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Gaelic place names

Request for information – FOI13406

Thank you for your e-mail of 13 August 2013 requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.

The information you have requested under point 'b' and 'c' is not held by Ordnance Survey and only partially held by Ordnance Survey under point 'a'. I remind you that for the purposes of FOI information is only held where it is held in recorded format. However, under our duty to provide 'Advice and Assistance' (Section 16 of the FOIA) we are able to provide some additional information to aid you.

We respond to each of your points as follows:

(a) How many Gaelic place names in Scotland have been amended in line with your policy of dealing with errors or disputes over the correct depiction of names in this language? Please would you include a few illustrative examples in your answer and advise when the Gaelic place name policy was introduced.

Ordnance Survey does have a Gaelic Names Policy which was introduced in 2000.

Since this policy was introduced we have made many changes to Gaelic Names, however we have no way of identifying whether the change was due to real world change, error correction following an incorrect initial capture, error correction following the resolution of a dispute or error correction due to a change in the Gaelic orthographic conventions because there is no business requirement for Ordnance Survey to hold this information.

(b) Are there any examples of Ordnance Survey amending, correcting, qualifying, restating or otherwise changing place names in England, including the spelling thereof, because it is felt that the original survey(s) (conducted mainly in the 19th century) did not accurately capture the name of that place, or for other similar reasons? If so, please give examples. Please give your answer for the same time period as (a).

Whilst it is likely that there have been amendments to place names in England since the initial 19th century surveys, we cannot identify specific examples as once again there is no business requirement to retain this information.

The only way to view changes which have taken place would be to compare the initial mapping from the 19th century against later mapping. Historic mapping is no longer held by Ordnance Survey, since the closure of our historic map archive in 2008. Historical mapping can be obtained free of charge from your local library. A small charge may be made for a copy, if required. Licensing terms and conditions do apply for mapping which is still within copyright (mapping produced within the last 50 years).

Copyright libraries and The National Archive offer reading and copying facilities for customers willing to visit and carry out their own searches and may be contacted as follows:

The National Archives
Web: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/maps/default.htm
Contact via website: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact/form/
Tel: 020 8876 3444

The British Library
Web: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/maps/ordsurmap/osmapping.html
Email: maps@bl.gov.uk
Tel: 020 7412 7702

Bodleian Library Oxford
Web: http://www.ouls.ox.ac.uk/bodley/library/rooms/nbr
E-mail: maps@bodley.ox.ac.uk
Tel: 01865 (2)77013

Cambridge University Library
Web: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/maps/
Email: library@lib.cam.ac.uk
Tel: 012 2333 3000

National Library of Scotland
Web: http://www.nls.uk/collections/maps/index.html
Email: maps@nls.uk
Tel: 0131 623 3970

Library of Trinity College Dublin
Web: http://www.tcd.ie/Library/libraries/map.php
Email: map.library@tcd.ie
Tel: (+353 1) 896 2087/1544

However, identifying changes from mapping would not provide the details as to whether such changes were made due to real world change or error correction.

(c) How does Ordnance Survey handle the change of name of a place by the owner, if that name is depicted on commonly available maps? For instance, if I were to change the name of my house, would Ordnance Survey, in due course, discover this and change that place name as it appears on the 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps?

There is no requirement for anyone to notify Ordnance Survey of a change in a house name.

If we were notified of such a change then we would update our OS MasterMap® product within a matter of weeks, but changes would only filter down to 1:50 000 and 1:25 000 scale products when the area is next fully revised. In remote areas, these revisions can be many years apart.

Internal review
Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our FOI Internal Review Officer, by contacting them as follows:

FOI Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

E-mail: foi@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The FOI Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The FOI Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal with the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

E-mail: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 for advice, Monday to Friday.

Thank you for your enquiry.

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