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Geospatial Commission unveils Data Exploration Licence


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Geospatial Commission and its partner bodies have launched a new single Data Exploration Licence covering geospatial data from a range of public sector sources.

It said this will simplify the initial access to and use of the data.

The Data Exploration Licence provides free initial access to data held by the British Geological Survey, Coal Authority, HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey and the UK Hydrographic Office.

Under its terms, users will be able to access data held by the five partner bodies through a single licence and at no cost, and will be permitted to share some of the results of their work with others.

A spokesperson explained that the free access applies to using the data in the evaluation stage of developing any new products and services. If the user wishes to take these into public uses they will then talk to the relevant partner about what type of licensing would be appropriate.

The need to decide on a licence for further use in the public sphere partly reflects the position of some of the partners as trading bodies with the need to raise revenue to cover their running costs.


The commission said that users can be confident they are using the data on consistent, harmonised terms, and that the various datasets can be combined and used in the same way, subject to the same conditions.

Nigel Clifford, deputy chair of the Geospatial Commission, said: “This is strong and collaborative progress against the commission’s mission of maximising the value of geospatial data for the UK. This makes geospatial data accessible for researchers in one place for the first time using a simplified licence.”

Professor John Ludden, chief executive officer of the British Geological Survey (BGS), the lead organisation of the licensing project, added: “BGS is always looking for ways to get its data used in new and novel ways. This new licence gives innovators a safe space to see what’s possible with data without having to worry about financial commitments or complicated restrictions on how the data should be used.”

The move is part the commission’s programme to simplify licensing, one of four aimed at improving the UK’s geospatial data infrastructure. The others cover data discoverability, linked identifiers and enhancement of the core data asset.

Image from Environment Agency CC BY 2.0

Further detail added on 23/4/19 on obtaining information on details of licensing

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