Ordnance Survey Loses Subsidy

The Guardian reports that the British government has decided to end a subsidy to the Ordnance Survey. The subsidy appears to have had two purposes: one, to ease the OS’s transition from a state-run agency to what is referred to as a “trading fund” (essentially, a state institution run like a business); and two, to subsidize the mapping of regions that would not otherwise be economical to map — “mountains and moorlands,” precisely the places where, when people get lost or planes crash, accurate maps are needed.

While abrupt, this decision was in the works for years, and in fact the subsidy’s annual amount has been shrinking since it began in 1999. The OS says it’ll continue to make such unprofitable maps, but one expert predicts that prices for all their maps will have to rise to make up the difference. It’s a bit more complicated than it sounds, because the OS’s status is complicated, and I don’t pretend to understand a bit of it. Via All Points Blog.