Frequently asked questions

The Spatial Hub is a collection of systems & applications hosted on cloud infrastructure to allow:

  • Data Collection: By developing strong relationships with local and national park authority data custodians and specialists we ensure that they regularly provide their raw spatial data to the Spatial Hub using a simple upload or web service registration process.

  • Data Processing: The collected data are periodically processed, quality assessed, and amalgamated into national datasets using data manipulation products and transformational techniques and processes.

  • Data Publication: Coherent national datasets are published as web services (both Web Feature and Web Map) and as downloads. Metadata records for the national datasets are maintained on the Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure (SSDI) and SpatialHub Datasets

The Spatial Hub provides access to three types of user:

  • Public: Anyone can access our progress pages and see details about which datasets we currently collect and publish. In the first instance, they can only access the OGL (Open Government Licenced) datasets. Requests for other datasets should be forwarded to the Spatial Hub helpdesk
  • Data contributors: Only registered people responsible for Scottish local and national park authority data can access the data upload application. They are provided Log-in credentials (i.e. username & password) to do this.
  • Data consumers: Organisations that are members of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) can consume the published national datasets by acquiring an authentication key. People from non-PSGA organisations cannot currently access the datasets. However, the datasets are now available to the academic sector via EDINA’s Digimap service. We will continue to work on finding other workable solutions to enable other organisations to access the data. Please contact us us for further details.

  • If you have forgotten your username and/or password go to password reset to reset your password. If you don’t remember your username, contact us .

    If you have forgotten your authentication key please contact us.

    To access the data of a published national dataset navigate to the Datasets section of the Spatial Hub web portal and navigate to your dataset of interest. You then have several options. You can view the Metadata or a Preview image of the map. But to access the data itself to use in a suitable (usually GIS) application you can click Download or Web Services. Open Datasets are accessible immediately. Non-open datasets require you to enter your organisation’s authentication key, which can be requested via the registration page.

    Yes. To preview the published national datasets navigate to the Spatial Hub Data Preview page. This map allows you to zoom to different areas of Scotland and turn on and off any of our published national datasets to view its features. The preview map does not allow you to obtain any attribute information from our datasets. Attribution is only available via the dataset’s download or web services (accessible using your organisation’s authentication key).

    Yes. The Improvement Service has a good relationship with Ordnance Survey and is constantly discussing any licencing issues to do with their derived data. Therefore there are no restrictions on any data that you upload to the Spatial Hub.

    INSPIRE is an EU Directive, written into Scottish law in 2009, that dictates that all public sector organisations must publish their environmental spatial datasets as discovery services i.e. metadata records, view services i.e. web map services, and download services i.e. web feature services. INSPIRE also specifies data transformations, though these are very complex so we are taking a pragmatic approach to this aspect. The Spatial Hub will meet all of Scottish local and national park authority’s INSPIRE obligations so long as they keep supplying us with up-to-date data.

    Yes. The Spatial Hub will publish INSPIRE compliant national datasets on local authority’s behalf.

    Currently, the data will only be available to PSGA organisations, apart from those datasets that we have made available under Open Government Licence. SGN now have a reciprocal data sharing agreement in place, which enables sharing of their data with local government and vice versa, via the Spatial Hub.

    Yes. Within the data upload pages on the Spatial Hub there is the option to connect to existing WFS rather than upload zip folders or datasets. This is actually the preferred method of accessing data for the Spatial Hub.

    No, not yet. Initially we are collecting some of the more important and common datasets and ensuring that our processes are suitable for maintaining them. However, we realise that there are many more datasets that need publishing so we will be taking a more proactive and flexible approach to acquiring data in the future.

    All data that is published as part of the Spatial Hub will have a corresponding entry in the Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure Metadata Catalogue. There are direct links to each dataset’s metadata record on the GET DATA pages and we now ‘pull across’ various elements of the metadata into the GET DATA page to help inform our users.

    Not without discussing with the Improvement Service first and gaining approval. Because the Spatial Hub is not being funded to create and publish open data, we have had to licence most of the datasets so that they can be made commercially available. Therefore, we cannot jeopardise any commercial returns by allowing the data to be openly published (and potentially accessed) elsewhere. However, we accept that many public sector organisations have a clear need to display Spatial Hub datasets on their web maps. Where we deem necessary, we will provide an alternative web feature service (which contains very limited attribution and a restricted zoom) that can be used in this way by an PSGA organisation. These organisations will need to ensure that they have done everything possible to prevent the WFS URL being obtained and used by unauthorised users. Our licencing terms and conditions will also help to protect the datasets, should they be misused by unauthorised parties.

    Yes. In the first instance, the data is available to all members of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) for which a licence for sharing is not required. To share data with other partners the appropriate licences (usually an OS Contractor Licence) needs to be in place.

    You should use the following text: “Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right {current year} and Scottish local authority data from the Spatial Hub”. You may also need to include your OS licence number if you are using OS data as a backdrop.

    Provided your intended use of the data is for non-commercial purposes, you should contact the Spatial Hub explaining which datasets you’d like to access and for what purpose. If we approve the request, we will supply you with a time-limited authentication key allowing you to access the data. The data will be provided under an end user licence.

    Yes.We now have a partnership agreement in place with University of Edinburgh’s EDINA and Spatial Hub data is now available via their DigiMap service.

    The old contribution matrix did not meet new website accessibility criteria. Therefore, for the time being, it has been hidden from public view. However, we can provide an image of the current data contribution matrix on request. Longer term, we are considering how best to communicate various aspects (as well as completion) of Spatial Hub data quality.

    Data quality is potentially a huge area of consideration due to the different levels of granularity, context, dimensions and criteria that it could cover. The easiest aspect for the Spatial Hub to measure is national dataset completion and we have a contribution matrix in the Spatial Hub back end that can easily show this. Send an e-mail to: if you’d like to see the current view. When local authority data is processed into national data a series of arbitrary ‘quality assurance’ tests (covering both geometry and attribution) are made. The results of these tests, which represent certain aspects of the data that may need improving, are presented as a dashboard back to data providers (against the uploaded resources). Work is ongoing, in discussion with various national initiatives, to define how data quality could and should be described better using metadata.