Ordnance Survey has developed OS OpenData, an online portal providing free and unrestricted access to a large range of mapping and geographic information.
OpenData allows users to download a wide range of mapping and geographic information for free reuse direct to their computers, view maps and boundary information for the whole country, and develop web-map applications using Ordnance Survey’s OpenSpace API.
Dan Hughes, sector manager of land and property, Ordnance Survey, explained, “Location is becoming more and more widespread as part of the decision-making process for the entire property sector and this is based on having accurate and up-to-date data.
“We hope that the release of some of our datasets will allow more housing providers to enjoy the benefits of location-based data, whether to support communication, the analysis of complex data or enabling efficiency savings and ultimately to make better decisions.”
The launch of OpenData follows a government announcement in November 2009 that some Ordnance Survey mapping would be made freely available as part of the ‘Making Public Data Public’ initiative. The project, championed by web-inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, aims to support greater transparency and accountability within government, improve public services and create new economic and social value.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee commented, “I am delighted that Ordnance Survey is releasing this data for free reuse. It will help people make fuller use of other government data on data.gov.uk, as well as stimulating innovation in mapping itself.”
OS OpenData, which is being funded by government, comprises a range of datasets, including the detailed 1:10,000-scale OS Street View, Boundary-Line which provides the electoral and administrative geography of the country, as well as Meridian 2 and Strategi which offer customisable views of the UK’s topography. OS VectorMap District, a new mid-scale vector dataset specifically designed to display information on the web, will be available from May 2010.
Vanessa Lawrence, director general and chief executive, Ordnance Survey, said, “We are looking forward to seeing the public’s response to OS OpenData and watching the creation of new applications and services, all underpinned by Ordnance Survey data.
“Since the launch of data.gov.uk, over three thousand datasets have been released on the website. As a result, many people have requested high-quality and well-maintained geographic information to enable data from different sources to be linked.”