Structure of the presentation
- Location enablement: context and definitions
- Opportunities and challenges for the public sector
- Location enabled public services demonstrated: deep dive into case studies
- Key takeaway messages and conclusions
Summary of the webinar
The webinar on location-enabled public services focused on demonstrating a growing momentum of location-enabled public services by exploring the context, opportunities and challenges for the public sector.
On the one hand, data availability, volunteered information, and improved processes provide unprecedented opportunities for public services. On the other hand, we see that data maturity, interoperability and other challenges must be addressed.
To best demonstrate these trends, the webinar started with context and definitions of location enablement. The presentation started by defining location data and linking it to location enablement. Specifically, location enablement is about “getting access to and integrating location data and information to improve processes.” (JRC, 2020).
To demonstrate the growing momentum, it was necessary to highlight:
- that most of the public sector information already has a spatial component and
- the potential that the spatial/location dimension has in deriving new insights, tools, services, and improving those that already exist.
By adding some policy context, focusing mainly on Digital Europe, and a technical context, explaining the relevance of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) and other existing and emerging assets, the project team showed that the necessary “tools” for location enablement are already there.
Secondly, the webinar highlighted the public sector’s opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, there is potential to improve services, increase efficiency, enable collaboration and engaging more with the public. On the other hand, to get there, it is crucial to consider the need for open data, standards and interoperability, trust, privacy & data protection, and strengthening the technical capabilities of the public sector to realise the ambition of location-enabled public services.
Thirdly, the webinar provided concrete use cases for the audience to better understand what location-enabled public services may look like in practice. First, brief examples were given for a few sectors: transport, construction & urban planning, social services and environment. Then, the presenters moved on to two in-depth case studies.
- Locally volunteered data for better services: the case of FixMyStreet.
FixMyStreet is an open-source software that allows citizens (at local, regional or national level) to report problems and automatically forwards the report to the relevant authority to fix the problem. It was built by a not-for-profit social enterprise, aiming to develop digital technologies that help people be active citizens.
FixMyStreet case was selected because it demonstrates the opportunities to employ a collaborative approach and user-centric design, engaging the public, increasing efficiency and delivering cost savings, and providing a service in which location data is relevant, available, and brings added value.
- Open data for better public services in practice: Transport for London(TfL)
The project team deems Transport for London a prime example of how publishing open data creates a virtuous circle that benefits those using and delivering transport networks in the Capital Transport. A Deloitte study from 2017 on TfL was used as the primary source of information. As background, in 2007, TfL decided to make available their data as Open data to be freely used, re-used, and redistributed by anyone to support operational service improvements, the development of new customer facing products and services, and increased transparency and innovation and challenge existing ways of working.
Transport for London (TfL) case illustrates in concrete terms some key success factors of location-enabled public services and how public-private partnership can lead to significant improvements of services for all stakeholders involved. It was highlighted that their collaborative approach between public and private had given access to new (citizen-generated) data. The ecosystem has led to increased efficiency, there are substantial cost savings, and it has shown to improve service quality and to bring added value to all stakeholders (private, public, citizens).
- There is growing momentum for the uptake of location-enabled public services due to their availability and potential to improve existing services and products and boost new ones.
- To meet the needs of tomorrow, collaborative approaches to design and user-centricity are key. To achieve this, the right prioritisation and performance indicators must be applied.
- By capitalising on the availability of data, software, hardware, volunteered information and processes, there are significant collaborative opportunities, cost efficiencies and service quality improvements to be made.
- However, there is a need to improve interoperability between services & borders, improve data maturity, focus on trust, privacy & protection in policy, and strengthen technical capacities to minimise the gaps in the local, regional, national, and cross-border contexts.
- Location interoperability was highlighted both as part of the context of SDIs and existing tools for location enablement across public services but also as part of a key challenge to overcome. More precisely, it was emphasised that standards and interoperability remain a key challenge and a necessary tool to capitalise on current opportunities.