Changes to the OS OpenData licence

opendata2From today, anyone who visits the OS OpenData site, where they can download a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping for free, will notice something a little different.

That’s because we’ve incorporated the Open Government Licence, the new government wide licence, developed by The National Archives, which enables easy access to public sector information.

The Open Government Licence is a key element of the Government’s commitment to greater transparency. It is the licence used by and provides a single set of terms and conditions for anyone wishing to use or license freely available government information.

The licence is designed so that developers and entrepreneurs wishing to use government data to create new applications will no longer need to formally apply for permission. And, the new licence is interoperable with other internationally recognised licensing models, such as Creative Commons.

Of course, as anyone who has already made use of OS OpenData since 1 April last year will know, we’ve always had an open and accessible licence. We ask for little more than an acknowledgement of the source of the data.

So, what will change now?


Essentially, in terms of what you can do – nothing! The licence is just as permissive as before, but is now more consistent with the wording being used by other government departments. It is also now fully interoperable with the Open Data Commons Attribution Licence.

Ordnance Survey is also the first Trading Fund to incorporate the licence and we wanted to set a good example.

So, from today onwards, if you’re building an application using data from us, or any other source using the Open Government Licence, you’ll see terms and conditions with a greater degree of commonality.

We hope that with this reassurance and consistency we’ll see even more people using data from across government to build exciting and innovative application underpinned by geography.

And there’s no better place to start than the GeoVation Challenge, where there is £150,000 up for grabs.

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