UK and Ontario agree to share asset mapping tech

The UK government has agreed to share knowledge and technology for creating digital maps of underground infrastructure with authorities in Ontario, Canada.

Minister for intellectual property, Viscount Camrose signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this year with Kinga Surma, minister of infrastructure with the Government of Ontario.

The MoU sets out a sharing agreement for the knowledge and technology behind the UK’s National Underground Asset Regster (NUAR), a geospatial mapping mapping project that stores the location of underground pipes and cables.

Viscount Camrose said: “I am delighted that the Ontario government has recognised the excellent work that that has been done in the UK by the Geospatial Commission in developing the National Underground Asset Register, and the significant value that the work could bring to Ontario’s infrastructure and economy. This agreement both strengthens the long-standing UK and Ontario relationship, and shows the strength of the geospatial sector in the UK.”

Surma, Ontario’s minister of infrastructure, added: “The Ontario and UK governments have always been great partners, including sharing our collective knowledge and experience in the infrastructure sector.

“With this agreement, we will continue to learn from and collaborate with the Geospatial Commission, so that we can speed-up the delivery of key infrastructure projects in Ontario. I look forward to strengthening this partnership, as our governments explore and implement innovative solutions that support the modern infrastructure needs of our growing communities.”

It’s expected the digital map will revolutionise the way the UK installs, maintains, operates, and repairs its subterranean infrastructure networks.

Once operational, it is envisaged that NUAR will deliver £490m per year (circa £5bn over a decade) of economic growth through increased efficiency, reduced asset strikes (when underground pipes and cables are accidentally damaged), and reduced disruptions for the public and businesses.

The agreement paves the way for the UK’s Geospatial Commission to share best practice and technology from NUAR with Infrastructure Ontario, and the parties will collaborate to improve worker safety, reduce asset strikes, and improve the accuracy of geospatial infrastructure data – using UK technology and knowledge to support Canadian infrastructure.

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