EDINA has again calculated the commercial cost of all the data downloaded and maps created for printing in all Digimap Collections for the period August 2014 to July 2015. This was done per subscribing institution and then totalled; the grand total is approximately £77.25 million. This estimate is a conservative one because we reduce the quantity of data downloaded by 60% to account for duplication of usage. When all the maps printed and data downloaded were included in the calculation (i.e assuming users would continue to take their own data and maps, and not share them) this total rises to almost £128.5 million.
We know that some data is downloaded multiple times within an institution, for example by students during a class exercise or by individual researchers working on the same study site. We found that on average only 40% of the data taken from Digimap over a period of time was unique within an institution. We believe that if institutions were paying commercial rates for their data they would be more likely to download it once and circulate it to those who need it; this is why we reduce the amount of data included in our calculation. However, there is considerable variation between institutions as to how much is unique; those that do more research or are smaller in size tend to have a greater proportion of unique downloads (i.e. fewer people downloading the same areas, for example, for the same study site), so we have included the 100% figure as a ceiling value.
In total, over the past five academic years over £435 million (£248 million at 40%) worth of print maps and data has been served up from Digimap to subscribing institutions. The steep increase in 2013-14 was caused by more Ordnance Survey products being downloaded and printed than ever before and also by the high commercial costs of several products added to the Geology Digimap service. The upward trend in the total commercial costs has continued in 2014-15, though at a steadier rate, however we are seeing the same year on year growth in the number of logins to the service.
How the Costs are Calculated
The costs used in our calculations for the data are sampled from the list prices published by a range of data suppliers, and include any relevant multipliers or discounts declared publicly on their websites.
Each data product is assessed individually because many are priced differently. The obvious example is OS MasterMap, which is charged on the basis of the TOID density per square kilometre. TOID density changes according to the area mapped. Each product is price-checked annually against a range of suppliers.
We calculate the values on a per product / per institution basis, with the data preparation and licensing charges assigned only once per product, per institution (rather than per data request). Many of the data collections are commercially licensed based on the number of users who have access to the data; with increasing numbers of users a multiplier is applied to a base cost. We applied the relevant multipliers according to the number of active registered users for each Collection at an institution.
We capped data costs at the price of national coverage for each product, making it impossible to assign greater cost for any one product than it would be to supply the entire dataset for use by a whole institution.
The values for the print maps (including saved maps in all Roam applications) are calculated by finding the cheapest commercially available map prints from websites such as eMapsite, NLS and FiND.
What We Didn’t Include
No monetary values were assigned to the millions of screen maps that are produced from Digimap. The value calculated also doesn’t take into account any of the help materials, training courses and support facilities that are all part of the Digimap service. Many commercial service providers may charge an additional fee for this part of the service.
All OpenData products (both prints and data downloads) are excluded from the calculation, despite the advantages of producing them from Digimap over other websites.
However, the biggest saving that isn’t included in these value calculations is your time. We only charged the data supplier’s preparation and licensing costs once per product or order, in line with each company’s policy where it applied. In reality there would be many orders occurring throughout an academic year as new research questions are raised. This all costs time, time spent submitting data requests and waiting for them to return; time to create and manage a repository for spatial data; time to acquire the knowledge on how to use the data you receive. Commercial providers mitigate these delays but may charge fees for the convenience. By providing 24 hour access to high quality data, customisable maps and detailed support materials through purpose built interfaces, Digimap saves this time and expense for its users.
Digimap avoids students, academics and support staff having to wait longer than necessary for the information they need and the instruction on how to use it.
We will be sending out each institution’s data cost calculations to Digimap site representatives. If you are interested in the commercial costs of the maps and data your institution has been using please contact your site representative. If you are unsure who your site representative is, please contact us:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: 0131 650 3302