Open OS Data

I’m happy and hopeful at the announcement by the government that “mid-scale” Ordnance Survey data sets will be made freely available from April next year. It means we’ll be able to move a lot more into the “open data” side of Unlock services, offer open postcode and grid reference lookups.

Unlock’s open data gazetteer will become a lot more flexible with detailed footprints for many places rather than just pairs of coordinates. This will make it more worthwhile putting more complex spatial queries into the API (searches for intersections of footprints, searches for buffers around footprints, etc.) as they can be more widely used. One day we will be able to say, in public, “Show me images of all towns within a mile of the banks of the River Tweed”.

Well, the news is circulating but there will now be a 12 week consultation period before concluding exactly what OS data products will become openly available to us and how best the data should be distributed. Ed Parsons offered a ;speculative list of OS data products which he thinks may be opened next year. From our perspective, BoundaryLine, CodePoint and Meridian2 would be a great start, along with the OS Locator mid-range gazetteer which isn’t on Ed’s list.


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