre optic broadband cable in addition to their location. It was explained that the level of detail of data is dependent on what is provided by asset owners. Furthermore, the main aim is on providing locational data to support provision of safe evacuation.
7. Open Forum update and discussion
7.1 The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill
Glyn Jones reminded members about the opportunity to comment upon the proposals outlined in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and the accompanying explanatory notes.
Any comments should be sent to email@example.com by Wednesday 2 November.
7.2 Redefining Office for National Statistics (ONS) Output Areas
For census and statistical purposes, the ONS define spatial extents called ‘Output Areas’ in each local authority. The expansion and reductions in housing, educational establishments, commercial premises, industrial sites, and infrastructure etc requires the periodic re-evaluation of the spatial extent of these Output Areas.
An evaluation has recently been undertaken in Wales and several new Output Areas have been created.
Welsh Government is working on naming these new Output Areas and there will a blog post on this project that will be published on the Digital and Data Blog. If members wish to contribute to this work, please contact John Morris via the Data mailbox: Data@gov.wales.
Adam Al-Nuaimi asked if the new Output Areas data could be shared with the Welsh Revenue Authority. John Morris replied that he would send the data to Adam.
Glyn Jones suggested that data environments could be a theme for a future meeting.
7.3 Communities of practice
Rob Pascoe reported that the ‘Power BI’ and the ‘Access to Data’ communities are now live and have attracted 40-50 members each. Data Cymru is currently reviewing the activities of each community, the composition of the membership and attempting to identify members who possess expertise.
Glyn Jones said that if we can identify the requirements and themes arising from these communities, it can be used to inform the network’s future work.
Dave Roberts enquired how the Government Geography Profession (GGP) could be aligned with the new Communities of Practice. Simon Renault offered to introduce Dave Roberts to the Centre for Digital Public Services’ Communications team regarding the alignment of the groups.
7.4 The future direction of the network
Glyn Jones noted that the network has now been established for a year and that we have an opportunity to reflect on whether the network is meeting the memberships requirements and expectations. A survey will be shared with members to gather their views and to help inform its future direction.
8. Any other business (AOB)
Adam Al-Nuaimi’s team are currently developing a new analytical desktop that provides secure access for analysts to Wales Revenue Authority data via private endpoints between various resources (see the article in the members update). If members are interested in this project, please contact Adam.
No other AOB items were raised.
Glyn Jones thanked Dave Roberts, James Skates, Amit Slaich and Amy Manefield for their interesting presentations and brought the meeting to a close.
9. Date of next meeting
The time and date for the next meeting is 13.00 – 15.00, Tuesday 14 February 2023.
Summary of actions
- 4.1 John Morris to share the new ONS defined Output Areas data with Adam Al-Nuaimi. John Morris
- 4.2 Simon Renault to introduce Dave Roberts to the Centre for Digital Public Services’ Communications team regarding the alignment of the Government Geography Profession (GGP) with the new Communities of Practice. Simon Renault
- 4.3 Survey the membership regarding their views on whether the network is meeting their requirements and expectations. Rhiannon Caunt & Vince Devine
- 4.4 Arrange a time and date for the next meeting. Vince Devine