OS OpenData support

Read our FAQs and get support in our forum to help you with OS OpenData, from downloading the data to loading and working with it.

How do I license OS OpenData?

OS OpenData is licensed under the Open Government Licence, which allows you to use the OS OpenData datasets in any way and for any purpose. We simply ask that you acknowledge us with "Contains OS data © Crown Copyright [and database right] (year)".


What do I need to start using OS OpenData?

As well as an Internet browser, an email address and a delivery address if you have ordered DVDs, you will need Geographic Information System software (GIS) such as QGIS (this is free, open source software).

Find out more about getting the most from a GIS on our GIS support pages.

Further information on how to work with the different datasets is also available.

Do you supply the software needed to use OS OpenData products?

OS can supply you with the OS OpenData datasets.

You will also need a Geographic Information system (GIS) to make use of the data.

You may already be using a commercial GIS, but if you do not have such systems in place, you may want to consider using an open-source software solution.

How can I make use of OS OpenData?

OS OpenData has been designed to be as easy to use as possible. There are three ways to use the service:

  1. View: scroll and search through OS mapping in scales ranging from the whole of Great Britain down to street level showing individual buildings.
  2. Develop: use OS's mapping API (Application Programming Interface) OS OpenSpace to create interactive web maps.
  3. Order: get hold of the whole range of OS OpenData mapping either by directly downloading it or by ordering your required data on a DVD. Use this part of OS OpenData if you want to manipulate data in a geographical information system (GIS). You can download free GIS software from a range of sources online.
How do I work out which tiles I need?

When you order OS Open Map-Local or OS VectorMap District, you choose 100km areas. When you receive your data, it is broken down further into 10km tiles for OS VectorMap District and 5km tiles for OS Open Map-Local. This can make it difficult to work out which tiles of data contain your area of interest.

From our Tile Locator page, download a PDF for each 100km square of data you want to order. The PDFs each show a grid on a map of the 100km area, so you can see exactly which data files in the download show your target area.

Why don't OS OpenData products contain Rights of Way information?

There was a government consultation in 2010 to decide which products to release. It was decided that 1:25 000 Colour Scale Raster and 1:50 000 Colour Scale Raster, which contain Rights of Way information, would not be released through OS OpenData.

How were the OS OpenData products selected?

The government launched a public consultation around access to map data from OS, which included a list of potentially free datasets.

There has been strong support for making some data free, but as a result of the consultation feedback the government decided to make some revisions to the products released in order better to meet the requirements of users.

How are the OpenData products funded?

OS Opendata products are funded as a result of a commercial agreement between Central Government and OS, for the licence for OS OpenData and for its on-going maintenance. The Government is committed to ensuring a sustainable business model for OS to maintain their high quality data that is recognised worldwide.

How often are OS OpenData products updated?

This varies by product; many of them are updated twice a year. The month in which each product was last updated is shown on the online ordering page.


How can I report errors in the products?

Please contact us, choosing 'Map errors and omissions' from the selector, 'What is your enquiry about?'

Do I need to provide an acknowledgement when I build a website or app?

Yes, you do. For full details, please see our Style Guide (PDF).

Who can I contact if I need more help?

If you have any further questions about OS OpenData, please