From Government to start-ups, the OS Data Hub delivers value to thousands of new customers
The OS Data Hub emerged from April 2020’s Geospatial Commissions Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA). It was developed with the aim of delivering a positive impact to all areas of government; as well as supporting businesses, developers, and new, emerging markets/users. With 1.2 billion transactions and 8,210 new customers to the OS Data Hub in the last financial year alone, it has transformed the way OS location data is accessed and used.
Following its launch in July 2020, the first 12 months of the OS Data Hub delivered benefits to thousands of existing users of OS data; and improved customer’s experience around access, usability, and licensing of trusted OS data. In addition, the Data Hub attracted a new influx of developers and organisations, from a range of sectors and markets, to work and innovate with OS data.
The APIs have helped save time and resources, allowing users to focus on using accurate geospatial data to underpin decisions, gain insight, support public services, and drive innovation. APIs have also reduced the need to spend time downloading and managing data.
With so many benefits delivered in the first year, Michael Gordon, Strategic Product Manager at Ordnance Survey, explains what the focus has been in year two:
“In the last year we have completed five releases, mainly around premium data download functionality for the public sector and our partners. Plus, enhancements for various APIs and other services, such as our Error Reporting tool.
“This has significantly enhanced the OS Data Hub’s functionality and experience for customers. In terms of customer adoption, we have nearly doubled the number of users who have signed up to the OS Data Hub.”
The numbers speak for themselves. The second year has seen public sector organisation sign-ups to the OS Data Hub increase by 96%. There was also a 56.6% increase in partner organisations, and a staggering 114.2% increase in Open Plan users.
“It’s been a busy year,” commented Michael. “Having reached the second anniversary of the release of the OS Data Hub, we have seen massive adoption across public sector, partners, and Open Data users.
“Across both the Data Hub team and the wider Products team, we’ve been working through the product lifecycle. In addition to analysing discovery to withdrawal, our main focus has been discovery, prototyping, and delivery for the PSGA.”
In the public sector, OS data played a critical part in the response to Covid-19. OS addressing data, via the OS Places API, was vital for accurately delivering over 250 million home testing kits, and supporting Test & Trace.
Location data was also used to map vulnerable citizens in the community who needed extra support during the lockdowns. For example, Barnsley Council was able to create a local Covid-19 test and trace system, and developed a vulnerability index at a household level, helped by OS data products.
This work has certainly been the most rewarding period of the last 12 months, as Michael explains: “The biggest highlight has definitely been the use of our services in various government Covid-19 services. Supporting critical infrastructure and services in the public or private sector, whether physical, natural, or digital, is our vision and focus for OS data platforms, products, and services. This critical work exemplified this.”
In the private sector, prop-tech organisations like PropertyData and HomeFinder use numerous OS API’s from the OS Data Hub to underpin their decision making and help them glean crucial insights. PropertyData, the UK’s most comprehensive and wide-ranging array of residential property market data and analytics functionality, use OS Maps API, OS Features API, and OS Places API because, in the words of their founder Michael Dent: “OS MasterMap is the gold standard for web maps” and helps them “add significant value to their product.”
Likewise, HomeFinder, a property portal that helps people find new homes and developments for sale, often before they are released onto the internet, rely heavily on the data available in the OS Data Hub. OS Greenspace and OS Terrain help them identify areas and properties that are surrounded by greenspace or offer natural views because they are on higher ground, which helps them cater to a more data-savvy customer base.
In the developer space, start-up and Geovation member Paua, who aim to simplify electric charging for business, fleet solutions, and ultimately everyone, recently took part in OS Map and Hack. Our virtual hackathon aimed at expediting EV adoption and infrastructure, to understand the benefits of using geospatial data alongside their solution.
Using the OS Maps API for their basemap, Paua also used the OS Features API to identify geographic features such as local amenities, including cafes and restaurants, that are located at various charging stations. The richness of OS data provides fleet managers important location information to improve their driving experience, considering their vehicle requirements and consumer needs.
André Pinho, Co-founder and CTO at Paua Tech who led the hack team, said:
“The OS expertise in mapping, combined with the digital tools on offer, enabled us to start demonstrating new features that we will be building into our solutions.
"Creating a use case behind each area we assessed in the hack is important for a driver-focused business such as ours. ‘What to do while I charge’ is a crucial part of the charging experience, so the ability to bring OS amenity and points of interest data to life for our drivers will be built into future releases of our solution."
With so many benefits delivered to the public sector and businesses, what will the OS Data Hub look to achieve in its third year? Michael Gordon explains:
“We’ve got lots more releases and functionality coming. Most importantly of all, we will be launching new services including OS Select+Build and the OS NGD API - Features later this year. This will provide access to the OS National Geographic Database, our next generation of authoritative data for Great Britain.
“In addition, there’s improvements coming to various APIs and other services on the OS Data Hub, and we’re already scoping out many more customer-requested enhancements for the future.”