Watermarking OS data

Learn about our copyright guidance for watermarking OS data


Your Public sector member licence tells you when a watermark should be used for OS data. Make sure you are watermarking correctly using our guidance. You should also make sure you are using the appropriate copyright acknowledgement.

What OS data needs watermarking?

OS data is made up of, or is derived from these products:

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer.
  • OS MasterMap Highways Network.
  • OS VectorMap Local.
  • Withdrawn products - Land-Line, Integrated Transport Network (ITN), OSCAR, 1:10 000 Scale Raster.

Paper copies and electronic documents

No watermarking is required when you are making OS data available in:

  • A hard copy.
  • An electronic document (e.g. a PDF).
  • A static internet image.

When you are making OS data available in an electronic document and/or a static internet image, you must ensure the OS data is not able to be edited, manipulated, interrogated (for example, for feature attribution) or geo-referenced. The OS data must not be customised in any way, or be used within any geographical information system (GIS), comparable database or software system.

Electronic publishing via web mapping services (WMS) and web feature services (WFS)

It is your choice whether you add a watermark or not - providing that you have employed the appropriate security measures to support your decision.

If you do add a watermark, you can choose the type of watermark and the method to apply it. It should always identify the authority publishing the map.

Electronic publishing for INSPIRE purposes

Watermarking does not apply to web map services and web feature services for INSPIRE purposes. Instead this falls under our:

Using OS Data on your Intranet

You can use OS data within your business, including on intranets. Follow the same guidance as above.

Planning applications

Where you have a statutory obligation to publish planning applications on the internet, you may use your discretion and choose not to include a watermark on any mapping extras, which may be included in the planning application. This is regardless of the guidance on electronic publishing outlined above.

Publish and share OS data

Learn how your Public sector member licence lets you publish and share OS data in print or online to support your core business