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Public sector licensing FAQs

How does joining a mapping agreement allow me to use Ordnance Survey products?

Under the PSMA and OSMA mapping agreements, public sector members can use Ordnance Survey data products to support their core business (see definition below). Joining either the OSMA or PSMA will give your organisation access to a selection of Ordnance Survey data products, which can help you as a public sector organisation wiht the provision of public sector services.

To help with an example of what core business means - this would frequently be the provision of public services. The member licence itself is simply the terms and conditions under which members can use specific mapping products from Ordnance Survey.

Please note: the member licence does not allow you to commercially exploit the data (make a profit from 'selling on' mapping data) or to compete with Ordnance Survey or an Ordnance Survey Licensed Partner.

If you are planning to use Ordnance Survey mapping data with third party organisations, you will also need to consider how they will use the data. This may mean needing to use an additional licence, such as through using a Contractor or End user licence.

Please read the explanation on member mapping agreements below. More details are given in the sharing data with others FAQs.

What does the term "core business" mean?

The definition of core business is:

“Any public sector activity in central and local government and health services, excluding Commercial Activities and/or Competing Activities.”

To help explain/illustrate this further - PSMA members are entitled to use data provided through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement for any purposes they consider they have to undertake to meet their public service delivery obligations.

As an example, this includes:

  • Creating and monitoring policy
  • Operational management of government
  • Delivering government business and public services
  • Making information available to the public
  • Performing any other function required by statute
  • Passing/sharing derived information and/or data to third parties. More details are given in the sharing data with others FAQs.
Which of the two public sector agreements can my organisation apply to join?

The agreement you will join is largely determined by where you are located.

  • England and Wales is covered by PSMA
  • Scotland is covered by OSMA.
England and Wales is covered by the PSMA

Our public sector agreement within England and Wales is simply called the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, or PSMA for short. PSMA is a partnership between Ordnance Survey and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and is funded to cater for any public sector body that is eligible to use it.

Scotland is covered by the OSMA

In Scotland, Ordnance Survey has partnered with the Scottish government to provide geographical data to all Scottish public sector organisations.

Our collaborative partnership agreement supports the One Scotland One Geography document, and also the development of the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for Scotland. The licence covers products in Scotland plus a 2km buffer zone, except where the product is only available with wider coverage.

How do the mapping agreements with Ordnance Survey work?

Under the two public sector mapping agreements (PSMA and OSMA), Ordnance Survey offers licences to members which cover the provision and use of data for their core public sector business.

These licensing arrangements allow members to share our data with third parties without the need for prior arrangement with us, enabling them to provide better services to citizens and business alike. Additionally, through reducing duplication and giving organisations opportunities for better efficiency internally, they are providing cost savings to the public sector.

Can I sell, or make a profit from, Ordnance Survey data?

Not under the PSMA and OSMA licences, as they do not allow you to make a commercial gain from Ordnance Survey mapping. However, members are allowed to recover their costs (for example, of producing a publication containing mapping data) by charging a nominal fee. ‘Statutory’ charges and fees are also covered. Other licences are available from Ordnance Survey that do allow commercial exploitation – please see our licence selector page.

Where can I find the licences for the PSMA and OSMA mapping agreements?

For PSMA Licences, please review the PSMA licence pages.

For OSMA, details can be found on the OSMA licence pages.

What are the arrangements for sharing data with other organisations?

Once you have become a member of either the PSMA or OSMA, you will be responsible for how Ordnance Survey data is used by other organisations that you work with on core business activities. In addition to the rights to share data between members of the same agreement, data can be shared, for core business activities to other third parties, including through the use of an End User Licence (EUL) or a Contractor Licence.

Please also see the sharing data with others FAQs page.

What is an End User Licence?

An End User Licence should be used by a member (as a Licensor) in those circumstances when they wish to supply data to a third party (End User) to enable them to use the data to respond to, or interact with the Licensor to deliver or support the delivery of the Licensor’s Core Business and there is no formal contractor relationship in place.

With the introduction of the third variation of the PSMA, there are now two End User Licences (EUL) available, that both remove much of the management overhead of the existing licences.

Public Sector EUL - INSPIRE

This End User Licence (EUL) allows PSMA members to release data in order to meet their INSPIRE obligations through the provision of Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS). This licence is drafted on the basis of click or deemed acceptance and does not require the PSMA member to retain details of the end user. The licence:

  • permits the recipient use of the data for any for personal, non-commercial use, and
  • places the responsibility for the appropriate use of the data on to the End User rather than the PSMA member.

Public Sector End User Licence

This version of the EUL is for use by PSMA members for all products and purposes in all those other (i.e. non-INSPIRE) circumstances that the PSMA member are making the data available for. It also allows click acceptance, however the PSMA member will need to retain records of those downloading and or being supplied with the data.

For more information about these licences

What is a Contractor Licence?

A contractor licence should be put in place when a member wants to pass mapping and or data to another party that is working on their behalf and have a formal relationship. For example, where the member does not have the skills/resources for the work they would normally do themselves. Records must be kept of all contractor licences in place and what mapping data has been passed to them.

The member can determine the form of this contractor licence themselves, provided that it contains all the relevant clauses. This also includes where, if there is an on-going relationship with the contractor, having a single Contractor Licence to cover the duration of the relationship for multiple projects.

For more information about the PSMA licences

For more information about the OSMA licences

Why are there different versions of the 3rd party (End User and Contractor) Licences?

Different versions have been created for your convenience. Which one you will use depends on the circumstances.

For more information about the PSMA licences

For more information about the OSMA licences

1) Standard form 'Field form' version - this is useful if you don’t want to create your own licence. The contractor or end user can simply complete the blank fields and then sign the licence.

2) Standard form 'Read only' version - this allows you to copy and paste the standard text into a new document. This useful if you want to create your own version of the licence, incorporating your own branding/stationery.

Please note: When creating your own Licence document, you must ensure that all of the member licence obligations (all terms and conditions) are maintained in your own Licence.

Can I create an online Contractor or End User Licence?

Yes, agreement members can do this.

Please note that, in doing so, you must ensure that all of the relevant member licence obligations (the terms and conditions) are maintained in your version of the Licence.

Additionally, for some circumstances (such as with the Contractor Licence) you will need to have a system to register and capture the recipient’s contractual acceptance of the terms and conditions, including the timeframe, the data provided and for what purpose. These records should also be retained in accordance with your normal business practice for contracts.

For more information about the PSMA licences

For more information about the OSMA licences

Can we publish mapping data using web mapping services?

Where it is part of your Core Business, the Member licence allows you to use web mapping services to display your information, as a raster file or copy protected vector file without an End User Licence (but note that a limited number of conditions need to be included).

More guidance on publishing Licensed Data using web mapping (and web feature) services

More guidance on publishing Licensed Data needing to meet copy protection requirements

Data downloads (again, providing the data is supplied to deliver/ support delivery of the member’s Core Business) are allowed as long as they are under an End User Licence

Can we publish Licensed Data using a mobile app?

We recognise that you may wish to provide useful services to support your Core Business to the general public through such an App and the use of Licensed Data within such an App is potentially allowed. More guidance is available here.

Where can I get further support?

Please visit the public sector support home page. or contact Ordnance Survey via our contact us page.

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