OS OpenData: Ordnance Survey Free Data Portal Updated

Posted by GIS talk On Friday, December 14, 2012
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Ordnance Survey’s free data portal, OS OpenData, is being upgraded to make it even easier for developers and entrepreneurs to create and customise maps.

The new advances to the popular portal, include the release of a fully maintained height dataset, an enhanced version of OS VectorMap District and a new cartographic styling package. The advances will make OS OpenData products easier, even more accurate and more flexible to use. It will enable users to create and customise different maps and give them more options to display their data.

OS OpenData is an online portal from Ordnance Survey, which was launched in April 2010, providing free and unrestricted access to a large range of mapping datasets.

Under the new upgrade package, which will be implemented by April 2013, users will be able to access a new fully maintained height product called OS Terrain 50. The new product, which has a similar resolution to Land-Form PANORAMA, will enable users to access an advanced product with consistently maintained height content for the whole of Great Britain. Land-Form PANORAMA was an unmaintained product and was last updated in the 1990s. The new product will give users more confidence in the currency of the data and will be supplied in additional formats, making it far more accessible.

Another product being upgraded is OS VectorMap District. The new dataset will replace the current beta version with a fully maintained product release, which will include product updates every six months. Several improvements have been made to the product following user feedback, including an improved cartographic style, new ‘look and feel’ and additional data formats.

OS VectorMap District was launched in 2010 to support OS OpenData, and ever since has been one of the most popular datasets downloaded through the online portal. The new version provides users with new look vector and raster products, providing users with an easier to use and more accessible product.

In addition to the new cartographic styling of OS VectorMap District, two other popular products have been restyled to create a consistent look and feel across all datasets. Both Strategi and Meridian 2 will have a new cartographic style from the New Year to complement OS VectorMap District. It is intended that the developments will significantly enhance the usability of the products and deliver a product portfolio which is consistent through a series of mapping scales. This will provide greater interaction with the maps, whilst maintaining the up-to-date and reliable quality of the data.

In the New Year, Ordnance Survey will also be releasing a set of Styled Layered Descriptors, meaning that users can access, for free, online style sheets for OS OpenData products. The new style sheets will make it easier for users to ‘plug in and play’ and build Ordnance Survey maps into their Intranet web services or GIS.

Peter ter Haar, Director of Products, said: “We’ve been really pleased with the success of  OS OpenData since 2010, and watching Ordnance Survey data being used in new and exciting products, services and applications. This latest upgrade will deliver valuable enhancements to a number of our OS OpenData products.

“All of the upgrades are being implemented to benefit the user, whether they are a business, charity, government user or developer. We want to make sure that OS OpenData is easy to use, accessible in the right formats and available in a consistent style across the product range. The new advances allow users to access world-class mapping data in a format which makes it easy to create and customise maps.”

Ordnance Survey is a member of the Public Data Group and is supporting the drive to explore new innovative ways of making data more freely accessible to users.


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