Ordnance Survey Data to be Made Freely Available

Caitlin Dempsey


A press release from the British government entitled “Re-mapping the future for Ordnance Survey – making public data public” has announced that the Ordnance Survey will “will open up its data relating to electoral and local authority boundaries, postcode areas and mid scale mapping information.”  

The announcement comes after a protracted battle by groups such as the “Free Our Data” coalition headed up by the UK newspaper, The Guardian.   That effort was launched back in March of 2006 with the stance “Our taxes fund the collection of public data – yet we pay again to access it” in a editorial essay entitled “Give us back our crown jewels“.

The Guardian reports on the announcement and reaction to it, as well as highlighting other government data sources that still aren’t public.

Ordnance survey logo

Ordnance Survey Data to Be Set Free April 1st, 2010

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced as part of a speech on his plans for digital economy growth that Ordnance Survey Data will be free starting April 1st: “Following the strong support in our recent consultation, I can confirm that from 1 April, we will be making a substantial package of information held by Ordnance Survey freely available to the public, without restrictions on re-use.”  

Free weekly newsletter

Fill out your e-mail address to receive our newsletter!

More details are promised by the end of March.  The release of the data came after a long battle by the Free our Data coalition.

Ordnance Survey: Mapping – A Future?

BBC Radio 4 featured an interview with Director General Vanessa Lawrence of the Ordnance Survey and Charles Arthur, technology editor at the Guardian Newspaper.  The Ordnance Survey and the recent announcement to make their data freely available was discussed on the You and Yours programme on Monday 7th December in a feature titled “Ordnance Survey: Mapping – A Future?”


Photo of author
About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.