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OS unlocks MasterMap data to boost UK economy

Aim is to continue to drive forward the UK as a world leader in location data

Location-aware technologies can revolutionise the UK economy, says the Cabinet Office
Location-aware technologies can revolutionise the UK economy, says the Cabinet Office

The UK government is making “key parts” of the Ordnance Survey (OS) MasterMap freely available to businesses and individuals in a bid to improve access to geospatial data and drive innovation across the UK economy.


This is a step on a journey towards more open geospatial data infrastructure for the UK and it is estimated the move will boost the UK economy by “at least” £130m each year, as innovative companies and start-ups use the data.


The release of OS MasterMap data is one of the first projects to be delivered by the new Geospatial Commission, in conjunction with Ordnance Survey.


The aim is to continue to drive forward the UK as a world leader in location data, helping to grow the UK’s digital economy by an estimated £11bn each year.


“Opening up OS MasterMap underlines this government’s commitment to ensuring the UK continues to lead the way in digital innovation. Releasing this valuable government data for free will help stimulate innovation in the economy, generate jobs and improve public services,” said David Lidington, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office.


“Location-aware technologies – using geospatial data – are revolutionising our economy. From navigating public transport to tracking supply chains and planning efficient delivery routes, these digital services are built on location data that has become part of everyday life and business.”


According to the Government, the newly available data should be particularly useful to small firms and entrepreneurs to realise their ideas and compete with larger organisations, encouraging greater competition and innovation.


OS MasterMap data already supports emerging technologies such as driverless vehicles, 5G and connected cities – seen as important drivers of economic growth.


“Ordnance Survey holds the most accurate and comprehensive set of location data for Great Britain, making public sector services work more efficiently and helping to build innovative businesses across every sector of the economy,” added Neil Ackroyd, interim CEO of Ordnance Survey.


“Since its launch in 2001, OS MasterMap has been one of the most comprehensive and detailed geospatial reference datasets in the world. This latest development is another step on Ordnance Survey’s open data journey. We’re looking forward to supporting the Geospatial Commission in making this data more accessible and more widely used.”


The announcement follows the launch of the first GovTech challenge in May this year – a competition designed to incentivise Britain’s tech firms to come up with innovative solutions to improve public services.


These competitions will be delivered using the £20m GovTech fund launched by the prime minister in November 2017.


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