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Don’t lose your way with incorrect mapping

06 November 2013

The landscape of Great Britain changes every day and Ordnance Survey, which records up to 10,000 changes daily, is advising clients of land and property professionals and the professionals themselves to check the mapping data they have is up to date, licensed and legal.

An Ordnance Survey study carried out across Great Britain reveals that approximately 45% of all planning application maps submitted are either unlicensed or incorrectly displayed. This news follows Ordnance Survey’s study that showed 40% of land and property professionals, including civil engineers, architects, property lawyers, developers and housing associations, could be using out of date or unlicensed mapping information in their work.

Using out of date or unlicensed mapping data carries the risk of making decisions based on incorrect information, and means land and property professionals who do this may not be giving their colleagues and clients the full and accurate picture. This issue affects all clients, from homebuyers, and homeowners undertaking renovation projects, right up to major construction projects. Discovering something in reality that was not featured on an out-of-date map can be an unnecessary cause of delays, dispute and increased costs to the client, and could be avoided or planned for by having correct, up to date and licensed mapping data.

As well as having the potential for creating delays, conflict and increased project costs, the use of unlicensed copyright mapping data is also against the law. Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) says: “Land and property professionals have a legal duty to ensure all copyright mapping data is correctly licensed, but it appears some professionals are unwittingly jeopardising their reputation and are leaving themselves vulnerable to potential legal action for copyright infringement. If a practice is a small business, the owners or directors are more likely to know of the unlicensed use, which is more serious in law. Under such circumstances a professional indemnity insurance could be put at risk.”

Dan Hughes, Land and Property Sector Manager at Ordnance Survey says: “We know this is a problem for the land and property industry and its clients, and we want to help. We urge professionals to protect their reputation by contacting our partners or us to check the mapping data and licences are correct. We also advise clients to protect themselves against the risk of delays and increased costs by asking their land and property professional to ensure that the mapping data they have submitted is up to date and legal.”

If you are a land and property professional or a client and have concerns with your mapping data, either email customerservices@ordnancesurvey.co.uk or visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/licensing

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