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Thread: Ordnance Survey releases map data free

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      Redrobes is offline
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    Default Ordnance Survey releases map data free

    You really would think this was an April fools day thing but apparently it really isn't.

    Ordnance Survey is the UK mapping agency originally for the ministry of defence but went more commercial providing maps for the UK to unprecedented detail and accuracy. They have been under pressure for many years to release their data free like the US gov agencies do being paid by the tax payer. So far we subsidize this company and they get crown copyright on all the maps and then we have to buy that data again when you want it. But today thats changing.

    http://data.gov.uk/data/publicbody/Ordnance%2520Survey

    Though servers are down today due to excessive load, maintenance and that they are probably serving this from a ZX81 running Apache in basic... still it looks like when the heat is off this could be incredible. Since google can do it I think their data is a lot less valuable now. There has been a UK wide GPS users group collecting up maps of every road to the point that it is quite filled out as well. Oh and our gov has about 6 weeks left in office and there is no point in giving the next one any revenue streams...

    Post codes are also going to be released free too which is hardly surprising since a) people have been hammering on about them for years as its a business critical database and b) they managed to accidentally release all the codes to coords a few months back in any case and they have been doing the torrents ever since.

    So this might break open a huge quantity of dev work based on that data and is a really big deal.

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    That's really really good news. Thanks for the heads up. Also, I'm guessing the military background is where the Ordnance in the name comes from? I'd never thought about that really. Interesting.
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    Oh my bloody word! Redrobes....thank you for the info and have some rep....yum yum yum yum yum!

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    I noticed that within a minuscule amount of time I can see google links to mirror sites but I wont believe all of this until I have some download on my disk. It still seems too good to be true. Were talking the gov here after all...

    Ta for the rep but I am just the messenger really. Whether we can do something useful with the data remains to be seen. I have previously written an app to extract contour lines on maps and try to turn them into DEMs with limited success. Its obvious that the maps were printed with random noise on them to deter this exact purpose. Look at the MUCH improved print quality of maps from the 1970's compared with modern ones... Not exactly in line with printing technology ! I saw a web site once where some PhD guy was extolling his thesis and programs to do this with some images which had most convenient contour lines in them. I mailed and asked a few pertinent questions and got a slightly more honest account of its ability. Basically in the printed form its very hard indeed to get 3D DEM from arbitrary 1:50K or 1:25K map images scanned off of a map. But if they are handing the data out free then maybe there's no reason to do any "selective availability" type stuff on the data any more... maybe. Well we will see shortly I guess.

    Still seems too good to be true...

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    Ahh it seems the waters are indeed muddied... To be honest I don't think I understand the full implications of this yet but AFAICT it looks like its being opened up somewhat but in some limited and unspecified licensing manner. Which if you ask me is pretty much par for the course with our gov. Anyway, you read it and see what you think - then post

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04...ing_agreement/

    Sounds like post codes are not on the cards tho which gets a mneh out of me cos google can do them. Its being able to host or post OS maps that I want to think about. That and derive data from them to use and post. Personally I agree with the sentiment that there's more to be gained from tax out of new products than the current £20m profits at mo.

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    I know this is a bit of a thread resurrection but I had a link from some place saying that they got some data from ordnance survey opendata pages. Well I just been on there....

    OS OpenData products | Business and government | Ordnance Survey

    ...and its most definitely live now. I think it might have been for some time but I can say this. I have downloaded the whole UK 50m DEM in ascii so the data is open and available now. I am going to spend an hour or two writing the decoder for it and will post a pic or two later on.

    But WOW even after the download zip came through I still didn't think it really was the right data but it definitely is the whole UK at 50m spacing. Though you need to abide by the license, that license is quite open including commercial use. Its a lot like CC with share alike and attribution. Amazing work by the OS team to release this.

    Edit: Oh yeah I recall where I saw it - you can get the whole UK on minecraft now. I thought for a while they might have had some kind of private deal with them to use the data so was pretty astounded when I realized it was open to all.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 09-24-2013 at 08:51 AM.

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    Confirmed that its the real deal. DEM of the whole UK at 50m. Fantastic - I have been waiting for this for a long time !

    Id add pics but the site still wont let me.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 09-24-2013 at 10:27 AM.

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      ravells is offline
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    Amazing, Thanks Redrobes!

    This data should work with Fractal Terrains. I'll give it a go!

    Ack it's in Shape, GML or ASCII Grid...no DEM file

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    Its in ArcASCII which is a well standard format. What formats do you have the capability of reading ?

    Edit: These are some pics of the data (Top of Wales) which I need to image host so they may not be here in the future...



    Last edited by Redrobes; 09-24-2013 at 01:59 PM.

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    I'm using Fractal Terrains Pro which can read .bin files only (it appears) - maybe Waldronate can give further details? Those pictures look fab.

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