On 23 December 2009, the Government published a consultation paper on policy options for geographic information from Ordnance Survey. The purpose of this consultation was to seek views about how to best implement proposals made by the Prime Minister on 17 November 2009, to make certain Ordnance Survey datasets available for free with no restrictions on re-use. This was part of the PM's vision for the role of
public data and information in the delivery of Smarter Government that would empower citizens with better public services and a thriving private sector market based on the data that government produces.
A response to the Governemnt consultation on making Ordance Survey (mapping) datasets available for use and re-use is available on the CLG website.
Key points from the consultation are:
A package of datasets will be made freely available to the public and will be released under the product name OS OpenData™.
The datasets that are released as part of OS OpenData will continue to be maintained by Ordnance Survey to a high and consistent standard. To ensure the product set remains relevant and continues to fulfil its objectives, it is envisaged that this product set will be reviewed periodically by an expert panel appointed by government and reporting to CLG Ministers.
The OS OpenData will include
• OS Street View®
• 1:50 000 Gazetteer
• 1:250 000 Scale Colour Raster
• OS LocatorTM
• Code-Point® Open
• Meridian™ 2
• OS VectorMap™ District (available 1 May 2010)
• Land-Form PANORAMA®
The OS VectorMap™ District dataset is a new product and is available in both raster and vector formats. It is designed to be a flexible and customisable product specifically designed for use on the web. It will enable developers to select, customise and modify maps to their specific requirements.
OS OpenData products will be available from 1 April 2010 in hard media and as an on-line service at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendata
In addition OS OpenData will include an on-line viewing service of a selection of the OS OpenData topographic products.
This initiative continues the trend in making public data public (over 30000 datasets now available through the http://www.data.gov.uk portal) and will no doubt spawn the develpment of a whole new raft of innovative mashups, widgets and apps by social innovators. Exciting times!