How digital transformation at Ordnance Survey is delivering new data

One year on from the launch of the OS National Geographic Database, what new data is being delivered, and how is it easier to use and access?

5 minute read
The OS National Geographic Database (OS NGD) was launched in 2022, bringing together the authoritative geographic data for Great Britain into one location. This milestone was the biggest step change in access to OS data in a generation, because it gave customers and Partners, from public and private sectors, new and easier access to location data. 

Since then, the OS NGD has kept evolving and growing, with over half a billion geographical features and 20,000 updates each day.

The OS NGD delivers richer data, and makes it easier for users to select just the data they need.

OS NGD Buildings
OS NGD Buildings

Downloading only the data you need

Via the OS Data Hub, Public Sector customers and Partners can create personalised data packages using our NGD download service, OS Select+Build, and our OS NGD APIs.

Allowing users to select only the data they need means getting to value quicker, with reduced processing time meaning faster answers.

organisations have used OS Select+Build so far
We’ve made more than
million product updates to the OS NGD since its launch
And there’s been over
million transactions on the OS NGD Features API

What’s new?

There are now further significant enhancements to the OS NGD data, covering buildings – including a new footprint geometry of all buildings with additional attribution on how the building is being used and is connected to other buildings – and transport, including a railway network, path networks, and pavement presence information.

This new building footprint geometry and new attribute enhancements will have multiple uses. These include supporting our emergency services with their emergency preparedness, as well as responding to incidents. The new data will also provide vital input into risk models for insurance underwriting and peril analysis, and enable local authorities to analyse and investigate the building stock within their area much quicker than ever before.

OS NGD Transport Network: Road Link
OS NGD Transport Network: Road Link

Firstly, the new transport data gives customers a complete view of Britain’s path network for the very first time, providing organisations with the accurate data they need to encourage walking, and look to make improvements to public health. These projects will also support the aims to reduce traffic congestion, promote local tourism, and improve journey planning in rural areas. 

Secondly, the launch of data regarding pavement presence, including their width and presence along roads, will help local authorities support their citizens, including those using wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and pushchairs, with better analysis of walking routes. This data will also support citizen service activities such as asset management activities associated with pavements. 

The release of the new data hits a major delivery commitment under the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA), which provides public sector organisations with trusted location data for free.

OS NGD Buildings
OS NGD Buildings

Success stories

Unlocking vital insight in less time 

"The additional functionality provided by 'OS Select+Build' will be invaluable in time saved to Fire and Rescue services around the country, to help us keep up to date with our build stock, and work with building owners and residents to ensure their safety."

Pete Gregory, Building Risk Review Project Lead

Following the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster, the Government led a programme of work delivered by Fire and Rescue Services across the country; to make high-rise residential buildings safer, and provide a better understanding of high-rise residential buildings.

As part of the Building Risk Review (BRR) programme, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue needed to know the numbers of buildings within its area that were over 18 metres or seven floors in height. OS Select+Build enabled them to do this in three minutes, instead of three hours, with accurate data for further analysis.

How the British Army use OS NGD API-Features for battlefield training

"We found OS data to be extremely useful and saved us time by using the API to build out maps that would normally be done manually.   "

Staff Sergeant Stuart Brauninger, 74 Battery (The Battle Axe Company), 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, British Army.

To immerse soldiers in accurate and realistic ‘mission scenarios’, the 47 Regiment of the British Army is pioneering high fidelity mapping to create realistic training scenarios. 

During exercises, operators enter a virtual battlespace in 3D. This immersive training environment is created using data from the National Geospatial Database, which contains the most detailed information of Britain’s landscape.

The simulation platform includes the buildings, roads, surface and elevation data via an API providing an automated basemap for the training area.

The bigger picture

 From blue lights to streetlights, OS location data makes a positive difference to public services and high-level decision-making every day.  OS data also supports commercial customers and OS Partners, from global tech companies to transport and logistics providers.

As a trusted provider of location data, OS supports customers to make informed decisions and support government policy development, help solve challenges such as sustainability, deliver public services and build the infrastructure that meets future demand, with valuable insights and accurate location data at their fingertips.

The OS NGD contains the accurate data organisations and governments need, fast. In a rapidly changing world, that means organisations and governments can understand challenges, identify solutions and respond to transform people’s lives quickly, efficiently and effectively. 

Delivering data that works for you

Discover more

Our improved data structure and categorisation makes the data you need easier to search, find, and analyse. 

Easier access

OS Select+Build lets you download just the data you need; OS NGD APIs provide online access via OGC standards.

Up to date

The data you rely on for crucial analysis, delivered with daily updates.

Improved connectivity

OS NGD data makes it easier than ever before to link, share, and analyse our data.

PSGA members and OS Partners can get direct access to the OS NGD through the OS Data Hub using our download service OS Select+Build, OS NGD API – Features and OS NGD API - Tiles.

Latest NGD enhancements

Read about how Ordnance Survey has launched new data, including significant buildings and transport enhancements, in the OS National Geographic Database (NGD).

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey

Our highly accurate geospatial data and printed maps help individuals, governments and companies to understand the world, both in Britain and overseas.

Products and solutions featured in this blog

  • OS NGD API – Features

    Perform powerful geospatial analysis. Filter the data to receive exactly what you need, as and when you need it.

  • OS NGD API – Tiles

    Create beautiful, responsive, and interactive vector maps powered by the OS National Geographic Database (OS NGD).