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Answering enquiries

Your Member Licence allows you to answer enquiries in support of your core business and in a number of ways.

Please note:

  • The structure is based around the viewer being a member and wanting to know more about what the public sector licences allow. If you are not a member, please start from 'Accessing information from members'.

  • This section only applies to the use of Licensed Data, including derived data that does not meet the derived data notification criteria for being published on open terms.
  • This section does not apply to the OS OpenData licence terms and products as, although the Member Licences refer to them, they do not apply to their use (including any data either derived from them or datasets that have been accepted as being on terms equivalent to OS OpenData terms) as they are not defined as Licensed Data. But, if your derived data comprises a mixture of data that includes Licenced Data then the terms of the Member Licence will apply.

  • This guidance also only applies to our intellectual property rights and interests and does not supercede any third party IPR (i.e. yours, Royal Mail's, etc.). If the derived data includes the IP of third parties, you are strongly advised to obtain the necessary permission(s) from them.

Answer: Yes - You can supply your information to support a statutory request

Answering a statutory request is part of your core business. You may provide mapping where appropriate to support that answer and can be either paper or data form. You need to ensure that you apply the relevent common features for the type of supply.

You may also apply charges that you are expressly permitted to make pursuant to the relevent legislative authority that governs the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, Scotland, Wales, and/or Northern Island to which the licensee is subject.

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Answer: Yes - You can provide mapping to support a general enquiry

Answering a general enquiry is part of your core business. You may provide mapping where appropriate to support that answer and can be either paper or data form. You need to ensure that you apply the relevent common features for the type of supply.

You may also apply charges to provide that information, on the condition that you are not making financial gain or being part of a commerical service. You can provide commerical services through taking additional licensing from Ordnance Survey.

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Answer: Yes – you can respond to enquiries relating to information access legislation

This guidance is aimed at assisting you in responding to these types of enquiries where you may be considering using Ordnance Survey licensed data (including derived data) under the current information access legislation and does not apply to OS OpenData products, which have minimal licensing conditions.

Please note:

  • the assumption is that you are subject to either the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA)
  • the guidance is based on our understanding of the laws as they stand in respect of our products and intellectual property rights and may be revised as legislation is interpreted, reviewed and updated.
  • an application only applies to the right to ‘information’ as opposed to information in a particular format. Other factors and exemptions may be relevant to your data; that are not relevant to us.
  • there is specific guidance produced for PSMA members and OSMA members as related to the respective legislation (i.e. FOIA and FOISA)
  • the ‘Protection of Freedoms Act 2012’ (which amends the FOIA) does not apply to FOISA
  • nothing in the guidance is to be interpreted as any form of permission or licence from us to use our mapping or data; as use of our Licensed Data is covered by our formal licences (including PSMA and OSMA)
  • this is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Main points to note
When being asked to responding to requests to provide Ordnance Survey Licensed Data (including data created using such Licensed Data) under the current information access legislation, the approach taken may need to be different, depending on the type of request, such as for:

  • our Licensed Data (whether in hard copy, raster or vector format), that has not had any additional information added or overlaid by you, that request should be refused; as the data is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means, this is likely to be exempt from the general right of access. This includes requests made under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR); as our data does not normally fall within that definition on providing information “on the state of the elements of the environment”.
  • data created by you using Licensed Data (which may include environmental information); it is important to determine the relevant terms on which Ordnance Survey licenses the relevant datasets to you, for example:
    • have you already made the data reasonably available (e.g. a public website)?
    • can the data be released under other legislation, which permits access to mapping upon request?
    • is the information at the appropriate scale/coverage
    • does the data need to be accompanied with an End User Licence?
    • have you taken reasonable measures to prevent other use by the recipient?
  • commercial reuse under the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005, as this does not apply where a 3rd party owns any IP in the data.

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Answer: You may provide mapping to answer a planning enquiry

Answering a planning enquiry about an exsisting application is part of your core business, you may provide mapping where appropriate to support that answer and can be either paper or data form. You need to ensure that you apply the relevent common features for the type of supply.

You may also apply charges that you are expressly permitted to make pursuant to the relevent legislative authority that governs the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, Scotland, Wales, and/or Northern Island to which the licensee is subject.

If the query is about the inital planning requirements including planning applications, then you may supply any information that you are obliged to provide as part of your core business. This may include making a charge for that provision;

Please be aware the member licence does not allow you to provide a basic map that the applicant will normally be required to provide. That basic map can be provided under additional licencing arrangements or they can get it from Ordnance Survey and its partners.

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Answer: Yes - You can supply mapping to support localism

Local community groups are actively being encouraged to become engaged in local matters. Unlike town, parish and community councils these community groups are not eligible to join Ordnance Survey mapping agreements in their own right; however, they are still able to get information from members.

How you supply them will depend on how the activity is directly supporting your core business; this will typically relate to the provision of public services. The routes available are either:

For more information see the Localism agenda point in the sharing data section of this guidance.

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Answer: Yes - As a public library you can provide information

A public library licensed under a mapping agreement are also entitled to act in accordance with this guidance (as maybe amended from Ordnance Survey from time to time.)

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