Housing data has its origin in real-world needs – the needs of the community, of developers, of the environment – all of which legislation and regulation tries to balance.
Legislation gives rise to what we term land and housing ‘concerns’, of which there are more than 300.
- “constraints” for planning (eg tree preservation orders)
- “charges” for conveyancing
These concerns are legislation’s attempts to address real world needs. People involved with land and housing must submit data to comply with these concerns.
Points of friction
Legislation lays out some requirements for each concern. It doesn’t dictate specifics on how and what is submitted: exact fields and labelling, order, format, licence etc. Many different organisations submit data, so there’s very little consistency. How often data is updated is also inconsistent and often unclear. These points of friction make data difficult to find, use and trust.
One solution to overcoming data inconsistency is to map the useful data from individual publications into datasets that are consistent. Doing this work after the fact is inefficient and time consuming. We’re developing guides and tools to make it less so. The Digital Land Explorer demonstrates how data that’s been mapped can be used.
A better solution is to fix data at the source. Policymakers working with legislation can work with data modellers to set standards, but to be fit-for-purpose standards must meet validated needs of users.