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New enhanced OS VectorMap District available through OS OpenData

22 March 2013

Ordnance Survey’s popular OS VectorMap District product has been further enhanced making it easier for users to create their own customised and bespoke mapping.

A new version of OS VectorMap District is available from today (21 March 2013) through OS OpenData. Since its alpha release in 2010, the product has become one of the most popular downloaded datasets, with free to use terms, from Ordnance Survey’s OS OpenData portal. Over the last three years Ordnance Survey has continued to work closely with customers to improve and develop this flagship product, resulting in the development of a significantly upgraded version 1.0 of OS VectorMap District.

The new enhanced product delivers improved representation of topographic features, (roads, roundabouts, railways etc.), better placement of cartographic text, upgraded cartographic styles and greater flexibility in its use over the previous beta version, giving the user complete control of the content and look of the mapping. The dataset is specifically designed with web applications in mind and offers clear, customisable backdrop mapping, enabling users to easily display their own information and data on top of the mapping.

OS VectorMap District is best viewed at scales from 1:15 000 to 1:35 000. It is available in both raster and vector data formats, the latter offering developers and end users the opportunity and flexibility to develop bespoke mapping using their own unique styles that best meet the needs of their specific applications.

Information from health statistics, to business assets, crime rates and transport data, all make more sense when viewed in a geographical context and OS VectorMap District provides that context. The wider OS VectorMap product family provides a consistent and fully-customisable geographic background against which users can overlay information to get their message across.

Product Manager, Richard Tyrrell says: “The reaction from users to the beta release of OS VectorMap District has been very positive, and we have had strong steer on what developers and customers wanted to see in the product going forward. As an OS OpenData product we wanted to ensure the product was not only best in its class, but flexible enough to meet a wide variety of end user needs, whilst being easy to access and easy to use. The new version of OS VectorMap also offers a styled output that is consistent with its sister product OS VectorMap Local, essential when more detail is required – especially in urban areas.

“To ensure that users are able to maximise the full potential of OS VectorMap District we have added a number of options to further improve ease of use. A significant development is the addition of GML v3.2 Simple Features as a supply option, providing access to a vector format that you can customise without the need for a data translation tool.

“For those users wanting a simple map image that can be used ‘out-of-the-box’, we have released a full-colour cartographic style for use on the desktop and in printed applications to complement the existing backdrop colour style – more suited to Internet applications. Both are available in GeoTIFF format, which means any GIS will automatically locate each tile in the correct position without the need for additional referencing files.”

OS VectorMap District is used by a wide variety of organisations and individuals including the public sector, businesses, SMEs, developers, community groups and academia, which all access the data through OS OpenData. The uses of OS VectorMap District range from businesses and property developers using the mapping to track assets to local authorities creating online reporting systems, or sharing information with the public in applications as diverse as managing waste collection and winter gritting routes. The popular dataset has also proved popular with web and app developers; the customisable mapping provides a clear backdrop for online products and services, giving developers the flexibility to use the product alongside other mapping products and their own information.

Ian Holt, Ordnance Survey Developer Programme Manager, added: “OS VectorMap District is a great product for developers looking to incorporate mapping into their web and mobile applications. It offers the user flexibility and full control to customise the mapping to meet their specific needs. The new advances deliver new and improved features and make it even easier for users to develop their own products and services.

“OS VectorMap has continually been one of the most downloaded free datasets and has been used in a variety of ways. Some of the more high profile examples, which demonstrate the flexibility of the product, include Manchester United Football Club creating a multimedia map in the club colours, developers creating customised maps for people who suffer from colour blindness, Monopoly using the data to mark their 75th anniversary and the popular iCoast website, which uses mapping to present coastal and marine recreational information in Dorset.

“The enhanced version of OS VectorMap District highlights Ordnance Survey’s commitment to innovative enhancements to their open data portfolio of products and I am looking forward to seeing further OS OpenData enhancements during 2013.”

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