Feeds

UK government considers open source Ordnance Survey data

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
NATO declares WAR on Google Glass, mounts attack alongside MPAA
Yes, the National Association of Theater Owners is quite upset
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.