[Talk-GB] The Guardian asks: "What will you do with Ordnance Survey's data?"

Martin - CycleStreets list-osm-talk-gb at cyclestreets.net
Fri Mar 26 21:24:28 GMT 2010

A somewhat premature and speculative article, I think, but surely this 
raises huge questions for OSM in the UK? Apologies if I have missed 
discussion or am looking on the wrong list..



What will you do come April 1, when Ordnance Survey goes free?

Posted by Charles Arthur, Friday 26 March 2010 17.52 GMT

You hadn't heard? You should have. In a big victory for the Free Our Data 
campaign, Gordon Brown has announced that various sets of OS data - 
presently expected to be vector and raster datasets from 1:25,000 up to 
1:50,000 maps will be made available for free reuse, including commercial 

That's going to create the possibility of paper maps created using OS data, 
but which are tailored to specific niche uses - rambling, climbing, 
canoeing, horse-riding, tourism, say.

Then there are all the potential online uses - which the Show Us A Better 
Way competition, and its winners, could exploit in all sorts of ways that 
they weren't able to before.

One of the key changes that's expected to take effect is the removal of the 
"derived data" restriction - under which Ordnance Survey claimed that if 
you used its maps (physical or digital) to create a dataset, then it had 
copyright on the new product. Broadly like Microsoft claiming a share on 
the royalties for your book because you wrote it with Word. (Not exactly, 
of course, because you generally need a map to view the map-derived 

The "derived data" argument has been one of the fiercest, if out of sight 
of most consumers, in the geographic world. Local government didn't like it 
at all, as we explained in November 2008.

The other interesting question is whether OpenStreetMap will incorporate 
the released OS data - expected to go under a Creative Commons Attribution 
licence - into its database. That would at a stroke mean that it will cover 
the whole of Britain. (OSM will, we're sure, want to wait until it sees the 
precise details of the licences and the datasets to comment.)

But we're definitely interested to hear how you'd like to see the OS data 

The details of how the release of this data haven't been released either, 
but my understanding is that it will receive direct funding from the 
Treasury, which has made a financial commitment to cover the revenue lost 
from selling those datasets - reckoned to be about £20m. That still leaves 
the OS's large-scale MasterMap as a paid-for product, producing about £80m 
of revenue, and a good - lion's? - share of its profits.

The other question is what will happen to the traditional OS maps. We 
expect to have more on that next week.

But for now - what would you do with those datasets?


Martin,                     **  CycleStreets - For Cyclists, By Cyclists
Developer, CycleStreets     **  http://www.cyclestreets.net/

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