Ordnance Survey opens up map data in digital innovation boost


Ordnance Survey has launched an open data mapping database, OpenMap, in a move to boost economic growth and digital innovation.

The database will provide street level-detail geospatial data on both mobile and web platforms, and the organisation has invited developers to use the open datasets to build new products and enhance existing apps.

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "Access to open data will open up job opportunities. Britain is already a world-leader at designing and making innovative products. But we need to keep investing and supporting our technology businesses to stay ahead.

"Making this data more accessible means more small and medium companies will be able to use Ordnance Survey's world-leading maps, combining geographical data from multiple sources and visualising them at a high level of detail."

Ordnance Survey also unveiled plans for an Open Water Network and an updated location-finder service known as Gazetteer, with all these initiatives due to be released at the end of March.

The Open Water Network will present data for all of the UK's waterways and a new and improved Gazetteer will provide the most up to date place information including place names, road names, road numbers and postcodes.

Neil Ackroyd, Ordnance Survey's acting director general and chief executive, said: "I am confident these new open data developments will be welcomed across the public and private sector and that [they] may inspire a new wave of developers and entrepreneurs to work with OS data."

It also demonstrates the UK government's data transparency, Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office said at the launch of the services.

"Open data is a new raw material and today's Ordnance Survey announcement builds on the progress which has seen us recognised as the world's most transparent government. Transparency is an idea whose time has come and we must keep challenging ourselves to do more," he said.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.