5,500 public sector organisations will gain access to local data

public sector organisations, geospatial commission
© Hyotographics

Over 5,500 public sector organisations now have access to Ordnance Survey information, as part of the Geospatial Commission’s Public Sector Geospatial Agreement

The Ordnance Survey Data Hub is host to a suite of APIs which can provide a new way for public sector organisations to access up-to-date data, which connects users to a range of datasets and the latest product updates.

The urgency for location data has been seen in the scramble to construct functioning Track and Trace systems, not just in the UK, but globally. The tracking of COVID transmission chains underpins the success of any containment measures, which are increasingly amping up as death tolls spike firmly above 80,000. In the last seven days alone, nearly half a million people in the UK were diagnosed with COVID-19.

When it comes to control over data, local authorities have been establishing new precedents – from deciding which students are considered vulnerable, to asking for various economic relief packages depending on the situation of local businesses. In this way, the pandemic has been described as a great reset – for how public sector organisations function, for the value of remote learning, and countless other adjustments made to accommodate an infectious disease.

‘The pandemic has highlighted how vital it is’

Chris Chambers, Head of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement at OS, said: “Over the last 10 months we have seen location data play an important role in supporting the public sector’s response to Covid-19. The pandemic has highlighted how vital it is that high quality geospatial data is easily and quickly accessible to all users.

“The APIs let users access the data they need when they need it. They deliver quick and easy access to detailed OS data and have been designed to save users’ valuable time. By using the APIs it means that OS is handling the complexities of spatial data management, allowing users to focus on creating even greater value from the data.”

The APIs will help save time and resources allowing users to focus on using the accurate geospatial data to underpin decisions, gain insight, support public services and drive innovation. One significant benefit is a reduction in data management overheads removing the need to spend time downloading and managing data.

‘Improved access is crucial to boost UK economic recovery’

The Geospatial Commission’s Deputy Director, Jamie Clark, said: “Better location data and improved access is crucial to boost UK economic recovery and growth.

“The innovations to data access that Ordnance Survey is driving through the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement, will provide for better policy and operational outcomes across a range of sectors and services, from housing, transport and retail to emergency response, public health and environmental management.”

What are the other benefits of using APIs?

● APIs provide new ways of working with OS data, for example enabling engaging web maps and data visualisations.
● Ability to use the same data across multiple applications to get a consistent view.
● Plan and automate data downloads. The APIs are not replacing any existing products and functionality. Users can continue to download the data products via the OS Downloads API.

What APIs are available?

  • OS Maps API – allows easy integrations of OS mapping into apps and websites, including OS MasterMap Topography Layer and 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster.
  • OS Vector Tile API – enables designers and developers to create slick, quick vector maps that are fully customisable. The API gives users the ability to tailor the style to make the perfect map, specific to customer needs. The vector tile service allows users to tilt the map and display extruded features in three dimensions.
  • OS Features API –provides direct access to OS MasterMap, taking full advantage of precise geometries and rich attributes to generate new insight. There are many data layers available via the API which users can filter and select based on location or attribution, such as buildings, roads and greenspaces.
  • OS Downloads API –allows users to download OS OpenData products direct to their machines.
  • OS Names API – an accurate location look-up service including place names, postcodes, roads and much more.
  • OS Linked Identifiers API – provides access to the valuable relationships between properties, streets and OS MasterMap features.
  • OS Places API – a secure, scalable and resilient address look-up web service. OS Places API lets you search the UK’s most comprehensive online address database.


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