UK Government to Free Ordnance Survey Data

Holy shit. Pinch me, check the date to see that it’s not April 1, then read this British government press release: “The Government will consult on proposals to make data from Ordnance Survey freely available so it can be used for digital innovation and to support democratic accountability.” To say the least, this is as big a reversal in policy as we will ever see in the mapping world. As this understandably smug Guardian article explains, this is part of a larger government effort to open up its data. Via Mapperz, Metafilter, and (of course) OpenGeoData.

Update (Nov. 19 at 8:00 PM):

BBC News coverage of this story (via mapperz).

Peter Batty has some thoughts about this:

I think that this is a very good thing for the UK geospatial industry, and for the general principle of open data, which I am a strong supporter of, despite that fact that I will also point out the challenges with it when appropriate! I think that the right broad option has been chosen out of a complex array of possible choices. But there are risks with the decision too, including the potential for reduced funding and deterioration in quality of Ordnance Survey Maps. And there are likely be some big losers too.

For example, he says in his very next post, OpenStreetMap.