Ordnance Survey’s open data journey

As part of the Prime Minister’s London Tech Week round-table event, earlier this week the Government announced that key parts of OS MasterMap will be made openly available for the public and businesses to use. The announcement is one of the first projects to be delivered by the Geospatial Commission in conjunction with us.

We are looking forward to supporting the Geospatial Commission in making this data more accessible and more widely used to continue our open data journey. In 2010 we launched OS Opendata and since then, we have continued to invest in new open data products and initiatives to enable innovation and growth in the digital economy. Over the past eight years we have seen our open data downloaded 1.9 million times. On average, 150 people download OS OpenData every day. That’s 54,750 people a year. Here is a quick trip through our open data journey highlighting some of the key milestones.

OS OpenData was made freely available for the first time in 2010, when 12 open data products were released. We have continued to update and add to OS OpenData, and in 2015 we released OS Open Map – Local, OS Open Names, OS Open Rivers, and OS Open Roads. This was then followed by the release of OS Open Greenspace in 2017.

Licensing was simplified through the Open Government Licence (OGL), which made it easier for customers to do more, and an Exploration Licence was created for products not included in the open data portfolio. This gave anybody free access to premium OS data, such as OS MasterMap, to explore how it could benefit their own products or business.

The desire to be part of the open data revolution saw the birth of Geovation in 2010, with a series of annual challenges designed to get entrepreneurs working with open data and geography. OS opened the Geovation Hub in London in 2015. The hub runs the Geovation Programme to help start-ups using third-party property or location data to accelerate and grow.

Other highlights include a tour of the country with OS OpenData masterclasses, showing people how to work with open data and put it into their own products and services. We launched an SDK software development kit to make it easier for people to plug the data into apps and onto mobile.

We even managed to get into the Guinness World Records with our open data release of a Minecraft map of Great Britain which had over 250,000 downloads!

Below is a animated timeline of our open data journey.

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