Location information and data relating to place - geo-data - are vital for achieving efficiency savings, according to a survey of users.
The survey, conducted by the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, found the majority of polled organisations saw data and software as central to the delivery of efficiency savings demanded by the coalition government.
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Simon Doyle, chairman of the AGI GeoCommunity 2010, told Computer Weekly that it was important to ensure place data was not "compromised, lost or switched off" during government cuts and IT service reviews.
"The value of geo-data is increasing, now that organisations are facing and making tougher choices. They are seeing data as an important asset to inform these choices. Geo-data is at the heart of every business or government department and enables the right choices to be made to increase operational efficiency and to focus on delivering effective front-line services," Doyle said.
The survey, which polled more than 100 public and private sector organisations, also found 96% of organisations saw geographic information as a business enabler. In addition, 73% of respondents believe better use of data is imperative over the next year.
Doyle said an increased emphasis on cloud computing and reliance on free data found on the internet, such as Google Maps, would stifle the development of data and software crucial to business decision-making processes.
"Worryingly, a lack of a data strategy can lead to inefficient storage and retrieval of information; higher cost, as data is purchased more than once or not re-used, and also the inaccurate understanding and interpretation of that information within decision making processes," said Doyle.
"People become lazy and rely on the first thing they find on the internet. It's important to consider its fitness for purpose," he added.
Defra launched the UK Location Council last year to promote the importance of protecting location information and a UK location data strategy.