UK: Today, Ordnance Survey has launched OS OpenData, an online portal providing free and unrestricted access to a large range of mapping and geographic information (GI). It 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 OS OpenSpace API (Application Programming Interface). Users can download data at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendata.
The launch follows the announcement by the Prime Minister on 17 November. The project was supported by web-inventors Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt, the Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Head (Research) of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. It aims to support greater transparency and accountability within Government, improve public services and create new economic and social value.
Communities Secretary John Denham welcomed the launch of OS OpenData saying, “This shows that the UK is at the cutting edge of a digital revolution. Increasing access to Ordnance Survey data will attract a new wave of entrepreneurs and result in new solutions to old problems that will benefit us all. It will also drive a new industry, creating new jobs and driving future growth. The changes signal a wider cultural change in Government based on an assumption that information should be in the public domain unless there is a good reason not to – not the other way around.”
OS OpenData, which is being funded by government, is made up of a range of raster and vector mapping datasets. These include the detailed 1:10 000 scale OS Street View, Boundary-Line, which offer customisable views of Britain’s topography. The following datasets are included in OS OpenData, OS Street View, 1: 50 000 Gazetteer, 1: 250 000 Colour Raster, OS Locator, Boundary-Line, Code-Point Open, Meridian 2, Strategi, MiniScale, Land-Form PANORAMA and OS VectorMap District (available May 2010).
Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, said, “Since the release of the public consultation we have seen the launch of data.gov.uk, with over three thousand datasets being 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. I am therefore pleased that Ordnance Survey data, long recognised as world-class, for currency, accuracy and quality, has been identified as having a fundamental role to play in underpinning the future growth of the Smarter Government and Making Public Data Public initiatives.”
Source: Ordnance Survey