UK: Tristram Cary, CEO and chairman of Getmapping complained that it has been frozen out of business opportunities because rival Ordnance Survey (OS) has an unfair advantage. Cary has had to cut jobs as the national mapping agency OS is given free rein to produce maps for central and local government from April.
That is when the Government intends to scrap existing competitive tenders and come to a deal with OS, which is a non-ministerial department, under the auspices of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Award-winning Getmapping – it was the first to create a complete colour aerial photograph of the UK – employs around 50 people.
Cary said, “Ever since we were founded in 1999, we feel we have suffered from unfair competition from OS. In 2002, we took legal action, unsuccessfully, to try to stop OS competing unfairly by creating an exact copy of our aerial photography product using taxpayers money intended for mapping. Now this April, OS is going to be given a 10-year monopoly contract to supply all Government mapping when there are other commercial companies, including Getmapping, ready to offer competitive maps.”
“This means we cannot compete, resulting in us having to shut down our independent cartography business called The People’s Map. We invested over GBP 1 million in that project and it has been completely wasted.”
Cary said he has tried on numerous occasions to meet Baroness Hanham, who is the Minister in charge of OS at the Department of Communities and Local Government, James Arbuthnot, MP for North East Hampshire, has also tried to help Getmapping set up meetings with the Minister, but to no avail.
“It’s very annoying to us that you cannot get politicians to take an interest. You write to them and they pass the letters to OS,” said Cary. “I think this is very damaging to British industry and is making mapping in this country less efficient than it should be,” Carry added.