The past contents will stay here and also be duplicated at the new blog. Thanks.
The Unlock Places API was recently upgraded to include Ordnance Survey’s Open data. This feature rich data from Code-Point Open, Boundary-Line and the 1:50,000 gazetteer includes placenames and locations (points, boxes and shapes) and is now open for all to use! You can just get started with the API.
We’ve also added new functionality to the service, including an HTML view for features, more feature attributes, the ability to request request results in different coordinate systems as well as the usual speed improvements and bug-fixes.
The new data and features are available from Tuesday, 20th April 2010. Please visit the example queries page to try out some of the queries.
We welcome any feedback on the new features – and if there’s anything you’d like to see in future versions of Unlock, please let us know. Alternatively, why not just get in touch to let us know how you’re using the service, we’d love to hear from you!
Full details of the changes are listed below the fold.
The April 1st release of many Ordnance Survey datasets as open data is great news for us at Unlock. As hoped for, Boundary-Line (administrative boundaries), the 50K gazetteer of placenames and a modified version of Code-Point (postal locations) are now open data.
We’ll be putting these datasets into the open access part of Unlock Places, our place search service, and opening up Unlock Geocodes based on Code-Point Open. However, this is going to take a week or two, because we’re also adding some new features to Unlock’s search and results.
Currently, registered academic users are able to:
- Grab shapes and bounding boxes in KML or GeoJSON – no need for GIS software, re-use in web applications
- Search by bounding box and feature type as well as place name
- See properties of shapes (area, perimeter, central point) useful for statistics visualisation
And in soon we’ll be publishing these new features currently in testing:
- Relationships between places – cities, counties and regions containing found places – in the default results
- Re-project points and shapes into different coordinate reference systems
These have been added so we can finally plug the Unlock Places search into EDINA’s Digimap service.
Having Boundary-Line shapes in our open data gazetteer will mean we can return bounding boxes or polygons through Unlock Text, which extracts placenames from documents and metadata. This will help to open up new research directions for our work with the Language Technology Group at Informatics in Edinburgh.
There are some organisations we’d love to collaborate with (almost next door, the Map Library at the National Library of Scotland and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) but have been unable to, because Unlock and its predecessor GeoCrossWalk were limited by license to academic use only. I look forward to seeing all the things the OS Open Data release has now made possible.
I’m also excited to see what re-use we and others could make of the Linked Data published by Ordnance Survey Research, and what their approach will be to connecting shapes to their administrative model.
MasterMap, the highest-detail OS dataset, wasn’t included in the open release. Academic subscribers to the Digimap Ordnance Survey Collection get access to places extracted from MasterMap, and improvements to other datasets created using MasterMap, with an Unlock Places API key.