product making



a northern ireland civil service product suite





Ordnance Survey NI Directorate, Land & Property Services, Department of Finance (The Civil Service of Northern Ireland) has recently completed the new OSNI Fusion national mapping product suite.  It is a product of years of effort from hundreds of staff, not only within LPS, but across the civil service and partnering external third parties. It represents the greatest change to the national database since the 1980s representing the state of the art next generation mapping.

For every piece of geographic information captured, for each section of map data you use, equipment had to be identified and tested, processes had to be created and experimented. It is a collective and civic product.  It aspires to Dieter Ram’s principles of design in addition to having the potential to “get better the more it is used”. It is unrivaled in terms of currency (up-to-dateness), detail, and countrywide comprehensive coverage. As a public sector product, all revenue is reinvested back into advancing the map, staff training, and public sector services. 

Countrywide, over 150 geographic layers, such as road layout, building footprints, and field boundaries, are simplified to one single layer. One way to think of this is Northern Ireland becomes like the world’s largest living jigsaw as it is constantly being amended. Each piece of the earth, a building, a street, a field becomes each a piece of the puzzle. A myriad of benefits exists including the ability to link disparate datasets to any geographic feature and receive automatic notifications if the landscape you are interested in has changed. A project currently being prototyped is attempting to live link as high a percentage as possible of official and authoritative Land Registry, Taxation, Revenues, and Benefits records to the geometry of every single building in the country. Potentially all moments can be recorded against a location on a single tectonic plane.  





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paper, 19th century 





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to digital, 1980s





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+ later web 





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+ abstracted unified single layer (fusion)






Drafting of the Northern Ireland Land & Property Services Geospatial Data Infrastructure Strategy 



In tandem with the above strategy, prototyping:

Linking all official and authoritative Land Registry, Taxation, Revenues, and Benefits, records to the geometry of every single building (linking to the innovative OSNI FUSION GI mapping database) in Northern Ireland. If achieved, NI will be amongst the first countries in the world to achieve this feat in such an intuitive and design based manner delivering a myriad of benefits to the public.

GDPR (an impressive policy instrument) is an essential and effective design tool to support project completion. The project is managed with special consideration of security and privacy to protect members of the public. 



Small project: Maintaining national map currency (up-to-dateness) requires an incredibly complex organization of people and processes.  A very small cog within this system, this project introduced  “pre-built geographic intelligence”  via “professional crowdsourcing” (from other Government sections) allowing LPS to be automatically notified of when certain buildings were ready for survey. Land area c 70% of country. Metadata included e.g. building size – useful to understand in the allocation of finite resources. Process requires further refinement and streamlining.