Ordnance Survey opens up free access to OS MasterMap location data


Ordnance Survey, the UK's mapping agency, has released a new set of APIs and datasets under the banner of OS DataHub, which the organisation says will reduce barriers to access to some of the country's most accurate geolocation and topographic data for app developers and analysts.

The online repository, opened today, will provide free access, within certain limits, to OS MasterMap, the company's flagship digital product which details every fixed feature in Great Britain more than a few meters in size.

This access is enabled through a set of new APIs, which Ordnance Survey says will also make it easier to connect this data with other datasets.

In addition to MasterMap, the APIs will also allow APIs up to £1,000 per month of free access to other resources including the 1:25 000 leisure mapping and road network datasets.

OS OpenData, the free to use digital map data released under the Open Government licence, is also available from . Four new products have been added to OS OpenData through the release of key identifiers, including Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), Unique Street Reference Number (USRN), and topographic indicators (TOIDs).

For paying users, OS DataHub introduces a new premium address product called AddressBase Core which Ordnance Survey says gives "plug and play access to complete and accurate address data and additional attribution, without being overly difficult or complex."

Ordnance Survey is also making it easier for users to download data, adding a download API to OS OpenData and reducing royalties by up to 80 per cent for offline use of other data, including property-level address information.

In a statement, Chris Chambers, head of PSGA at , said: "Today, OS's trusted and authoritative data is relied on by businesses and the public sector to support decision making and underpin their products and services; it has become part of the fabric of everyday life.

"The new OS Data Hub and APIs are a significant step in improving access and usability of OS data and I look forward to seeing a new wave of developers working with data on the next generation of apps and services."

The UK has long been a leader in digital mapping data, digitising 230,000 maps in 1995. Since 2015 Ordnance Survey Ltd has been a government owned limited company in public ownership. The company has been criticised in the past for holding a virtual monopoly on detailed mapping data but allowing free access to only the less precise and granular datasets.

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