Efficient management of Europe’s urban environments requires an efficient means of communicating existing information amongst stakeholders and effective systems that support the capture and storage of newly created data. The production and management of data can be expensive and all too frequently the information contained within the data is used only once.

Whilst advances in technology mean more of the data which is important to city management is increasingly digital there remains a large body of analogue data sources which are expensive to convert into re-usable digital formats. Financial constraints on public bodies have lead to the need to increasingly automate the digitisation of analogue datasets rather than rely on manual checking and conversion.

Databases are a key element of modern both public and private organisations. Numerous databases are designed by to hold organisation or project specific data, this results in the data being locked in numerous, isolated, incompatible databases.

Read the TU1206-WG2.2-003 Data Acquisition & Management report here

City authorities and other stakeholders in urban environments produce and have access to a greater density of data than is often the case in lesser populated areas, however, it is often very difficult to collate all relevant information together in a useful and easily communicated manner. With such a wide spectrum of stakeholder groups, each with specialist requirements and differing levels of knowledge, it is extremely challenging to provide effective communication tools that disseminate geoscience data and models as useable information. Information about the subsurface needs to be made available in ways which are appropriate to each type of consumer, from a geotechnical engineer carrying out a site investigation to a member of the public wanting to know if their house is at risk of flooding.

Arguably the biggest challenges facing those who attempt to understand urban subsurface environments is developing a reliable and affordable strategy for data acquisition, storage, management and communication. Relationships between geological properties and human processes need to be better understood, this requires a greater understanding of interdisciplinary relationships. Geological Survey Organisations (GSOs), and other public bodies, need to incorporate data from external, sometimes commercial, sources in order to see the whole picture and despite advances in technology which have resulted in more data being made available in digital formats, there remains a large body of analogue data sources which are expensive to digitize. Financial constraints on public authorities and the increasing volumes and variability of data generated means that the current labour intensive processes for acquiring subsurface data are unsustainable. In order to minimize manual processing it is necessary for newly acquired data to be captured and communicated between stakeholders using standardized digital formats that support automated processing.

Read more from the report TU1206-WG2.2-003 Data Acquisition & Management report 


Carl Watson


British Geological  Survey (BGS)


Martin Hansen


Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)