Ordnance Survey


Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde consider a new Geospatial Commission 6

It’s November, it’s budget time, it’s that moment when geo-geeks and OpenData enthusiasts scour the hundreds of pages of budget pronouncements searching for phrases like “Ordnance Survey”, “Land Registry” and “Open Data”. It’s amazing how often we have got a mention in the budget or spending review publications over the past decade, you’d think that with all of the challenges that the country has faced since the crash of 2008 that the Chancellor would have […]


The next PSMA may reshape Ordnance Survey 3

This advert recruiting for a “Head of Public Sector Mapping & Addressing Agreements Team” reminded me that the current Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA for OS geeks and followers) is coming up for renegotiation with a deadline of end 2017 (presumably the new renegotiated agreement will come into effect on 1st April 2018). This a 2 year contract at a fairly senior level: We are looking for someone with strong commercials skills and ideally experience […]


Why OS refuses an exemption request

A few weeks ago I wrote about Ordnance Survey’s response to my FoI request regarding data exemptions and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the high proportion of requests that were granted. The FoI response left a gap as far as I was concerned so I asked a follow up question “You state that refusals were because OS “considered the risk of release of the dataset, to OS or our partners, outweighed the positive […]


Ordnance Survey are pretty damn good at Derived Data exemptions 1

For those who are not clued up about the fine detail of derived data and exemption requests, the OS maintains that some data sets produced by it’s licensees may incorporate elements of OS data and thus be classified as derived data. If this is the case (most frequently where OS geometry is directly traced in the licensee’s data e.g. BLPU’s and planning application boundaries) then the licensee needs to request a derived data exemption under the […]


Drip, drip, drip – OS OpenWashing

Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of the Ordnance Survey and that I have many friends who work there or have worked there. Ordnance Survey’s detail, precision, currency and quality of mapping are the envy of many other countries and most of their staff seem to be dedicated to producing ever improving digital map products as their public task. So you are waiting for the ‘but’ and it is a big ‘but’. There […]


Dear Chancellor 2

The Right Honourable George Osborne 11 Down in the Street London Dear Chancellor I hope you are well. You must be looking forward to putting your feet up and sipping a nice single malt over the weekend after a the excitement of the budget. It’s been a pretty damn good week. Those nice people at OBR found you £27bn which came in pretty handy when you needed to ‘fine tune’ the austerity timetable. Then that amusing John […]


Ooooh – a round thing with spokes! 5

I picked up on the twitter conversation between my friend James Rutter and folk at CycleStreets about an application to Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation program for “a modern interface to UK wide planning application data“- note that OS is offering a share of £101,000 to the winners of this challenge, that’s quite a lot of taxpayer dosh. There was a tooing and froing about whether yet another initiative was needed to aggregate planning information. I have written before […]


Maybe, we shouldn’t create new OpenData? 3

This week I received a mail from Ordnance Survey inviting me to attend a launch of some new OS OpenData For the last few months, we have been very busy creating prototype OS OpenData products:1. OS Gazetteer of Great Britain – consisting of settlement names, road names and numbers and postcodes and their locations.2. OS Street View® – an enhanced street-level product that includes a lot of new map data features and content with an improved […]


Finding the cost of Open Data 2

https://youtu.be/U-Y0SMitMpk Apologies for the oddly targeted adverts in the video above but that’s the cost of free. We don’t have an option to vote or even express opinions on individual items of government expenditure in the UK, so I can’t say I’d like to spend £10bn on rail subsidies or pay 2p in the pound tax on the NHS or on education or 0p on Trident nuclear weapons (I haven’t got a clue whether those […]


And you thought the Address Wars were over? 1

  A few days ago the Royal Mail published some information on their new Pinpoint positional accuracy programme “Location-based information is used by the emergency services, satellite navigation systems and smartphone applications. We want to help improve the accuracy of this information. So, we are mapping address information which is accurate to the front door of every home and business in your area. This could, for example, help the satellite navigation systems in the cars […]


Satnav Summit – haven’t they got anything better to do? 1

I was just thinking it’s a while since I have been prompted to write a blog post and then this morning the Today program has a short feature on Norman Bakers proposed Satnav Summit and I’m awake and frothing (awful thought that you may not want to dwell on for too long). Apparently while the austerity agenda is savaging public services and job prospects across private and public sector  look grim, DfT think we need […]


When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing you can get into a Pickle

Government is a big place, so it isn’t surprising that different departments can have conflicting agendas or not always be completely in the loop about what others are up to. A couple of weeks ago an announcement came out of DCLG that a new wave of council openness was being hailed by Eric Pickles. A Code of Recommended Practice for council transparency is being published and “ministers are minded to make it legally binding” “The code of […]