The Geospatial Commission is testing the feasibility of creating a digital map of underground pipes and cables as part of plans to develop a nationwide scheme which would enable utilities to more efficiently access, use and share data on what is currently the hidden infrastructure.
The organisation laid out plans for two pilot projects – in London and the North East – which if successful could lead to the creation of the Underground Assets Register within four years.
In the North East, the project has been led by Ordnance Survey, working with Northumbrian Water, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid and Openreach, with the aim of building a data sharing platform.
In London, the Greater London Authority will work with utilities and local authorities to create inventories of existing data systems and establish data sharing agreements, modelling and loading data and testing a number of use cases.
Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden said: “When workers strike pipes and cables, it risks lives, costs money and causes havoc for residents and road users. Our investment in this cutting edge underground map is just one way that the Government is working smarter so that we can really make a difference to people’s everyday lives.”
David Henderson, managing director of Ordnance Survey, said: “The investment being made by the Geospatial Commission will ultimately enable the utility industry to more efficiently access, use and share data describing otherwise hidden infrastructure, thereby reducing operational costs, minimising disruption and accelerating completion of site works.”