Migrating to a customisable OS mapping dataset

If you haven’t come across it before, OS VectorMap Local is the most detailed of our backdrop mapping data products and covers the whole of Great Britain. Designed for creating graphical contextual mapping, you’ll see the shapes of individual houses, the line of garden fences and more detailed outlines of larger buildings. It gives you clear, street-level maps so that you can display information such as planning proposals or the location of local amenities. This makes it ideal for GIS analysis, your website and printing for public consultations.   OS VectorMap Local is being used by a wide range of people for reasons ranging from simple backdrop mapping through to analysis affecting people’s lives and business decisions.


The data is a replacement of the now discontinued OS 1:10,000 Scale Colour Raster Mapping and is generalised to be viewed at scales between 1:3,000 and 1:20,000. 

As OS VectorMap Local is a superior product to its predecessor, many of our customers have already migrated to it and more continue to do so.  The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are an example of how migrating to OS VectorMap Local can bring benefit to your mapping needs.

SEPA are a significant user of geographic information, requiring accurate and user-friendly backdrop maps as essential tools for an organisation that needs a framework and context for location data.

Following the release of OS VectorMap Local, SEPA made the decision to move from OS 1:10,000 Scale Colour Raster to the modern and more flexible vector product. With a large volume of Desktop and field staff using spatial data for Enforcement, hydrological, atmospheric science and GIS analysis a more comprehensive product was needed.

Although 1:10,000 was a popular basemap, it had its limits. It didn’t offer cartographic variety to the end user. OS VectorMap Local allowed this and more.  Available in various formats, users can customise the OS basemap to their own requirements by altering both the creative look and the topographic detail of the map.

But this wasn’t all; the superior detail of the buildings, roads, railways, watercourses and land areas with the addition of boundaries, cartographic text and symbols and the six-weekly updates made for a clear and concise vector format backdrop mapping opening up the potential for using analysis to understand the location of their assets.

OS VectorMap Local presented a solution to the limitations of 1:10,000 Scale Raster; allowing our users to customise an OS basemap product to their needs by tweaking both the cartographic and topographic detail of the map, offering an enhanced level of customisation, and a high level of detail maintained by frequent updates”

Following a period of migration OS VectorMap Local is now used across SEPA in a range of settings and in vector, raster and WMS formats to transform the way mapping works. Why not view the full case study (and others) here: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/case-studies/sepa-os-vectormap-local.html


How can I use OS VectorMap Local?

The stand-out feature with OS VectorMap is the fact the vector data can be customised to suit any mapping need, such as adding or removing features or changing the colour and styling. In effect, bringing the map to life for your business.  Alternatively, OS offers ready-to-use raster image versions.

The good news is that any third party information previously captured against features in 1:10 000 Scale Raster will remain in the same relative position to the same features in OS VectorMap Local, making for a comfortable transition.

We’ve also provided a Translator tool which enables you to convert and style GML into more usable formats.  This allows conversion to suit popular GIS such as MapInfo and Arc – and unlock the real potential of OS VectorMap Local.

It translates Ordnance Survey Vector Map Local .gz files that contain GML into more familiar user formats of Shape or TAB format. Find out more here: https://github.com/OrdnanceSurvey/OS-VML-Translator

To make the switch as easy as possible, for users in a situation where the presentation of the former 1:10,000 product is important, we have provided a 1:10 000 Scale Raster style sheet which allows OS VectorMap Local to be viewed in a familiar fashion.  This is available as a download from the website here:  http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/docs/product-stylesheets/os-vectormap-local-styles-v1.1.0.zip


OS has made colour and black and white raster variants of the product available through the PSMA.

What does the January 2016 release include?

  • The list of prestige sites (areas of notable importance) is constantly being added to with 105 Prestige sites captured in time for the new release. One example was phase 2 of the Nottingham Tramway which had the completion of two new routes applied, extending from the City Centre to Clifton and Chilwell.
  • 550 tiles have been updated for the VML Raster products too, ensuring that customers are able to rely on strong and current visual information.

For more information on OS VectorMap Local, visit our products page here: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/products/vectormap-local.html

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