Linked Data for Location

{Please note that this page is still under development v1.0c}

As a strong supporter of Linked Data for location data - I often get asked for orientation information or examples of who is doing what. So I hope that this page(s) helps you find what you are looking for and is able to take you to somewhere there are examples or further information to help you get started.

Early work on the Digital National Framework [1999 - 2011] aimed to reuse location data and the idea of using a URL was there early on; there are numerous common concepts across what we were trying to do with the DNF and Linked Data. Linked Data has brought with it the generic web solution along with data communities and today it carries the DNF spirit forward.

In Europe the INSPIRE Directive requires the publication of location data online and provides examples [see references below] to publish location data in Linked Data form.


Consider a situation where you had to build a [web] application that required the integration of a number of regularly updated datasets held by several organisations. Location data would be one of these datasets, say addresses, or land parcels. One or more of the datasets could be data that your organisation collects and maintained

The traditional approach would be to build a database, load up the various datasets and establish table joins across the datasets. Once the database is up and running you can then start building the application. On a regular basis, daily-weekly-monthly?, you would need to update the datasets in your database.

Imagine an alternative solution where all the datasets were already published on the web, with each data item accessible individually and updated to a given timetable by the organisations who collect and maintain the data. You could publish your own data in the same way (or privately if it contains sensitive eg personal information). Someone may have built some cross reference tables for the existing data already and you could reuse those. You could then add some more cross references [links] to support your application needs and build the web application.

The second scenario has clear attractions since a lot of the work has been done for you, you are also feeding off definitive source data which ideally will also be maintained. Hence your application will easier to establish, cheaper to build and maintain and more reliable. Linked Data offers this opportunity.

How does Linked Data help location data?

  • Geographic Features/Spatial Objects are publushed as discrete feature on the web
  • Application/business data can be linked to the location data
  • Web applications can be built on top of these datasets and linkages
  • New data can be added, modified or retained even after demolition in a managed environment

Why use Linked Data for location data?

  • Publish once (eg an address) - use many times > the holy grail of data publishers and users
  • Easy accessibilty promotes greater reuse of data/datasets
  • Location data and all other types of data eg rainfall records can be linked (by triples)
  • Use the same API as any other data community - eveyone using the same API will accelerate development
  • Obtain the data from the definitive source publisher
  • Data maintenance mechanisms can be added
  • Data quality improvement loops can be added

Who is publishing & using Linked Data for location data?

  • UK Public Sector: Environment Agency, HM Land Registry, Office for National Statistics, Ordnance Survey,
  • UK: Private Sector: BBC
  • UK: Third sector:
  • International:
  • Diagram link - to add:


  • Prepare your data [model: .....]
  • Publish your data online [servoce, URI, metadata, formats.....]
  • Topic 3
  • Topic 4


  • Tools
  • Web & bandwidth
  • Topic 3
  • Topic 4


Date Orientation material
20140114 UK: Linked Data orientation page
20140114 BBC: an easy going intro to linked data
20140416 John Goodwin's Blog with examples
20140416 OGC page for GeoSPARQL
20140416 Andrew Woolf [Australia] slides - Geo-Linked Data
Date International & National developments
20140206 INSPIRE Directive Generic Conceptual Model: Section on URI's (see Annex H)
20140206 INSPIRE Directive: Encoding Guidelines: Section on URI's (see Annex C)
20140114 UK: who is doing what?
20140114 Australian Bureau of Meteorology Experimental work
Date Linked Data suppliers
20140206 Ordnance Survey [GB] - linkeddata platform & datasets
20140310 Office for National Statistics [ONS - Statistics UK] - linked data announcement & datasets
20140310 HM Land Registry [HMLR] - linked data portal on & datasets
20140310 Environment Agency [England &Wales] - linked data portal on & datasets
20140206 W3 group on linked data & list of datasets
Date Linked data - Application examples
20140310 UK Legislation web site [based on linked data]
20140206 Environment Agency: Bathing Water Application

Updated KJM 14 April 2014