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The creation of 'Free to Use Data'

Ordnance Survey’s licensing model now includes ‘Free to Use Data’ terms. To benefit from these terms, you must first license data for your business use.

We define ‘Free to Use Data’ as follows:

Free to use data means data created by you:

a) using a Topographic Dataset as a source to infer the position of the Data you create; or

b) which copies in part a Feature (copying in part meaning where the Data created partially coincides with a Feature in the source Topographic Dataset);

in each case provided that the Data:

(i) does not copy a Feature in whole, and does not copy Feature Attribution in whole or in part;

(ii) does not represent a Feature or Feature Attribution in the source Topographic Dataset;

(iii) is not a substitute for a Feature or Feature Attribution in the source Topographic Dataset; and

(iv) can be used independently of Licensed Data, and

in each case only to the extent that the Data created incorporates Intellectual Property Rights owned by us and/or which is licensed by us from the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

So what does this mean in practice?

Well, once you have licensed the data from us for your business use, you may use a topographic dataset to infer the position of a new feature.

The topographical datasets that may be used to create ‘Free to Use’ data are:

  • OS MasterMap® Topography Layer
  • Land-Form PROFILE®
  • OS Terrain® 5
  • OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network Layer
  • OS VectorMap® Local
  • OS VectorMap® Local Black and White Raster
  • OS VectorMap® Local Colour Raster
  • OS VectorMap® Local Colour Raster - Backdrop
  • 1:10 000 Scale Raster
  • 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster
  • 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster

The features whose positions you infer must be new.

‘Feature’ means any feature represented in a topographic dataset, including without limitation any line, polygon, symbol or text.

‘Feature attribution’ means the characteristics associated with a feature (subject to the technical specification of the relevant topographic dataset).

Data that you create must be capable of being used independently of the Ordnance Survey dataset from which it was inferred.

Having created this ‘Free to Use Data’, what can I do with it?

Quoting from the terms of the licences:

‘... we grant you upon termination or expiry of the relevant Data Contract or the Agreement a non-exclusive, royalty free, perpetual licence to use and sub-license for your Licensed Use Intellectual Property Rights in Free to Use Data.’

Royalty free means it’s free for you to use for your Licensed Use without charge.

Perpetual licence means that you can continue to use the data you have created for ever, for your Licensed Use. You don’t require an ongoing licence for the Ordnance Survey dataset from which you inferred the data (unless you intend to use it to display your data).

Sub-license means that you can make the data you have created available to others for your Licensed Use.

Please also note the following:

  • The licence granted does not entitle you or your sub-licensees to re-create, reproduce or represent any Feature Attribution or any Feature in any Topographic Dataset (or any substitution of such Feature Attribution or Feature).
  • The copyright and source of the Free to Use Data must be acknowledged by including the following attribution statement: '© Crown copyright and database rights [insert year] OS [licence number]'. The same acknowledgement requirement must be included in any sub-licences of the Free to Use Data that you grant, together with a a requirement that any further sub-licences do the same.

Examples of 'Free to Use Data'

Making the most of allotment availability

Jim works for a council that wants to promote the availability of allotments for local residents. The outline of the allotment area appears on OS MasterMap Topography Layer. The boundaries of each allotment and the positions of the shed and greenhouse have been inferred from this and they don’t appear on the original mapping. All the additional detail that has been inferred is therefore free to use.

GIS mock-up

Data used: OS MasterMap Topography Layer

Mapping underground assets

Geoffrey works for a utility company that needs to record where underground pipes and assets are. The utility company knows the position of their supply pipes relative to the kerbs. The distance of each individual property’s supply pipe along the main pipe is also known. They have used this information to infer the geographic location of the pipes from Ordnance Survey licensed data. The pipeline network is free to use.

GIS mock-up

Data used: OS MasterMap Topography Layer

Outdoor activity camp

Example of Free to use data and data that remains subject to an Ongoing Ordnance Survey Licence Fee

Rachel works for an outdoor adventure centre. They license Ordnance Survey mapping to use on their website. The extent of the adventure camp’s grounds has been traced onto Ordnance Survey licensed data. This boundary is not free to use because features have been copied. The route of the cycle trail and the positions of the symbols denoting activities have been inferred from features on the mapping. They meet the free to use data criteria.

Website mock-up

Data used: 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster

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