Friday, May 21, 2010

OS VectorMap District - Available on OS OpenData

Fully customizable, mid-scale mapping that has been specifically designed for the Web has now arrived in OS OpenData, with the release of OS VectorMap District.

OS VectorMap District is now available for developers to download, order on disc and view via Ordnance Survey’s free mapping portal. The new dataset has been specifically designed for use online and created to support the aims of, offering a clear and customisable background on which to display a whole range of other information.

Rob Gower, Ordnance Survey Technical Product Manager, comments: “If you look at the range of public data that has been made available, a huge amount of it is based around location. From health statistics to crime rates and transport data, it all makes most sense when viewed in a geographical context. That’s why we’ve created and released OS VectorMap District to provide that context.”

OS VectorMap District is best viewed at scales from 1:15,000 to 1:35,000 and is available in both raster and vector formats, the latter offering developers the chance to come up with their own unique styles to meet specific needs.

“There are 38 different types of features, all of which can be customised and altered. If you want to highlight the roads, urban areas, change their colours or remove them completely, you can,” Mr Gower adds. “We wanted to make it as flexible as possible whilst even the ‘raster’ version has a clean and clear design. We’re very excited to see what people will use it for.”

The release of a new product marks a hugely successful first few weeks for the free mapping portal. Mash-ups and applications are already appearing as developers get to grips with what is available. Early uses include a post code look-up service and maps displaying a range of information available through, including pharmacies, bus stops and stations.

Mr Gower continues, “We’ve seen a huge amount of data downloaded by people spread across six continents, which is great to see. We are looking forward to receiving feedback from users of the product so that we can continue to develop it."

A wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping was made available for free reuse on 1 April after a public consultation document set out various long-term strategic options. The consultation period closed on 17 March, and on 1 April the then Communities Secretary, John Denham, launched the service from Ordnance Survey’s Southampton head office.

OS VectorMap District is part of the OS VectorMap family of products. Its larger‑scale counterpart, OS VectorMap Local, was launched in 2009 and is available under licence.

OS VectorMap District has been released as an ‘alpha’ product, meaning it will be developed and enhanced over time in line with user feedback.

To view, download or order data from OS OpenData, visit:


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