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ORPA master layer

Request for information – FOI14479

Request

Thank you for your email of 20 July 2014, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.

On current OS maps there is a designation of route type called 'Other Route with Public Access'.

Please detail the methodology used when collating this data.
This may well be a link to documentation issued when the digitising was done.

As this data has been digitised there must be a master layer of ORPA routes in digital form. How can I get a copy of this for non-commercial use?

Our response

We respond to your information request, in two phases:

On current Ordnance Survey maps there is a designation of route type called 'Other Route with Public Access'.

1. Please detail the methodology used when collating this data. This may well be a link to documentation issued when the digitising was done.

This information is not held by Ordnance Survey because this methodology has not been formally documented and the FOIA provides a route of access to information held in a recorded form.

However, under Section 16 of the FOIA ‘the duty to provide advice and assistance’ we can provide the following explanation which may assist you in this matter:

The national OS Explorer Map series was launched in the mid-1990s and as the maps are ideal for all outdoor activities, when planning routes and finding an exact position, it seemed sensible to try and join certain features together for the map user, such as roads and rights of way, providing there were public routes to use and they were not already marked on the maps. These ‘links’ became shown as ORPAs.

The methodology used to collate the data in respect of the ORPAs was to send a Small Scales Field Reviser (SSFR) to visit Highways Authorities, Land Charges Departments and Rights of Way Departments in England and Wales, to view their street mapping charts. The SSFR took the publicly accessible routes from these charts which were of various qualities and sources, some were in digital form and some were on paper. We did not visit all areas, for example metropolitan areas were not investigated as we do not have room to show ORPAs on our mapping in these areas.

At each visit the SSFR made a decision as to which routes were suitable for Ordnance Survey to show, to serve the purpose of the exercise. There were two rounds of these visits made in approximately 1995-97 and 2000-01.

The only documentation used in this process was an OS Landranger Map, on which the extent of each ORPA was marked. Once this information was transferred into our system these OS Landranger Maps were discarded. You must note that the collection was never fully comprehensive and there is no formal update mechanism in place to maintain currency.

2. As this data has been digitised there must be a master layer of ORPA routes in digital form. How can I get a copy of this for non-commercial use?

This information is not held by Ordnance Survey because there is no single master layer of ORPA routes held in digital form.

Under section 16 of the FOIA ‘the duty to provide advice and assistance’ we explain that ORPA information is recorded in our database as a feature, not a layer, along with various other recorded features.

This information is used in our 1:25 000 and 1:50 000 mapping and is accessible to you in raster (non-digitised) format through our OS Explorer maps. Please note that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 provides the right of access to information, but not for information in a specific format.

As all the requested information is not held, we have determined that in all the circumstances of this case the Public interest consideration (section 17 FOIA) is not applicable in this instance.

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
Southampton
SO16 0AS

Email: foi@os.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
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Email: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

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

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