Ordnance Survey - English
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OS OpenData is three months old

Since OS OpenData launched on 1 April 2010, there has been a huge range of different uses for the data, from mapping elephants across London to adding road routing information with potential benefits for the emergency services.

The most downloaded product in the last three months has been OS Street View, with OS Vector Map District (which was released in May) swiftly catching up. Spatial Geographic Services and Applications Limited (SGSA Ltd) is using OS Street View as a base before adding road routing information, which could be vitally important to our emergency services.

Ron Linton from SGSA Ltd explains, “What I am doing is incorporating all the road routing information: not only traffic-calming data but also information on one‑way streets, steep hills, gates, fords, no entries and so on; which will help when planning the best routes, whether it is for the emergency services, delivery companies or someone using their satnav on holiday.”

The huge variety of applications of OS OpenData have seen the locations of pharmacies and train stations across Great Britain being mapped – using  1:250 000 Scale Colour Raster and Code-Point Open – and can be seen at data.gov.uk. Meanwhile, councils are using the datasets to show residents the nearest recycling facilities or latest planning applications. One of the more unusual uses has been to map the position of 250 brightly painted elephants across central London this summer.

The Elephant Family charity’s annual Elephant Parade highlights the crisis faced by the endangered Asian elephant, and Lovell Johns created a user-friendly map for the charity. The map shows the elephant locations to help visitors to London find them around the capital. The map is based on OS Street View with added illustrations for the major London landmarks and the elephants added by georeferencing the postcodes.

Peter ter Haar, Ordnance Survey’s Director of Products, said, “We’ve been really excited watching the success of OS OpenData over the last three months and listening to the buzz it’s created in the geographic information world and beyond. Now we’re actually seeing our data being used in a myriad of new ways and benefitting charities, businesses and individuals.”

OS 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 OS OpenSpace API (application programming interface).

Ordnance Survey is keen to receive examples of OS OpenData in action and how the data is benefiting people across Great Britain. Anyone using the service should contact them via their website or on opendata@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

You can find out more about OS OpenData on our website.

Notes to editors

  1. Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping agency, providing the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data, relied on by government, business and individuals.
  2. Ordnance Survey, the OS Symbol, Code-Point, OS, OS OpenSpace and Street View are registered trademarks and OS OpenData and OS VectorMap are trademarks of Ordnance Survey.
  3. To download this news release, visit http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/media. There you can also subscribe to our RSS news feed.


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