It won’t have escaped the notice of some of you that we’re rapidly approaching the first birthday of OS OpenData (has it really been a whole year?!) So with that in mind, we’re very pleased to be able to announce that OS VectorMap District has graduated from an alpha to a beta release and is now available to download and order.
Consider it an early birthday gift from us, to you.
OS VectorMap District made its debut as part of OS OpenData last year, designed specifically for displaying third part information on the web (like our Blitz map last year), and when in its vector format, as a customisable backdrop map. It was an alpha release and by no means the finished article, so based on your feedback the new beta version boasts new content and a range of improvements.
- Foreshore – the inter-tidal area has been created as a feature in its own right. This new polygon means you can show the sea up to either high or low tide level. In the alpha release this was just a white space between two lines.
- Land polygons – a Land feature has been added to cover any land areas that are not a feature in the specification (e.g. farmland). This enables users to alter the colour of this feature.
- Combined underground/over-ground railway stations – separate feature code created to give greater detail.
- Places of worship – not in the alpha release, a selection of these now included.
- A user guide is now available on the product web page.
- The detail level is now more consistent. For example, the alpha version had an overly-detailed coastline and simplified buildings.
- Text improvements, including:
- River names are now better aligned with their features.
- Text size now better matches the importance and size of the feature it represents.
- The placement of text in relation to the feature has also now been improved.
- Better building depiction that is more detailed than in the alpha release.
- We’ve also improved the appearance of roads and reduced data volumes by taking out some lines and points.
- Better generalised coastline, woodland and water features. Features have been simplified and fragmentation of lines reduced, making styling quicker and easier.
- Sea, foreshore and inland water are now in separate layers, enabling users to display, style or turn these off altogether depending on what you want.
- We’ve added new content such as leisure centres and police stations.
- Based on user feedback, the raster data no longer shows the community service symbols (the mortarboard symbol) and non-national boundaries. But these are still available from the vector files if you need them.
- Shapefiles will be supplied in larger tiles (100km x 100km) to speed up loading.
- The Shapefile structure has changed to a feature-based model. Features now identified by name rather than feature code.
So that’s it – lots of new things to try and to play with. We hope you like them. And, as ever your feedback is important, so if there is anything you don’t like (or do, for that matter,) please let us know so we can make the next release even better.