Frequently asked questions

What is the Spatial Hub?

The Spatial Hub is a collection of systems & applications hosted on cloud infrastructure to allow:

  • Data Collection: By developing strong relationships with local authority data custodians and specialists we ensure that they regularly provide their raw spatial data to the Spatial Hub using a simple upload or web service registration process.
  • Data Processing: The collected data are periodically processed, quality assessed, and amalgamated into national datasets using data manipulation products and transformational techniques and processes.
  • Data Publication: Coherent national datasets are published as web services (both Web Feature and Web Map) and as downloads. Metadata records for the national datasets are maintained on the Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure (SSDI) and also link to the Spatial Hub GET DATA page.

How can I access the Spatial Hub?

The Spatial Hub provides access to three types of user:

  • Public: Anyone can access our progress pages and see details about which datasets we currently collect and publish. They can only actively use the OGL (Open Government Licenced) datasets.
  • Data contributors: Only people responsible for Scottish local authority data can access the data uploading application by acquiring Log-in credentials (i.e. username & password).
  • Data consumers: Organisations that are members of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) can consume the published national datasets by acquiring an authentication key.

I have forgotten my Log-in credentials.

If you have forgotten your username and/or password go to log in/out and click the reset password button. If you don’t remember your username, contact us.

I have forgotten my Authentication key.

If you have forgotten your authentication key please contact us.

How do I access a published national dataset?

To access the data of a published national dataset navigate to the Get Data section of the Spatial Hub web portal and navigate to your dataset of interest. You then have several options. You can view the Metadata or a Preview image of the map. But to access the data itself to use in a suitable (usually GIS) application you can click Download or Web Services. Open Datasets are accessible immediately. Non-open datasets require you to enter your organisation’s authentication key, which can be requested via the registration page.

Can I preview a dataset?

Yes. To preview the published national datasets navigate to the Spatial Hub Data Preview page. This map allows you to zoom to different areas of Scotland and turn on and off any of our published national datasets to view its features. The preview map does not allow you to obtain any attribute information from our datasets. Attribution is only available via the dataset’s download or web services (accessible using your organisation’s authentication key).

My local authority's data were created using OS base mapping (e.g. OS Mastermap). Can I still upload it?

Yes. The Improvement Service has a good relationship with Ordnance Survey and is constantly discussing any licencing issues to do with their derived data. Therefore there are no restrictions on any data that you upload to the Spatial Hub.

What is INSPIRE and what am I expected to do?

INSPIRE is an EU Directive, written into Scottish law in 2009, that dictates that all public sector organisations must publish their environmental spatial datasets as discovery services i.e. metadata records, view services i.e. web map services, and download services i.e. web feature services. INSPIRE also specifies data transformations, though these are very complex so we are taking a pragmatic approach to this aspect. The Spatial Hub will meet all of Scottish local authority’s INSPIRE obligations so long as they keep supplying us with up-to-date data.

If I upload my local authority's data will it meet my INSPIRE obligations?

Yes. The Spatial Hub will publish INSPIRE compliant national datasets on local authority’s behalf.

If I upload my local authority's data who will be accessing it?

Currently, the data will only be available to OSMA partner organisations, apart from those datasets that we have made available under Open Government Licence. Once issues around licensing and charging are agreed, the data should be available to the wider data community.

My local authority already publishes its data as a WFS. Can the Spatial Hub connect to this?

Yes. Within the data upload pages on the Spatial Hub there is the option to connect to existing WFS rather than upload zip folders or datasets. This is actually the preferred method of accessing data for the Spatial Hub.

My local authority has lots of other dataset that it needs to publish under INSPIRE. Can I upload these now?

No, not yet. Initially we are collecting some of the more important and common datasets and ensuring that our processes are suitable for maintaining them. However, we realise that there are many more datasets that need publishing so we will be taking a more proactive and flexible approach to acquiring data in the future.

What relationship does the Spatial Hub have with the SSDI (Scottish spatial data infrastructure)?

All data that is published as part of the Spatial Hub will have a corresponding entry in the Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure Metadata Catalogue. There are direct links to each dataset’s metadata record on the GET DATA pages and we now ‘pull across’ various elements of the metadata into the GET DATA page to help inform our users.

Can I share the Spatial Hub data with partners?

Yes. In the first instance, the data is available to all members of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) for which a licence for sharing is not required. To share data with other partners the appropriate licences (usually an OS Contractor Licence) needs to be in place.