Ordnance Survey reaches open data milestone

The number of times OS OpenData has been downloaded since its April 2010 launch has now exceeded the one million mark.

OS also believe that millions of people come into contact with and benefit from OS OpenData each day, as a result of its use across the public sector and its inclusion in most digital maps of Great Britain. Yet it is not just Google, Bing, OpenStreetMap and navigational devices from the likes of TomTom and OS Partner Garmin that are using OS OpenData to good effect.

David Henderson, OS’s Head of Data Products, explains: “With OS OpenData you can overlay information and integrate it with other data and software, and visualising information this way has become integral to a spectrum of applications —particularly in relation to the delivery of public services, high-level planning, retail and logistics.”

OS’s data has also been popular with entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Using OS OpenData, Pan Studios developed Run an Empire, a strategy gaming app, to be released later this year, that encourages gamers to leave their sofa and take gaming into the real world.

The Green Alchemist uses OS OpenData to make the recycling of waste materials simpler, more accessible and financially rewarding for businesses who sign up to the scheme.

The GeoCraft project uses OS OpenData within Minecraft as a teaching aid for teachers and a learning tool for students.

Groundwork London’s Green Space Mapper uses OS OpenData in an online consultation and surveying tool for residents and professionals to capture information about their green spaces.

City Farmers help local government and communities engage with food growing, education and other sustainability issues through data, mapping and activism.

David Henderson says: “There are a number of reasons for OS OpenData’s widespread use. Firstly, OS has a global reputation for high quality and innovation, built on a heritage of over two hundred years of map making. Maps convey an enormous amount of information that can be taken in with just one glance. Compare the visualisation of information on a map to sitting through a PowerPoint presentation, or wading through the pages of an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document, and it is easy to see why business is now using maps in a big way – a picture really does say a thousand words.

“We also anticipated that developers unfamiliar with OS data and digital mapping products might need help and support, so over the past five years have held regular OS OpenData Masterclasses in towns and cities across Great Britain. This exposure to OS’s practical help has made it easier for developers to use OS OpenData, to experiment with it, to build with it, to integrate it with their own datasets and software.

“For OS, this has been more than simply making some of our data available for free. It is a commitment to developing and stimulating the economy through digital innovation and to making the licensing of all OS data easier for use. Publishing and maintaining high quality open data on this level is a response to a rapidly changing digital marketplace – a critical component that is sure to help the UK maintain its global position as the leader in open data.

Ordnance Survey launched four new open data products on 24 March which received over 10,000 downloads in the first 24hrs.

All OS OpenData products are FREE to view, download and use for commercial, educational and personal purposes. Visit www.os.uk/opendata

Head of Media

Email: Robert.andrews@os.uk

About Us

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain's national mapping authority, keeping 460 million geographical features updated to provide an accurate picture of the country. We collect, maintain and distribute the most accurate and up-to-date geographic information (GI) of the whole country that government, business and individuals all rely upon. From our surveyors on the ground, measuring and tracking changes; our planes that maintain our aerial photography of Great Britain; data technology specialists who build and maintain our bespoke IT systems; and product experts redefining how customers can benefit from our data, we all have one vision: to be the content provider of choice for location-based information. Our iconic maps are one of our most recognised brands, but these days digital data accounts for 93% of our business. Demand for accurate, accessible, high-quality GI has never been so high. Our database holds an entire digital map of the country with 460 million features and we work day-in, day-out to keep it up-to-date. We build products to meet our customers' needs and support our emergency services with vital road and land information, and provide data to utility companies to make sure you can get water and gas supplies to your home. From ensuring optimum routes for refuse collection to getting your shopping to your door – our work is all around you.SpecialtiesGeographical information, Web services, Cartography, Leisure maps, Geospatial data management, Surveying, Innovation, GeoVation, GIS, Paper maps, Digital maps


For OS, this has been more than simply making some of our data available for free. It is a commitment to developing and stimulating the economy through digital innovation and to making the licensing of all OS data easier for use
David Henderson, OS’s Head of Data Products