Access to Information on Land
More and more information about land is being produced and released, and a range of valuable new applications are being found for it. Yet whilst the potential economic value of such data is well recognised, there is inadequate attention being given to how it can facilitate improved social and environmental outcomes. We think that increasing access to information on land is an achievable goal in the immediate future that is crucial to supporting common good land users.
Our new website Land Explorer displays key information on land in a simple and engaging way. Try it now for free at www.landexplorer.cc
- Common good land users need a wide range of information from many sources. This includes land ownership, environmental characteristics, location, existing infrastructure, local markets, and planning processes.
- Information on land can be expensive to access, or is not open to access at all. Many common good land users are not aware of what free data are available, or how to access them.
- Open datasets on land can be difficult to download and use. Websites are often complex and data is not supplied with information on how to use it.
- Existing platforms for using data do not take into account the specific needs of common good land users.
Quality information on land is crucial to making good decisions about it. It is particularly vital to get information to groups who can use it to support social and environmental missions.
What needs to change:
Information about who owns land, where and for what purpose should be available to the public for transparency and accountability purposes.
This means government should:
- Follow an ‘open-by-default’ policy of making all their data open and accessible, especially to common good users.
- Investing in the time and resources necessary to audit and improve past open data releases
- Build on data release projects like #OpenDefra and build on them by creating and supporting ways of accessing the data
- Actively engaging users who will use data for public benefit.
- In particular the Land Registry should be opened up, meaning free and transparent information on land ownership.
- Private Eye created an online map of land owned by companies registered abroad
- Who Owns England is a blog by Guy Shrubsole investigating land ownership in England
- The Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Hub, supports innovative map-based projects
Scroll down to the posts below to read the latest updates on our work in this policy area.
Want to keep up to date?
If so you can sign up to the Shared Assets newsletter for free and we'll send you an email once a month with our latest news and thoughts. Don't worry though - we'll never clog up your inbox with spam or pass your details onto other companies - we hate that stuff too.
Quality land data is crucial to making good decisions about land use. Our new report explores the information needed by common good land users and how to get it to them. It also highlights some of the most useful data out there and contains suggestions for data producers on making their data more accessible. We’ve published the report in html here (better for mobile phones), or you can download a copy for printing in pdf here.
Our response to the UK Government’s consultation paper on moving Land Registry operations to the private sector. Download here.
We’re very excited about the progress of Land Explorer; our software platform that helps you find, access and manage land.
With development continuing to go from strength to strength and our first minimum viable product (MVP) soon to be launched, our Digital Coordinator, Julian Thompson talks about his story and that of Land Explorer.
After a successful trial of a prototype in 2017 using DEFRA data to map land types, agricultural classification, soil, flood risk and sites of special scientific interest, Land Explorer is being expanded and updated for 2018.
Our Digital Coordinator, Julian Thompson, explorers the some of the challenges and opportunities presented by Open Data, as we celebrate Open Data Day.
Earlier today the housing white paper announced exciting plans about opening up the Land Registry. This is something Shared Assets and others have been fighting for, and sounds like an incredibly positive step. This blog outlines some of the key proposals and what they might mean.
Our new land mapping website Land Explorer uses maps and open data to help you find the information you need to understand the land around you. Please help us by giving it a go and filling in our (very short) feedback form!
The government has come to its senses and listened to the huge opposition to the privatisation of the Land Registry. This is great news, but there is more to do. Now we need to push for ownership information to be made freely available to everyone
We’re delighted to introduce you to our new website, Land Explorer. Land Explorer uses maps and open data to help you find the information you need to understand the land around you. Try it now for free at www.landexplorer.uk.
Land Explorer is a new map-based platform designed to provide the information needed for land to be managed for the common good. We’re launching in on 4th January at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. If you’re interested, please get in touch.
Accessible information on ownership is crucial to making land work for everyone. We recently brought together a broad coalition of organisations interested in opening up the Land Registry. There was a real thirst for change, and as the first step we have sent a joint letter to the Minister responsible for the Land Registry.
Quality land data is crucial to making good decisions about land use. Our new report explores the information needed by common good land users and how to get it to them.
This open spreadsheet sets out the information needs of land-based groups and the datasets that can help them. Most of the datasets included are open data. New contributions welcome!
Shared Assets and DataKind got together 20 volunteer data scientists to explore how land data could help Ecological Land Coop find a new site. Here’s the story of the day
The Government’s plans to privatise the Land Registry will lose the public resources and control if they go ahead. Moreover, our research suggests that communities and land-based social enterprises will be amongst the biggest losers.
Our Director, Mark Walton, sets out why we will be campaigning against the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry.
We recently identified improving access to land data as one of the key ways of promoting common good land use in the UK. Now we want to know more about how this can be achieved. If you are interested in this, or think you can help, please get in touch.
Is it possible for a single platform to give land-based projects the key information they need about the land around them? Our latest project aims to answer this question, and to find a way to increase access to data for common good land users.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently announced they will make most of their data freely available over the next year. This will unlock great innovation. How can we ensure it also improves social and environmental outcomes rather than just profits?
“If we want people to play a bigger part in our society, we need to give them the information.” Despite these words from David Cameron in 2010, lack of accessible data about land remains a problem. In this blog we explain why we think access to land data is such an important issue for land based social enterprise and explore some ways in which it might be improved. Let us know what you think.
We love to explore and discuss land-use topics, so don't be shy - join us online and let us know all about your ideas and issues!