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Ordnance Survey creates data licence for pandemic responses


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Ordnance Survey (OS) has set up a Covid-19 response licence to give organisations involved in the coronavirus response free access to the location data it holds.

It said the licence will apply in addition to that covered by the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement and One Scotland Mapping Agreement and applies for the specific purpose of supporting responses to the pandemic.

The licence provides for access to a range of OS products, including addressing and road datasets and detailed topographic data.

OS highlighted the potential to use the licence for purposes such as the creation of a web or mobile app that uses location data, and to identify and understand the proximity of key services, such as pharmacies, in a specific area.

It could also contribute to planning the allocation of resources such as transportation to hospitals.

OS has followed up the move with the creation of a group of data packages to support public authorities in their response to the pandemic. A spokesperson said that, while these are not formally part of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement and the One Scotland Mapping Agreement, they draw on data that is covered by them and are free of charge to organisations that can show they are involved in dealing with the pandemic.

Huge demand

“We’ve seen a huge demand for addressing points of interest data,” he said. “Rather than taking customers through how to run through queries we thought it would be better to provide the data in packages they were likely to find useful.”

A key element of the data provides the location and addresses of care homes, pharmacies and GP practices, reflecting the need of public authorities to coordinate their efforts to support vulnerable people.

Other sets cover transport hubs and networks, electricity sites and lines, hardstanding areas, the local and areas of car parks, the location of hotels and supermarket chain areas.

The organisation has also set up an emergency response team to support the NHS, emergency services and local authorities in their responses. It includes a dedicated phone hotline for emergency planners.

Image from Ordnance Survey

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