Skip to main content

Ordnance Survey Maps All Set To Go Online For Free

The ‘Free Our Data’ campaign, which began in March 2006, proved a success as Gordon Brown, at a seminar on making public data public at Downing Street, announced that the government plans to make the Ordnance Survey maps free for use online by any organisation.

Under the plan, Mid-range maps, with resolutions from 1:10,000 upwards, will be made available for re-use, said the Prime Minister.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, who was also present at the seminar, thanked the Prime Minister for making this happen and said that the ‘derived data’ problem, under which the Ordnance Survey (OS) automatically gets rights to any intellectual property created by the OS maps, has also been taken care of under the new terms of use.

Although OS maps are quite respected for their impeccable quality, the price of viewing them online and the ramifications involved in licensing of the maps has been a major hurdle for new entrepreneurs.

The decision to make public data freely accessible, comes under the public service reforms beneath the banner of "Smarter Government" campaign initiated by the Labour government, which by the looks of it, has recognized this move as a potential vote-winner.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.