Publishing your information

This section provides guidance on how the Member Licence can support your core business, allowing you to publish your information in a number of ways.

This guidance only applies to our intellectual property (IP) rights and interests and does not supersede any 3rd party IP rights (i.e. yours, Royal Mail's, etc.).

There are five parts to this guidance about publishing: 

Tip: 'right click' a hyperlink to open it in a new browser tab.

General guidance

What's the difference between 'Publishing' and 'Data sharing'?

The difference is related to the purpose for making the information available and why we have separated the guidance into two sections. 

  • Publishing is about your ability as a member to disseminate information and making it publicly available; whether on paper or electronically (i.e. as a pdf, as web pages or as downloadable files); whilst
  • Data sharing is about enabling the electronic interaction between you and other licensed organisations to support those licensed business activities. Depending on the activity involved (i.e. any further or different use) the recipient may need to get and or enhance their own OS licence, so will need to contact OS directly. 
When planning to publish mapping, what are the main things to think about?

The publication you are making available (and distributing):

  • makes it clear to any recipient/viewer about its purpose and that it is supporting your core business.
  • clearly incorporates your business information (as and where appropriate).
  • only includes the area of mapping needed to fulfil its function and at scales that are relevant. For example, what is your target audience? Do you just need to provide a general overview or a more detailed insight?
  • makes it clear to any recipient/viewer whether there are any limitations on re-use through using the appropriate trademarks; acknowledgements and watermarks (where required).
  • and, does it includes any other third party information – and if so, do you have their permission to publish it? For example, although you may be entitled to receive their information, they may have supplied it with terms that may not include allowing you making their information available without further clearance.
Can we publish mapping internally?


Your Member Licence allows all your departments to republish information internally, including use on your intranet.

Nonetheless, you need to apply the same principles and considerations as though you were publishing this information externally.

Does the Member Licence always apply to our publications?

No - you only need to think about the Member Licence when you are using OS Licenced Data (such as OS MasterMap Topography Layer or OS VectorMap Local) in your publication.  

You also need to remember that the term Licenced Data also includes any data that you have derived from our products within your publication.

As examples, the Member Licence doesn't apply where you:

  • are only using OS OpenData products as the contextual mapping to display information. This includes where you are displaying your information that you have independently sourced from OS data (and where we have no IP interests).
  • have have been granted a derived data exemption by us,

In these situations you can use the Open Government Licence (OGL). 

However, if you are combining or overlaying a mixture of Licensed Data, OS OpenData and independently created data, then the terms of the Member Licence will apply. 

Are there any differences between paper and digital publishing

The only difference is that, when publishing Licensed Data in data form, you have made clear to any recipient that the data comes with an appropriate End User Licence (EUL).  

If your publication is only on paper or in e-document form (i.e. pdf’s), then you don’t need to use the EUL. All that is required is that the appropriate statement of purpose and acknowledgements are visible.

By publishing in data form, we mean data that can be manipulated / used by a recipient in their own information systems. This includes allowing the recipient to view your information on a website and or receiving the data for their local use, either as a download or on other physical media (i.e. DVD or flash drive). 

There are two End User Licences available, both of which are based on a 'click acceptance' by the End User:

  • the INSPIRE End User Licence is used when you are publishing one or more of your derived datasets that you need to make available under the INSPIRE directive. Please note that the INSPIRE programme only applies to some specific themes and this licence should only be used in this context (see separate section below).
  • for all other circumstances you use this End User Licence.

Note: if you are only publishing data to other Members, use of the EUL is optional; as their activities are covered by the same licensing terms as you.

Can others republish the Licensed Data we are making available?

Yes, but because additional licensing may be required, you both need to be mindful of:

  • who’s data it is?
  • how the data is being republished?
  • and, who is republishing.

For example, as a recipient of data as part of your Core Business, you may become holders or ‘custodians’ of third party information. In order to further release that data, you need to establish that your licence with that third party allows you to do so.

As examples of republishing, if they:

  • are another member, as they are under the same licence terms as you, their responsibilities are the same as yours.
  • are another OS licensee, their existing licence may not cover publishing/distribution (most licences are for their own business use).
  • don’t have an existing licence, they should not be republishing this information anyway (so will need to get an appropriate OS licence)
  • are a media company asking, or you are asking them, to publish your information in their newspaper/magazine, then they will need to have the appropriate media licence from OS (which is free).
  • are an educational establishment, local education authority (LEA) schools are covered by their lead local authority’s licence (they are regarded as being a department of that authority).
    All schools can also sign up to the Digimap for schools online mapping service, which provides access to OS data. Higher education establishments, including universities can access the Edina service. You may also want to visit our education pages for further information.

With all the above, this means that they may need to enhance their licencing arrangement with OS. For more information about our licences, and to obtain one, they will need to visit our licence selector.

What about publishing from OS OpenData or exempted derived data?

The same general thought processes and principles apply as when using Licenced Data

However, the terms of the Member Licence is no longer applicable, because OS OpenData is made available under the Open Government Licence (OGL) terms. 

In addition, any of your derived data that has been granted an exemption (from the Member Licence) can also be made available to others on the same OGL terms.

So, although you still need to acknowledge OS as the source, this means that greater re-use of the information by recipients is possible. 


  • if your publication comprises a mixture of Licenced Data and OS OpenData, then the terms of the Member Licence will apply.
  • if you are including any other licensed third party information, you still need to establish that you have their permission to publish it.
Do we need to keep records and, if so, in what form should they be?

You only need to keep records when you are publishing and providing (whether as downloads or on media) Licenced Data to third parties for their local use.

This is because you could be called upon to provide us with all reasonably required assistance if we are investigating any potential unauthorised use by a third party. 

This includes data provided:

  • to a Contractor of yours
  • under the Joint Initiative terms (which relates to a specific project between at least one PSMA and one OSMA member).  
  • to support an Emergency Situation (which relates to unforseen acts or events that requires a member to respond urgently and involve others who may not be licensed to use the data)

The form of the records is down to you, but should be sufficient to identify:

  • the recipient’s name, and if from an organisation, that name as well
  • the dataset(s) downloaded or supplied
  • the date of supply
  • the type of licence you provided with the data (i.e. Contractor, End User Licence)
When don't we need to keep records?

You don't need to keep records when:

Can we incorporate advertising into our publication?

Yes, but the purpose of any advertising: 

  • must to be related to/associated with the purpose of the publication at the time – and with those adverts only being secondary (i.e. subservient) content .
  • should not be turning the publication into a ‘commercial gain’ or ‘profit-making’ one (i.e. it remains cost-recovery only) 
  • is ‘Sponsorship-type’ adverts (for example: ‘sponsored by xxxxxx;) then the advert should just provide a link to their website.

For web applications, any incorported advert should not have the functionality that allows its use for 'intelligent' product marketing for those organisations (i.e. the content of the advert space is being based on viewer's browser history).

This is also on the premise that: 

  • the publication (which includes paper, electronic documents and web publishing) is supporting your Core Business 
  • you are taking responsibility for the publication under your licence, and 
  • you have incorporated all the other principles and considerations contained in this guidance.  

Printed documents

What sort of documents do you mean?

We mean any document that you need to produce as part of your Core Business that includes Licensed Data.

As non-exhaustive examples:

  • a map extract supporting an answer to a general enquiry, decison notice or other statutory response (i.e. tree preservation order, planning notice, etc.) 
  • notifications you wish to make (i.e. planned events, road closures, location of polling stations, etc.)
  • an information leaflet / newsletter related to your activities (i.e. public facilities, designated routes, etc.)
  • local plans
  • annual / quarterly reports, other reports, etc.
  • Noticeboards, wall maps, etc. 
Do we need to attach an End User Licence?


The only requirements are to ensure that the:

  • document can be identified as your publication
  • appropriate statement of purpose (i.e. why it's being produced) is clear, and
  • relevant attribution statements (acknowledgements) are visible.

For more information on publishing principles and considerations and acknowledgements.

Do we need to keep records?



Electronic documents

What sort of electronic documents do you mean?

We mean scanned images, PDFs, or other electronic documents (including emails), that can replace or replicate printed documents.

This also includes the newer forms of PDFs or other electronic documents that may include additional electronic functionality that allows recipients to pan or zoom, manipulate data, and or switch data layers on and off.

In all cases, in addition to the main publishing principles and considerations, these electronic map images must not be capable of being:

  • edited, manipulated or customised in any way,
  • interrogated (i.e. for feature attribution, etc.)
  • geo-referenced, or
  • used within any geographical information system, comparable database or software system.
Do we need to attach an End User Licence?


The only requirements are to ensure that the:

  • document can be identified as your publication
  • appropriate statement of purpose (i.e. why it's being produced) is clear, and
  • relevant attribution statements (acknowledgements) are visible. 

For more information on publishing considerations and acknowledgements to use.

Do we need to keep records?



Data publishing

Can we publish to ourselves internally though our intranet?


By data publishing, we mean allowing the user to view the data on a website (either as static images or through using web mapping services)


  • As your intranet uses the same technology as externally-facing websites, you need to ensure you apply the appropriate public viewing terms along with ensuring you are protecting the data. See here for additional guidance when using web mapping services.
  • Provided a user’s access is only possible via your normal business login protocols and terms of use, then there is no additional requirement for them to have accepted the terms of an End User Licence.
  • If a user is then creating a map that is then going to be used elsewhere or externally, then they will need to ensure that they are following either the publishing your information or the data sharing with others guidance.  
What about publicly accessible and other secure external websites?

The same principles apply as for your internal use, in that you need to ensure you apply the appropriate public viewing terms along with ensuring you are protecting the data.

See here for additional guidance on using web mapping services.

Do we need to use an End User Licence on our websites?


You need to ensure you apply the appropriate public viewing terms along with ensuring you are protecting the data.

See here for additional guidance on using web mapping services.

What about where third-party solutions are involved?

We understand that you may be using third-party solutions, including cloud services, in number of ways, for example:

  • linked through to your own servers, 
  • through leasing space from a third-party supplier (under some form of contract which will have service levels attached) as part of your network,
  • using a separate hosted service.

As the data publisher, it is still your responsibility to be considering the type of service/access being provided by you to the end user.

This includes determining the level of information they have to provide you to gain access to that answer. For example:

  • are you just publishing information on the internet that anyone can access?
  • is it for specific service enquiries (that requires users to have a 'log in' facility)?
  • more detailed interaction with staff and or data sharing with other organisations (also via a 'log in')?

In all cases, you are responsible for ensuring that any information you make available, by whatever route you are choosing and including the extent of that use, is within the allowances granted by the Member Licence.


  • If you are using an intermediary to provide all (or part) of that service as part of your network, then that environment needs to be sufficiently secure to avoid unauthorised use/access - and that that would apply in any event and not just because of the Member Licence.
  • Similarly, if you are using a separate ‘hosted’ service, then you are now using a contractor, so in addition to the above, the incorporation of the Contractor Licence terms into that arrangement is required.
  • All the above may also include the need for consideration with respect to the use of Application Programming Interface (API) - but that is dependent upon the type of service being provided and whether relevant API’s are being used.
  • This includes where you are using a third party web mapping API’s and where, in respect of Licensed Data, it is your responsibility (as the Licensee) to determine whether any terms you are signing up to with your chosen third-party’s API service are compatible with your licence with us. For example, that those third-party terms do not claim more wide-ranging or longer licence rights for the API provider than you are able to grant under the terms of your Member Licence.

See here for additional guidance on using web mapping services.

Can we allow others to download/receive Licensed data from us?


Please note that by publishing we mean your ability as a member to disseminate information and you are making it publicly available, meaning that the recipient can use the data you are providing (either as a download on other data media (i.e. DVD or flash drive)) on their own system.

As you are providing the data electronically, and before they download any Licenced data, you need to make sure that you have made clear to them that their access is associated with their acceptance of an End User Licence (EUL).  

There are two EUL's available for use when Licensed Data is being shared:

  • the INSPIRE End User Licence is used where you are publishing your INSPIRE-compliant data to meet those specific obligations (for more information see the INSPIRE publishing section below). Please note that not all of your derived data may fit that publishing criteria.
  • for all other data publishing circumstances, this End User Licence should be used.

Note: If you are sharing just OS OpenData, then you do not need to use either of these licences. 

You just need to use the Open Government Licence and a simple attribution statement that acknowledges OS as the source.

Can we publish our AddressBase Unique Property Reference Numbers?


OS, GeoPlace and the Improvement Service have all agreed and are all committed to enabling the widest possible sharing and use of the AddressBase Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs). 

What this means is that we are allowing the royalty-free use and sub-licensing of UPRNs in perpetuity by third parties who are (or were at the time the UPRNs were extracted by the member) licensed to use the source AddressBase data for their own internal business use.

For more information on:

Do we need to keep records?

Not always.

You don’t need to keep records if:

You only need to keep records when you are controlling access (i.e. with a username and password) to Licenced Data by other third parties, or you are using one of the special public sector 'data sharing' arrangements.

For details of what you records should keep, see the General guidance section above. 


INSPIRE publishing

What is INSPIRE?

In this context INSPIRE stands for Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community. 

The INSPIRE Directive is about enabling the sharing of environmental spatial information amongst public sector organisations to support the European Community's environmental policies; and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment. It is also about facilitating better public access to that data. Visit the INSPIRE website.

The Directive addresses 34 spatial data themes needed for environmental applications, with key components specified through technical implementing rules. This makes INSPIRE a unique example of a legislative “regional” approach.

Please note:

  • Not all data that you create meets the INSPIRE criteria.
  • The Directive is about allowing access to that spatial information from you (provided it meets the criteria). It is not about the reuse of that information by the recipient (the End User).
  • If your derived data does not meet the INSPIRE criteria, and or reuse by a third party is required, then see either the publishing your information guidance or the data sharing with others guidance.
What Licenced Data can we publish to meet our INSPIRE obligations?

In this context, Licensed Data is limited to data created (derived) by you using OS Licensed Data.

For the avoidance of doubt, even if you are a holder or custodian of data,  this means that any data which has not been created by you may not be supplied by you under this licence, whether as background/reference data or otherwise.

You must also have identified and confirmed that your dataset is within the scope of the INSPIRE regulations and so qualifies as one of those datasets you can release under these obligations.


Can End Users view our INSPIRE-compliant data via web services?


If you are publishing using a Web Mapping Service (WMS) or a Web Feature Service (WFS) feeds as part of meeting your INSPIRE obligations, then you need to ensure these points are covered. 

  • Where it is practicable, you should get the End User to have accepted (or been made aware of their ‘deemed acceptance’) prior to accessing data.
  • You should make reference the licence in the service and the services metadata by providing links to the INSPIRE End User Licence (or have a copy of the licence as part of a licence on another website).
    Note: in these circumstances, you do not need to apply our guidance you use for your other web mapping services.  
  • For WMS View Service you should include the URL of the licence you are using in the following locations:
    * watermark
    * field of the service GetCapabilities metadata
    * field of the service’s GEMINI Discovery metadata
    * field of the dataset’s GEMINI Discovery metadata
  • For WFS Download Service you should include the URL of the licence you are using in the following locations:
    * field of the service GetCapabilities metadata
    * field of the dataset’s GEMINI Discovery metadata

We are aware that GeoRSS download services are an emerging standard for encoding location as part of a Web feed this includes RSS both RSS 1.0 and 2.0, as well as Atom feeds. If you are using this service, as part of your obligations you should also: 

Can we allow End Users to download our INSPIRE-compliant data?


When making your Licenced Data available for End Users to download, you need to ensure that they are aware of, and have accepted the INSPIRE End User Licence before they are able to do so. 

There are 2 ways of the End User doing this:

  • either, through a ‘clicked to accept’ before the download starts, or 
  • being informed (for example, on a home page or a 'pop-up' window) that they have already been ‘deemed’ to accept the terms through any use of the downloaded data.

In addition, where the Licensed Data you are making available is in:

  • raster format, you need to include a background watermark to identify the source of the Licensed Data at scales of 1:10 000 or larger. This watermark must appear at least once and cover at least 10% of the map image reproduced.
  • vector format (other than via a Web Feature Service (WFS)) then you need to ensure the appropriate copy protection functionality is included.
  • in both of the above, the ‘Readme file’ that accompanies the Licenced Data must include the dataset’s metadata, a copy of the INSPIRE End User Licence you are using, and all the necessary trademarks and acknowledgements.
Are there any limitations to the INSPIRE End User Licence?


It is different from this End User Licence because, whilst the INSPIRE End User Licence enables you to meet your INSPIRE obligations, the INSPIRE regulations also state that the End User is only allowed to access your data for their own "personal, non-commercial use".

This means it excludes the use of that information for any business purpose by the End User.

It also means you can’t include any data which has not been created by you under this licence, whether as background/reference data or otherwise.

Lastly, the INSPIRE End User Licence works on the principle of ‘deemed' acceptance, so that also places the responsibility for the appropriate use of the data on to the End User rather than you, the member.

Do we need to keep records?

No - as long as you are only providing your Licensed data which is INSPIRE-compliant to third parties under the INSPIRE End User Licence.

In addition, you don't need to keep records when you are supplying your INSPIRE-compliant data:

  • that contains common geographies to other members of either of the public sector agreements (i.e. PSMA to OSMA member). 
  • where the Licenced Data has been granted a derived data exemption.
  • where you have only used OS OpenData products or your own independently sourced data.

You will need to keep records if you are providing your derived data under the End User Licence.

For details of what records you should keep, see the General section above.

Can we use the End User Licence with our INSPIRE data?

Yes, and unlike when you are using the End User Licence – INSPIRE, you can also include other data including background/reference data. For more information about the End User Licence.