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Ordnance Survey opens OS Data Hub to public sector


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Ordnance Survey (OS) has made APIs to a number of its datasets available to members of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) through its OS Data Hub.

It said the application programme interfaces will be available to over 5,500 public sector organisations and should make it easier for them to work with its data.

This follows the launch of the OS Data Hub, through which developers were given limited access to the datasets, in July.

Under the new arrangements, members of the PSGA can register for access through the Data Hub and the data is free at the point of use.

The available APIs include those for: OS Maps for integration of OS mapping into apps and websites; OS Vector Tile API for the creation of customisable vector maps; OS Features for direct access to OS MasterMap for data analysis; OS Downloads to download OS OpenData products; OS Names, a location look-up service including place names, postcodes, roads and other features; OS Linked Identifiers for access to relationships between properties, streets and OS MasterMap features; and OS Places, a secure online address database.

Pandemic lesson

Chris Chambers, head of the PSGA 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."

He added: “The OS Places API, for example, is a great tool to help users improve the accuracy of their address searches. It’s ideal for use in geocoding, automated form-filling, and local area investigations. In addition, the APIs allow multiple geospatial datasets to be explored and linked together.

"The APIs provide a new way for people to access and work with OS data, and we are looking forward to working closely with our customers to ensure that OS data continues to support them."

Better policy and outcomes

The Geospatial Commission’s deputy director, Jamie Clark, said: “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."

OS said that in the first three months after the launch to developers 2,355 registered to use OS Data Hub, with 1,845 being new to OS. In the same period API users carried out over 40 million transactions, with a 100% month-on-month increase in transactions.

Image from OS

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