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Ordnance Survey updates free data portal

UK: Ordnance Survey’s free data portal, OS OpenData, is being upgraded to make it even easier for developers and entrepreneurs to create and customise maps.

The new advances to the popular portal, include the release of a fully maintained height dataset, an enhanced version of OS VectorMap District and a new cartographic styling package. The advances will make OS OpenData products easier, even more accurate and more flexible to use. It will enable users to create and customise different maps and give them more options to display their data.

OS OpenData is an online portal from Ordnance Survey, which was launched in April 2010, providing free and unrestricted access to a large range of mapping datasets.

Under the new upgrade package, which will be implemented by April 2013, users will be able to access a new fully maintained height product called OS Terrain 50. The new product, which has a similar resolution to Land-Form PANORAMA, will enable users to access an advanced product with consistently maintained height content for the whole of Great Britain. Land-Form PANORAMA was an unmaintained product and was last updated in the 1990s. The new product will give users more confidence in the currency of the data and will be supplied in additional formats, making it far more accessible.

Another product being upgraded is OS VectorMap District. The new dataset will replace the current beta version with a fully maintained product release, which will include product updates every six months. Several improvements have been made to the product following user feedback, including an improved cartographic style, new ‘look and feel’ and additional data formats.

In addition to the new cartographic styling of OS VectorMap District, two other popular products have been restyled to create a consistent look and feel across all datasets. Both Strategi and Meridian 2 will have a new cartographic style from the New Year to complement OS VectorMap District. It is intended that the developments will significantly enhance the usability of the products and deliver a product portfolio which is consistent through a series of mapping scales. This will provide greater interaction with the maps, whilst maintaining the up-to-date and reliable quality of the data.

In the New Year, Ordnance Survey will also be releasing a set of Styled Layered Descriptors, meaning that users can access, for free, online style sheets for OS OpenData products. The new style sheets will make it easier for users to ‘plug in and play’ and build Ordnance Survey maps into their Intranet web services or GIS.

Source: OS