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Apr
2011
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Your thoughts on one year of OS OpenData

opendata2It’s one year to the day that we launched OS OpenData and made a range of mapping data and administrative geography available for free for the first time.

You can read our news release to get our take on the past 12 months, but I really wanted to know what you think. Has OS OpenData lived up the hype? Are you using it, and if so what for? We’ve shared some of the applications we’ve come across on the blog, like the award winning DataTap, but what impact do you think it’s had?

To get the ball rolling, I asked a few people in and around the world of geo to share their thoughts on what has been a pretty interesting year…

Chris Holcroft, Director and Chief Executive of AGI:

“The launch of OS OpenData was a big shift in Ordnance Survey digital data supply and a positive one. Stimulated by significant changes in public data policy, it was a reflection of how Ordnance Survey evolves to serve the world within it operates. A far greater community of innovators and users can now access, exploit and benefit from geographic information output from the National Mapping Agency.

“Can I put figures to any economic stimulus and innovation this has created? At this point, no. That said, I’ve met many organisations, some outside the traditional heartland of GI, now positively taking the opportunity to use Ordnance Survey data for the first time.

“We will look to the next 12 months to see how the story develops.”

Steven Feldman, Chairman of Geo.me Solutions:

“I know it is only 1 year but it seems like we have had OS OpenData, forever or at least we should have.

“Has the opening up of some OS data made a difference? I think so. Some basic democracy stuff has been enabled by OS OpenData, I know of a number of organisations that are now able to freely use political boundaries and that has to be a ‘good’ outcome. CodePoint is certainly a win for small businesses and web apps.

“The rest, I haven’t seen a lot of usage yet but hopefully it will start to surface soon. Has there been a flurry of innovative new businesses built on OS OpenData? Not yet and I doubt there will be, raw data wasn’t what most businesses needed.”

Colin Henderson, Senior Geospatial Consultant at Atkins, the official engineering design services provider for the Olympics:

“We’ve made extensive use of the OS OpenData to deliver a fundamental change in the way our business orders and uses Ordnance Survey data.

“It has allowed us to develop a central Corporate Mapping System from which all parts of the business are able to order and manage OS products. Now we are able to provide a full data ordering and processing service for all Atkins business groups through the use of an online web mapping application.

“Without the free OS OpenData products we would not be able to provide this essential corporate resource as the data licensing costs would far outweigh the business benefits provided.

“In fact the OS OpenData initiative has lead to a number of innovations within our business, particularly in the use of Free and Open Source Software, to the extent that we are now beginning to win contracts on the basis of our innovations.”

So that’s what they think, but what about you?

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