Ordnance Survey transforms the way customers access, share and innovate with world-leading geospatial data

7 minute read
Ordnance Survey (OS) has launched a new geospatial data platform to transform the way people access and innovate with location data.
  • New OS Data Hub will provide free access, up to a threshold, to OS MasterMap for first time.
  • OS Data Hub contains new and enhanced APIs so users can connect their apps and services directly to OS data - supplying the latest updates on demand.
  • The APIs will enable improved data visualisations and insights.
  • Four new OS OpenData products to support linking and analysing location-based information more easily.
  • A new, plug and play, premium addressing product - AddressBase Core.
  • New licensing terms delivering greater freedoms for users to share their authoritative data.

Through the new platform, known as the OS Data Hub, businesses and developers will have direct and immediate access to OS's most detailed and trusted location data and property level information. For the first time, users will be able to get free access, up to a monthly threshold, to OS MasterMap, one of the most detailed location datasets in the world via a series of new APIs.

"Ordnance Survey maintains one of the most accurate and detailed geospatial databases in the world. This valuable data will help stimulate innovation in the economy, encouraging more developers and businesses to realise the significant benefits which trusted and authoritative location data can deliver."

Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility at BEIS

Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility at BEIS, said: “Location enabled technologies have become part of everyday life and are supporting government, business and individuals across the nation. From improved navigation for emergency services to helping utility companies connect services to millions of homes, geospatial data has become an important part of the digital economy.

“Ordnance Survey maintains one of the most accurate and detailed geospatial databases in the world. This valuable data will help stimulate innovation in the economy, encouraging more developers and businesses to realise the significant benefits which trusted and authoritative location data can deliver.”

The easy to use APIs will make it quicker and easier for users to work with OS data and connect directly to a range of datasets, supplying the latest updates on demand. The APIs are set to transform the way that OS data is used in apps and services. They will enable enhanced data visualisations, improved insight and data analytics, as well as supporting existing customer applications such as navigation and asset management.

In addition to OS MasterMap, the APIs will provide up to £1,000 per month of free access to a range of other premium datasets including the iconic 1:25 000 leisure mapping and road network data, as well as unlimited free access to OS OpenData products.

Chris Chambers, Head of PSGA at OS, said: "Today, OS's trusted and authoritative data is relied on by businesses and the public sector to support decision making and underpin their products and services; it has become part of the fabric of everyday life.

"The new OS Data Hub and APIs are a significant step in improving access and usability of OS data and I look forward to seeing a new wave of developers working with data on the next generation of apps and services."

The launch of the OS Data Hub follows a successful trial with over 700 users exploring the potential of what is possible. Feedback from the trial has been overwhelmingly positive, with users sharing ideas for a huge number of potential use cases for the APIs and datasets.

As a participant in the trial Andrew Terry, Technical Director at Centremaps, said: "Had the APIs been available when we first began developing a service then our time to market would have been significantly reduced along with removing financial and technical investment barriers."

The new and enhanced free APIs available via the OS Data Hub

  • OS Maps API – allows easy integrations of OS mapping into apps and websites, including OS MasterMap Topography Layer and 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster.
  • OS Vector Tile API – enables designers and developers to create slick, quick vector maps that are fully customisable. The API gives users the ability to tailor the style to make the perfect map, specific to customer needs. The vector tile service allows users to tilt the map and display extruded features in three dimensions.
  • OS Features API –provides direct access to OS MasterMap data for data analysis, taking full advantage of precise geometries and rich attributes to generate new insight. There are many data layers available via the API which users can filter and select based on location or attribution, such as buildings, roads and greenspaces.
  • OS Downloads API –allows users to download OS OpenData products direct to their machines.
  • OS Names API – an accurate location look-up service including place names, postcodes, roads and much more.
  • OS Linked Identifiers API –provides access to the valuable relationships between properties, streets and OS MasterMap features.

In addition to the new data hub and APIs, OS is launching a number of other significant developments to support both existing and new customers. These include reducing barriers to entry into premium data, freeing up licensing terms and expanding the OS OpenData portfolio of high quality, maintained location data.

Key developments include:

  • Reducing royalties by up to 80% for the offline use of data, including valuable property level address data, resulting in current OS customers and partners benefitting from the new pricing structure.
  • Four new OS OpenData products through the release of key identifiers, including the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), Unique Street Reference Number (USRN), and TOIDs with associated geometry. The products will be released under Open Government Licence and supported by an updated Identifier policy, which will make linking and analysing location-based information easier.
  • A new plug and play product – AddressBase Core, which provides easy access and use of OS's accurate property address data, with 33 million addresses across Great Britain in a simple, pre-processed, flat-file dataset, designed to be easy to use and unlock immediate value from the nation's most complete address data.
  • New freedoms for the public sector to publish more of their authoritative data under open licence terms – including property extents and data held against the key identifiers UPRN, USRN and TOID. It is expected that this will deliver greater levels of data sharing and increased interoperability between important government datasets.

This announcement is the first output from the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) which was launched in April 2020. Through the agreement, OS will be delivering new data with improved accessibility and increased freedoms to share.

Director of the Geospatial Commission, Thalia Baldwin, said: “Better data and improved access is crucial to our recovery and growth. improving access to Ordnance Survey’s MasterMap, combined with the release of the core UPRN and USRN location data identifiers that form the golden thread that links activity in a range of sectors - from housing, transport and retail to emergency response, public health and environmental impacts - to outcomes that support increased productivity and economic value.”

Steve Blair, CEO of Ordnance Survey, adds: "These new services, datasets and changes to licensing are only the beginning. We have an ambitious plan, working in collaboration with the Geospatial Commission and expert user groups, to bring improvements and new developments that will show customers how to see a better place and deliver positive impact. We look forward to working closely with our customers to ensure that our data continues to support business and innovation, efficient delivery of public services, and economic value for the UK."

Explore OS Data

Learn about the geospatial data you can get and the plans available

Our data platform provides access to all Ordnance Survey datasets through a suite of APIs and data downloads. 

By Press Office

Sharing the latest news about OS. We can license you to use OS maps in print, online and film format. For more information and resources for journalists, bloggers and media professionals, email pressoffice@os.uk or call 023 8005 5565.

Products and solutions featured in this news article

  • OS Maps API

    Accurate, up-to-date maps that offer the most convenient way to add detailed OS data to your application.

  • OS Vector Tile API

    A vector tile service providing detailed Ordnance Survey data as a customisable basemap.

  • OS Features API

    An API to filter Ordnance Survey data for buildings, roads, rivers, hospitals, playing fields, greenspaces.

  • OS Downloads API

    The OS Downloads API lets you script and automate your downloads of OS OpenData and OS Premium data. Save valuable time by automating the process.

  • OS Names API

    A geographic directory with basic information on identifiable places. Find the closest location to a given point through the API.

  • OS Linked Identifiers API

    Access the relationships between properties, streets and OS MasterMap identifiers for free.

  • AddressBase Core

    AddressBase Core is a simple, accessible addressing data product giving plug and play access to complete, accurate address data.