Jump to the following:

Internet cookies at Ordnance Survey

We use cookies on this website in order to make your visit run more smoothly and to give us statistics that help us plan future enhancements. Learn more about the cookies we use.

OS OpenData FAQs

Where can I find the OS OpenData licence

The OS OpenData licence allows you to use the OS OpenData datasets in any way and for any purpose. We simply ask that you acknowledge us with "Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown Copyright and database right [year]".

Download the Licence here.

What do I need to start using OS OpenData?

As well as an Internet browser and an email address and a delivery address if you have ordered DVDs, you will need:

  • Software in the form of a Geographic Information System (GIS) - for example QGIS (open source software).

Find out more about getting the most from a GIS on our GIS support pages.

Further information on how to work with the different datasets is also available.

Do you supply the software needed to use OS OpenData products?

Ordnance Survey can supply you with the OS OpenData datasets.

You will also need a Geographic Information system (GIS) to make use of the data.

You may already be using a commercial GIS, but if you do not have such systems in place, you may want to consider using an open-source software solution.

How can I make use of the OS OpenData service?

OS OpenData has been designed to be as easy to use as possible. There are three ways to use the service:

  1. View: scroll and search through Ordnance Survey mapping in scales ranging from the whole of Great Britain down to street level showing individual buildings.
  2. Develop: use Ordnance Survey’s mapping API (Application Programming Interface) OS OpenSpace to create interactive web maps.
  3. Order: get hold of the whole range of OS OpenData mapping either by directly downloading it or by ordering your required data on a DVD. Use this part of OS OpenData if you want to manipulate data in a geographical information system (GIS). You can download free GIS software from a range of sources online.
How do I determine which OS VectorMap District and OS Street View tile(s) I need to open for my area of interest?

When you place an order for OS VectorMap District and OS StreetView, you will order by 100km area. When you receive your data, it is broken down further into 10km tiles for OS VectorMap District and 5km tiles for OS StreetView. This can make it difficult to determine exactly which tiles of data you should open to see your area of interest.

We have created a set of interactive PDFs for each 100km sqaure of data you can order, which is then broken down into the 10km areas, so that you can identify which tiles of data to open and work with.

Why do the OS OpenData products not contain Rights of Way information?

There was a government consultation in 2010 and they were to decide which of our products to release. It was decided that the 1:25 000 Colour Scale Raster and 1:50 000 Colour Scale Raster which contains the Rights of Way information would not be released through the OS OpenData initiative.

How were the OS OpenData products selected?

The government launched a public consultation around access to map data from Ordnance Survey, which included a list of potentially free datasets.

There has been strong support for making some data free, but as a result of the consultation feedback the government decided to make some revisions to the products released in order to better meet the requirements of users.

How are the OpenData products funded?

OS Opendata products are funded as a result of a commercial agreement between Central government and Ordnance Survey, for the licence for OS OpenData and for its on-going maintenance. The Government is committed to ensuring a sustainable business model for Ordnance Survey to maintain their high quality data that is recognised worldwide.

How often are the OS OpenData products updated?

This varies by product; many of them are updated twice a year. The month in which each product was last updated is shown on the online ordering page.

You can also be informed when the OS OpenData products are updated by subscribing to our RSS feed.

How do we report errors on the products?

The errors can be forwarded to the OS OpenData Team at opendata@ordnancesurvey.co.uk.

Do I need to provide an acknowledgement when I build a website or application that uses OS OpenData?

Yes, you do. For full details, please see our Style Guide (PDF).

Who can I contact if I need more help?

If you have any further questions about OS OpenData, please either

Please also visit the Ordnance Survey contact us page.

Video support

View more videos on our YouTube channel

Back to top