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New Ordnance Survey Linked Data service proving popular with developers

16 July 2013

Developers using Ordnance Survey’s OS OpenData products have been busy accessing the organisation’s new Linked Data service.

The enhanced Linked Data service, which provides more flexibility and ease when using the free geographic datasets, is proving popular with hundreds of developers already accessing datasets and the new features. In the first month the new site received over 5,000 visits and 13,000 page views.

Ordnance Survey began to explore the world of Linked Data following the launch of OS OpenData in April 2010. Early developments in this specialist field saw the national mapping authority publish a number of OS OpenData products as Linked Data, including the 1:50 000 Scale Gazetteer, Code-Point Open and the administrative geography for Great Britain taken from Boundary-Line.

John Goodwin, Principal Scientist at Ordnance Survey, commented: “Linked Open Data in essence is freely available data, structured in a way that computers can understand and interpret. The Linked Data web is not just about connecting datasets, but about linking information at the level of a single statement or fact. The idea behind the Linked Data web is to use URIs, these are like URLS, to identify things such as people, places and organisations, and to then use web technology to provide some meaningful and useful information when those URIs are looked up.

“Geographic data has an important role to play in the future use of Linked Data. Location-based information often has a clear link to many other datasets, providing either a backdrop map or analytical options through search and boundary datasets.”

The enhanced Ordnance Survey Linked Data service gives developers new features and opportunities to build applications and websites using geographic information. The easy to use service delivers greater user experience through a variety of new features. These include:

  • A new data hub providing easy access to all Ordnance Survey’s OS OpenData Linked Data datasets.
  • New bulk download option for all three OS OpenData Linked Data products
  • Separate datasets, which will allow you to narrow down and filter searches. For example, if you are looking for postcode information, you can query just the Code-Point Open Linked dataset.
  • Embedded OS OpenSpace map to show the geographic location of your chosen datasets.
  • Improved metadata for each dataset such as publication dates, licensing terms and coverage.
  • SPARQL 1.1 compliant endpoints for all datasets, which provide more functionality for querying our Linked Data.
  • Redesigned search API, based on the OpenSearch specification and with support for geography-based queries.
  • Support for the Open Refine Reconciliation API, which will allow you to more easily link your data with ours.
  • All new API documentation and interactive tools for all API’s, including integrated example resources and queries.

John added: “The ability to quickly link to other data sets without the need for lots of human processing, means improved data quality, shortened development cycles and significantly reduced maintenance costs. It is encouraging to see enterprises and organisations beginning to realise a return on investment on their Linked Open Data projects. I am looking forward to seeing more developers using Linked Data and geographic information to underpin and enhance their products and services.”

If Linked Data is new to you and you want to find out more visit Ordnance Survey’s new Linked Data service at: http://data.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/. Here you can view a postcode or placename as Linked Data - as a starting point you might like to look up the postcode for Ordnance Survey’s Head Office at: http://data.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/id/postcodeunit/SO160AS.

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