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Geographic information

Geographic Information (GI) constitutes any information that is referenced to a specific location, defined by a grid reference, postal address or an agricultural field or holding number, for example. All GI is capable of being represented on a map and analysed spatially.

Defra fully recognises the role GI can play in evidence-based policy making. It has made extensive use of GI to support the development and delivery of its policies, as well as underpinning the communication of the impact of those policies to a wide variety of audiences. Defra is one of the leading users of GI in government and has been at the forefront of a number of innovative developments using geographic information systems (GIS).

Latest news

  • In January 2010, the public data portal was launched.
  • There are now 3500 datasets (not all spatial) accessible via this portal, with approximately 200 from the Defra network.
  • Defra is responsible for the co-coordinating the environment domain within

What is the current situation and background

Defra maintains strong relationships with other users of GI across government, in particular Defra sponsored bodies such as the Environment Agency and Natural England. GI is made widely available within the Department and the rest of government. IG is used in the flexible provision of information about farming, animal health, rural communities, supporting commitment to tackle environmental noise, modeling the impact of climate change and monitoring trends in sustainable development.

Defra is also the lead department for the UK Location Programme which is a UK pan-government initiative to improve the sharing and re-use of public sector location information. The Programme is also responsible for the implementation of INSPIRE.

Key publications and documents

If you would like to know more, please contact the GI Co-ordination Team.

Page published: 3 October 2010