Feeds

UK government considers open source Ordnance Survey data

Can you tell me how to get from A to B, please?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The government has released a 91-page consultation paper on how UK citizens could get more access to Ordnance Survey mapping data from next year.

"We are now consulting on proposals to make certain products from Ordnance Survey freely available so it can be used for digital innovation and to support democratic accountability," said Communities Minister Ian Austin.

As we reported last month, UK.gov announced proposals to get the Ordnance Survey to open up some postcode data from April next year. However, the plans appeared to fall short of getting the Royal Mail to allow its contentious Postcode Address File (PAF) database opened up for free access on the internet.

In November, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the government would grant the British public more access to some OS data from 2010.

At the time, it was unclear if such a move would lead free and open access to the Royal Mail’s PAF database, which in 2007 pulled in £1.6m in licensing fees for the state-owned company.

The Royal Mail was resolute about its data and who owns it in a statement to The Register last month.

"Royal Mail invests significantly in collating and maintaining the Postcode Address File (PAF) and this cost is recovered in an independently regulated licensing [system]," it said.

According to the consultation papers on the OS, the government is mulling three options regarding the data.

Option 1: Maintain current business strategy - continued delivery of the strategy outlined in April 2009, plus consideration of release of OS Free.

Option 2: Release of licensing constraints on large-scale data and release of Ordnance Survey Free.

Option 3: Staged transition from the current strategy - to a model based on more open geographic information, including release of Ordnance Survey Free.

UK.gov currently favours the third option, and said that convincing the likes of the Royal Mail to get on board with its free data proposals was proving to be a challenge, especially as the PAF remains a source of cash for the postal service.

"Several barriers exist to movement from the status quo. First, there is no clear sponsor in government for a solution to this problem. Secondly, the parties involved have been concerned to maintain independent revenue streams," noted the consultation paper.

Anyone interested in wading into the debate about what OS data should be set free, has until 17 March 2010 to do so.

The consultation paper can be viewed here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.