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With the UK becoming the first major economy to pass net zero carbon emissions by 2050 into law, the environment is a huge priority for the public sector in the coming years.

On top of the government’s ambitions, the global focus on the environment and a drive from many governments to achieve net zero in the next decade, there is no doubt about the importance of solving the carbon crisis.

But how can geospatial data support these ambitions?

Location data is already helping the environment and has played a hand in supporting the roll out of electric cars, planning renewable energy sites and improving waste collection and recycling.

The story so far

For many years now OS data has supported projects across the public and private sector that focused on improving the environment.

In Scotland, OS MasterMap Greenspace data demonstrated that 60% of cities such as Edinburgh and Aberdeen were made up of green space. This undeveloped physical space is required for a rapid take-up in a mix of low carbon heat technology, which could heat hundreds of thousands of homes across Scotland and beyond.

In Moray, OS MasterMap data has helped authorities save time and make it much easier to explain how off-shore wind turbines should be best positioned to provide renewable energy without compromising the planning process.

In Milton Keynes, OS datasets have informed town planners of the whereabouts and suitability of residential and commercial gardens for ground source heat pumps. These extract warmth from the ground to heat radiators and water in the home.

Other projects include working with the Department for Transport to explore electric car charging points for the future roll out of these vehicles. The project is in its infancy, but this initial research is helping to move Britain towards a future infrastructure that enables mass electric travel.

OS data has supported local authorities across Great Britain on improving route optimisation for buses, waste carts and gritters to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Our data also aids start-ups such as Topolytics who are looking at improving the tracking of waste generated in Great Britain. Topolytics use geography to map the movement of commercial and industrial waste enabling waste producers and recycling companies to achieve better environmental and investment outcomes.

OS Data Hub – the next step

OS is keen that location data continues to play a critical role in tackling this challenge.

Under the terms of the Geospatial Commission’s Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA), public sector developers and the private sector now have greater access and easier usability to OS’s premium geospatial data than ever before via the OS Data Hub.

From January 11 a new suite of APIs will be available for the public sector to access and use for free to support their many projects.

These APIs will simplify and make it far easier to extract premium OS data for whichever project you are working on that would benefit from it.

OS Product Manager Charley Glynn said: “We have made a range of new APIs available to help the public sector that would be particularly useful for environmental work.

“For example, if you are involved in planning locations for rural turbines and solar farms, then OS Maps API is the best one for you as it provides detailed, contextual basemaps.

“Or if you are trying to improve transport routing for buses or reduce emissions from public transport, then the OS Features API contains the OS MasterMap Highways network data for you to work with.

“Other useful APIs include the OS Places API for detailed address data, OS Linked Identifiers which can be used to join datasets to our accurate location data via unique identifiers such as the UPRN.

“And our OS Features API contains OS MasterMap Topography Layer data which gives vital information on land cover and size, building footprints and height attributes.

“Whatever product it is that you think would benefit from incorporating premium data, we’d love it for you to get in touch to see how we can help.”

To find out more what OS APIs can do for you, visit the OS Data Hub.