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PSMA Licensing

This page is an introduction to the PSMA agreement, the Member Licence and Royal Mail PAF® licensing arrrangements.

There is also some inital guidance on what the Member Licence allows, but for more information visit our public sector licensing guidance.


Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA)

To help you understand the fundamentals of the PSMA Agreement and the PSMA Member Licence, you can see the documents here.

The PSMA agreement is between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ordnance Survey and contains the full arrangements concerning the provision and licensing of mapping data to the public sector in England and Wales.

The PSMA Member Licence sets out the terms of what members can and cannot do with the data accessed and licenced through the PSMA.

If you wish to become a PSMA member, you should check that you meet the eligibility criteria and read the licence, before submitting your application.

Not a member and you would like to join?


Royal Mail PAF® licensing

Ordnance Survey addressing products contain Royal Mail's Postcode Address File (PAF®). As we are one of their Solutions Providers, we have to pass on their terms of use when we supply any of those addressing products. These terms are set out in Appendix 3 of the Member Licence.

1 April 2014 saw the introduction of a centrally paid PAF® Public Sector Licence (PSL) to cover use of the PAF in the delivery of public service activity.

This follows Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit's announcement that they had reached agreement with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Scottish Government.

To facilitate a smooth transition to the PAF PSL Use Terms from 1 April 2014, members of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) in England and Wales and the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA), will be able to access PAF® data within addressing products supplied to them directly by Ordnance Survey.

This will mean some changes to the Member Licence that will be set out in a formal variation communication to existing members shortly. the changes also depend on whether a member has 'Opted in' to the PAF PSL or not.

Existing PSMA members have already been contacted by BIS (on 24 March 2014) and have been automatically signed up to the PAF PSL (unless they responded otherwise). From 1 April 2014:

  • members that have 'Opted in' will have recieved their PSL Licence enumber from Royal Mail and not need to pay any PAF fees for use in accordance with their Member Licence.
  • for members that have 'Opted out' of the PAF PSL, the existing terms and licence fees contained in Appendix 3 of the their Member Licence will continue to apply (this means that that member's use is not covered by the central arrangements. Instead, they will be responsible for paying the relevant PAF fees)

Please note:

  • for this first year (2014/15), if you take an addressing product from a third party Solutions Provider of Ordnance Survey, that Solutions Provider will need to continue to collect and return PAF licence fees to us, as we have to then return these fees to Royal Mail.
  • your Solutions Provider will be obliged to pass on Royal Mail terms which are equivalent to those currently set out in Appendix 3 of the Member Licence.
  • from 1 April 2015, all eligible public sector organisations in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to take advantage of the terms for use of PAF under the PSL from all Solutions Providers. The starting point for existing PAF licensees would be from the anniversary date of their 2014/15 licence from their Solutions Provider.

For more information, here are the PAF PSL Use Terms and standard commercial terms. You can also go to Royal Mail's PAF Licensing Centre and visit their PAF PSL web page, contact them via email or call their dedicated PSL helpline: 0845 6066854 (option 2). They are available Monday to Friday 08:30 to 17:00.


Some initial guidance on the PSMA Member Licence

For more information visit our public sector licensing guidance

What use of Licensed Data products is covered?

The PSMA Member Licence is a 'non-commercial' use licence that allows members to use the Ordnance Survey digital map products licensed under the agreement to meet their 'core business'. For public sector organisations, in addition to their internal activities, this typically means the provision of their public sector services. For example, this includes:

  • Creating and monitoring policy
  • Operational management of government
  • Delivering government business and public services
  • Making information available to the public
  • Performing any other function required by statute
  • Passing /sharing derived information and/or data to third parties (see below)


Can a member share data with their contractors?

Yes - and both formal and informal contractor arrangements are catered for.

Note: The extent of use enabled by your Member Licence also applies to your Contractor, so they need to be made aware of the terms of your licence.

For more information visit our public sector data sharing licensing guidance


Can members share data with third parties?

Yes - members can share Licensed Data with other members, other Ordnance Survey licensees and, providing the appropriate licences are in place, Ordnance Survey data can be shared with other third parties. *

When sharing Licensed Data with:

  • other PSMA members, no additional licences are necessary as all members have the same entitlements and ability to access the PSMA Licenced data.
  • OSMA members for the same product/s and coverage that their licence allows.

    Where an OSMA member requires other products/s or coverage to support a jointly undertaken statutory ‘cross border project’, then you can supply them with the core data they require under the Joint Initiative terms of the Member Licence.

  • with infrastructure bodies, provided that they are licensed for the same data and for the same geographic area.

    Note: An Infrastructure body is an organisation in the gas, electricity, water, rail and telecommunication sectors, as well as transport and airport operators.

    No additional licence is required because Public Sector Members and this wider group of customers now have common terms that permit the exchange of derived data between entities. However, an additional licence will still be needed in other circumstances, such as when the area involved is greater that they have confirmed that they are licenced for.

  • with other third parties, data sharing is allowed under an End User Licence (EUL)

    There are two EULs available:

    • Public Sector End User Licence – INSPIRE

    • Public Sector End User Licence (non-INSPIRE)

    These licences permit you to pass data and or derived data to anyone who is supporting you in the delivery of your core business. You do not have to have additional formal arrangements in place with these bodies, so theses end user licence helps individuals, voluntary and community groups or other similar bodies who require mapping to deliver and/or support your public task to deliver your core business.

    The INSPIRE EUL allows PSMA members to release data in order to meet their INSPIRE obligations, including through the provision of Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS).

* Where Royal Mail PAF data is being used, additional licences may still be required (see Royal Mail PAF licensing section above)

Please note that the PSMA member Licence does not apply to OS OpenData products


Further information

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