OS Open Rivers

Understand how watercourses in Great Britain join up.


Model simple what-if scenarios. OS Open Rivers lets you answer questions like ‘which rivers would be affected by a toxic discharge from this site?’

For sharing water quality data, this is ideal. It lets you tag information with the river IDs used by environment agencies so everybody can use it.

Save money and benefit from simple licensing terms. OS Open Rivers is free to view, download and use for commercial, education and personal purposes.

Feature 1

OS Open Rivers

OS Open Rivers maps over 144,000 km of watercourses. These include freshwater rivers, tidal estuaries and canals.


Feature 1

Need more detail?

If you need more information about watercourses, we recommend OS MasterMap Water Network Layer.



Key featuresWhat this product offers

GML 3.2, Esri Shape file

Data structure

Vector points and lines


Watercourse name; watercourse type; direction of water flow


1:15 000 to 1:30 000

Update frequency

Twice a year – April and October


Download only


Great Britain

OS Open Rivers support ›


How is this data supplied and what do I need to use it?

OS Open Rivers is available to download. You can also get it on DVD. You’ll need geographic information system (GIS) software to use the data.

Does OS Open Rivers show the width of a river?

Unfortunately not. For information like this, you would need OS MasterMap Water Network.

See all FAQs for OS Open Rivers ›


OS Open Rivers is available under the following Licences:

Our open data products are covered by the Open Government Licence (OGL), which allows you to:

  • copy, distribute and transmit the data;
  • adapt the data; and
  • exploit the data commercially, whether by sub-licensing it, combining it with other data, or including it in your own product or application.

We simply ask that you acknowledge the copyright and the source of the data by including the following attribution statement:

  • Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2018
  • Where you use Code-Point Open data, you must also use the following attribution statements:
  • Contains Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright and Database right 2018
  • Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right 2018

Read more about Open Data licences

View all licences ›

Case studies