The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, today announced that Ordnance Survey would compile and release data to allow for a new map of every publicly accessible green space in England and Wales to be developed, and will allow anyone with access to the internet to find the location of their nearest park instantly.
The map will use data from Ordnance Survey and other sources, which will be made available for free to enable development of new software and apps so that people can enjoy every corner of countryside. Just like the apps that tell you when your bus or train is due, innovative developers will be able to come up with new ways of displaying the data. They could combine it with other information to produce something new and exciting, such as tracing cycle paths through parks, coming up with bespoke nature trails or linking with property information to help people decide where they want to live.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “Britain’s parks and countryside are the envy of the world, and I want to make sure everybody can use them. Sometimes we can live ten minutes’ walk from a park and not even realise it. Yet public bodies hold all of the data on where these green spaces are. By opening up this data we can enable thousands of people to enjoy every inch of our green spaces at the swipe of a touchscreen. With Britain’s innovative app developers given access to the data, we can help make sure you can always find your way back to nature.”
John Kimmance, Ordnance Survey Public Sector Director, adds: “This is an exciting project which we are pleased to be working with. Ordnance Survey data contains a vast range of geographic features from which we will be able to identify the boundaries and officially classify all of the publicly accessible green spaces in England and Wales.
“We are also pleased that this dataset will be available as Open Data. Today, developers and businesses can access a range of Ordnance Survey products and datasets via OS OpenData and it is great that we will be able to offer this new dataset to the popular suite of freely accessible products.”
The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that the Government is going to more than double the speed of building the Coastal Path, bringing completion of the project forward by ten years from 2030 to 2020.
Speaking at the RSPB’s State of Nature conference, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that additional funding will be put in place to accelerate the delivery of the path so that it will be fully complete by 2020, which will allow walkers and nature lovers to traverse the entire coastline of England.
In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister said: “At the current rate of progress, we will have built the UK’s first space port before our coastal path is completed. You’ll be able to fly in space before you can walk around our coast.
“I’ve been pushing for this process to be speeded up. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m pleased to announce today that the Government will be ensuring that the path is completed by 2020 by allocating extra funding.”