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Opening up OS MasterMap data

The latest on the Open MasterMap Implementation Programme.

In June 2018, the Government announced a policy which aims to unlock the government’s mapping and location data to boost the economy by £130m a year. In response to this, Ordnance Survey is working with the Geospatial Commission, an expert committee within Cabinet Office, on implementation plans.

OS has created an internal programme (Open MasterMap Implementation Programme) to identify, propose and deliver the outputs agreed with the Geospatial Commission who act as the Government Customer and policy lead for the project, and provide overall governance and assurance. Ordnance Survey (OS) is responsible for the operational implementation of the majority of the outputs of the project. Ordnance Survey will work with the geospatial industry to identify and propose the most valuable outputs in meeting Government's policy objectives.

As a reminder, Government’s intended outcomes from this policy are to:

  • Fully open significantly more geospatial data for businsses and developers to use free and without restriction.
  • Enable start-ups to deliver new products and services with the data using the free threshold.
  • Make the data available for free, up to a threshold. Some businesses will not need to pay at all for their use of OS data because of the use of the free threshold.
  • Help make new innovations possible in the housing market. For example this data will make it easier for property developers to identify potential development sites which aren't currently registered.
  • Help new users identify the pricing structure for the data more easily following the OS changes, removing uncertainty around cost of use.
  • Implement an improved errors and omissions tool and reporting process.
  • Publish data in additional formats will also improve the quality of the data and its ease of use.

Throughout the programme, under the guidance of the Customer Advisory Group (CAG), we’re progressing with a customer-led delivery plan by running various user trials that developers and GIS analysts can participate in.

What's new with the Open MasterMap Implementation Programme?

1. We’ve started trials with the Customer Advisory Group (CAG) on these areas:

  • Proposed OS OpenMap - Local (OML) enhancement
  • Proposed OS property extents
  • Proposed Data Hub Platform

2. Following amazing feedback we've launched OS Open Zoomstack. This will be available at the end of January from the Open Data Portal. >> See our OS Open Zoomstack product page

3. We're working to demystify licensing and make our licensing terms easier to understand. Our first step towards this has been to clarify what existing licensees can and can't publish under the Open Government Licence (OGL) with examples.

4. We've also improved our product formats, following some successful trials which took place before the Open MasterMap Implementation Programme was set up. In March 2019, three of our most popular open data products are benefitting from what we've learnt and will be offered in Geopackage as an extra format from the April releases. Here is a blog about the GeoPackage formats..

5. You may have seen us at AGI Annual Conference, Open Data Institute Summit, Open Data Camp 6, OS Partner Conference, OS Infrastructure Conference as well as some others. Feedback from these events support our work and help us to gauge the impact.

What work is ongoing?

We continue to work on some key elements of this programme, which are progressing well, but are not yet completed.

  • Defining free thresholds: We are around 80% through the discovery phase of this area of the programme and are continuing to engage with the Customer Advisory Group and Geospatial Commission throughout the process. This will result in a proposal being made to the Geospatial Commission who will make the final decision.
  • New / Existing Contracts: A number of customers have raised concerns about commencing or renewing their licences for OS data due to the future release of elements under Open terms, or for free, up to a threshold, as part of Open MasterMap. In these cases, we commit to ensuring our customers are not financially disadvantaged via appropriate mechanisms and we will say more about this in this in due course.
  • Releasing third party identifiers: We know this is of great interest to many customers, and we've been working with the Geospatial Commission, GeoPlace, the LGA, and Improvement Service (on behalf of Scottish Local Government) to investigate opening up the key identifiers Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN), together with their respective geometries, for the whole of Great Britain under OGL terms. We would welcome your input on the potential use cases that this would deliver.

Discussions continue with multiple agencies, including HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland, CAG, and others to ensure that we fully understand the use cases and user requirements for all elements in support of Government's Policy.

The Customer Advisory Group (CAG)

To ensure the programme delivers the benefits stated in the policy, it's vital to have the input of key stakeholders, which we are caputuring via various mediums but of particular importance is a core representation of our targeted beneficiaries via a Customer Advisory Group. The aim of the Open MasterMap Customer Advisory Group is to ensure external customer and user organisations are regularly consulted, and their input is used to shape the implementation of Open MasterMap.

The group which currently consists of 11 members, includes representatives from groups who will benefit from Open MasterMap data, services and changes to licensing as defined in the policy; current OS MasterMap users and those new to this data. Members of this group will have the opportunity to get regular updates from the programme, early previews of new products and services, and to provide feedback to help ensure Open MasterMap best meets customer needs.

CAG members include:

  • Andrew Terry - Centremaps                                       
  • James Cutler - emapsite  
  • James Harvey - Esri UK 
  • Claire Edwards - Geospatial Commission  
  • Tally Bodnarec - Geospatial Commission  
  • Alex Schembri - GetRentr  
  • Rhiannon Lawson - Government Digital Services
  • Will Hensman - Improvement Service of Scotland
  • Rob Beal - Land Insight   
  • Joshua Rains - Landmark  
  • Andrew Moist - LandTech  
  • Adam Stevens - Mapcite     
  • Will Pearce - Orbital Witness 
  • Marc Hobell - Pitney Bowes 
  • Shona Nicol - Representative of OSMA
  • Peter Silvester - Representative of PSMA
  • Tim Hopkin - The Land App
  • Leigh Dodds - The ODI

You can participate in our data trials

You can sign up for the trials you’re interested in and give us your feedback through the OS Open MasterMap data trial page (link).