Supporting the UK’s COVID-19 response – a collaborative approach by Ordnance Survey (OS) and the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

Andrew Cooling, Alistair Calder, Robert Kaleta – Ordnance Survey (OS) &
the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

COVID-19 has brought focus on the critical importance of geography for the integration and analysis of rapidly changing data. The pandemic has brought an urgency and openness to data sharing and working together that has resulted in a great deal of international and cross government cooperation as well as analytical innovation.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Ordnance Survey (the national mapping agency for Great Britain) were already working increasingly closely together – including the joint hosting of EFGS 2019 in Manchester – but COVID-19 response and recovery work has provided the trigger for further innovative work in both organisations and further joint working.

Ordnance Survey has provided the underpinning geographic infrastructure for the UK’s government’s response, while ONS have led on monitoring of deaths and cases and on the surveys required to support our ‘track and trace’ operation. Joint working and co-operation between both organisations has been critical – on pulling together data, joint data science work and on providing support and staff to the emerging UK ‘Joint Biosecurity Centre’.

This session will describe a range of work undertaken in the context of COVID-19 – including identification of risk from particular industries and occupations, the monitoring of waste water for early signs of outbreaks, monitoring of pharma sales, and innovation in simulation of population movements to help model spread.