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Improving the rural data infrastructure: The problem of addressable spatial units in a rural context

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jane Midgley, Emeritus Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE


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The transition from sectoral to integrated rural policy has highlighted the fact that data are highly institutionalised resources that are collected to satisfy the specific remit of the collecting organisation, often without reference to wider potential uses. This has led to a wide range of different spatial units being used for data collection, analysis and representation of data for the same location. These different spatial units are a significant barrier in creating a more integrated spatial data infrastructure to support Joined-Up Government. This paper uses Scotland as a case study to illustrate some of the barriers to integration. It has three aims. The first is to highlight the significance of these different spatial units in terms of their potential impact on statistical information derived by spatial overlay of data sets. The second is to review some of the potential solutions to defining consistent spatial data sets, as currently being developed through national spatial data infrastructure initiatives in the UK. The third is to identify the options for developing a system of addressable spatial units appropriate to sparsely populated rural areas. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sang N, Birnie RV, Geddes A, Bayfield NG, Midgley JL, Shucksmith DM, Elston D

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Land Use Policy

Year: 2005

Volume: 22

Issue: 2

Pages: 175-186

ISSN (print): 0264-8377

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5754


DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2003.08.008