[Talk-GB] Power Network Open Data

Russ Garrett russ at garrett.co.uk
Sun May 16 16:14:02 UTC 2021

Hi folks,

Recently, Western Power Distribution (who operate the electricity
distribution network in southwest England, south Wales, and most of
the Midlands) released a substantial amount of data under an open

Included in this data are shapefiles with precise location of all
their high-voltage assets (substations, power lines, cables, as well
as connected power generation), which is of particular interest for
OSM (at least for me).

The license is based on OGLv3 - in reality it's a direct copy of OGLv3
with only a few formatting differences. (I wonder if they didn't want
to use OGLv3 because it would give the impression they were the
government.) I have have added them to the Contributors page and
received confirmation from them by email that they are happy with

I've made a raster overlay of this data which can be used as a layer
in OSM editors, along with an example map which gives you a good idea
of the extent of the data:

Here's an example of the level of detail in this data:

The colour scheme in this layer is roughly the same as on
openinframap.org (I had to boost the saturation to make it more
visible when overlaid on aerial imagery).

Further notes:

This only covers the lines which WPD control. The very large power
lines and substations are operated by National Grid and will not be
shown on this map (in the case of substations, WPD may only operate
part of the substation with National Grid operating the rest).
However, these larger sites are generally well-mapped anyway. On the
fringes of WPD's area, they may only operate some of the lines.

I'm filtering out lines which are marked as "Not Connected" or "Not
Energised" in the data. If a line doesn't show up (and it's not a
large National Grid line or close to the edge of WPD's area as covered
above) then it's probably worth retagging as disused:power=line.

I would not endorse mapping the rats nest of 11 kV (blue) underground
cables in cities - I don't think this level of detail is currently
manageable in OSM, and I don't think the raster shows the topology
clearly enough anyway. I have rendered them for completeness and
because they may be of some use outside of cities.

The accuracy of this data seems to be good but I wouldn't use it for
precise alignment (I'm still using the default CRS transform between
OSGB and web mercator).


Russ Garrett
russ at garrett.co.uk

More information about the Talk-GB mailing list