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Specification for capture of buildings (FOI221123)

This Freedom of Information request asks for mapping specification showing criteria for buildings to be considered for inclusion on OS mapping.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI221123


Thank you for your email of 16 December, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, as set out in the extract below:

“Following my enquiry to your office, I was advised on 28 February 2020: "I can confirm that a field surveyor visited this week ( 26th February 2020) and all of the outbuildings are either too small (less that 8 metres square) or not permanent structures - such as a greenhouse or wood shed that are not to specification to show on Ordnance Survey mapping."

This demonstrates that you have a specification for your mapping - size and permanence are two separate things. As an FOI request please supply a copy of your mapping specification that shows the criteria for buildings other than dwellings to be considered for inclusion on your mapping.”

Our response

I confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold the information you have requested.

I am pleased to provide you with the attached Specification for capture of buildings (PDF) with regard to your request. This provides an extract of our specification setting out the capture criteria for size and permanence when representing buildings in our mapping. The most relevant sections to your request have been highlighted in yellow. The surveyor will use their judgement when assessing permanence by considering the nature, function, construction and apparent age of the particular feature.

If you require further investigation into the capture of specific features, please raise an enquiry with our Customer Contact Centre and provide location details for those features.

Customer Services can be contacted by via the Contact Us form, and are also available for over-the-phone queries Monday to Friday, 08:30–17:30 (except for Bank Holidays), on 03456 05 05 05.

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within 40 working days of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Contact us via our FoI form

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal, within three months of receiving our response, with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information can be found on the ICO website ( under ‘Report a concern’ or you may wish to call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.