Ordnance Survey OpenData

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The Ordnance Survey (the UK's national mapping agency) began releasing data for free re-use on 1 April 2010 following a Government Consultation.

Between 2010 and 2015, the data was licensed under the Ordnance Survey OpenData Licence with OS confirming with OpenStreetMap's Licensing Working Group that mapping derived from OS OpenData products (though not CodePoint Open, and not other products released by third parties under the OS OpenData Licence) can be released under the Open Database License 1.0. (statement). In February 2015, OS replaced the OS OpenData Licence with version 3 of the Open Government Licence (OGL). This brings it in line with other government open data releases and continues to allow the data to be used in OpenStreetMap.

Using the data in OSM

Editing Guidelines

Several tools have been made available to help OpenStreetMappers use this data. These are discussed below. However before you start editing, please consider the following:

  1. Don't assume the OS data is either correct or up to date. Use it as a guide and additional resource for your mapping, not a replacement.
  2. Please add source tags to any data you add to OSM from OS OpenData. See the tag suggestions: #Attributing OS
  3. If you're tempted to map in an area you're not familiar with, contact any local contributors first. Please don't alienate other contributors by treading on their toes. They will know their local area better than anyone else.
  4. Look for places that have been mapped using aerial imagery and don't have road names. This is a good place to start.
  5. Avoid simply duplicating OS data in blank areas of OSM unless you're familiar with the area and don't have access to other resources such as a GPS.

New ideas and automated imports

If you have any new ideas on what to do (and what not to do) with the data, and solving issues like accuracy, how to avoid duplicates, etc. please go to the talk-gb mailing list before trying to import any OS data into OSM. You may also like to take a look at previous discussions from April 2010 and current ideas on the 'Talk' page:

Attributing OS

We have a generic attribution relating to Ordnance Survey OpenData products on the Contributors page

However all OSM contributors are encouraged to add specific source information on tags when they use OS OpenData products as the primary source of information for the object being added to OSM.

Tag suggestions:

When tracing over OS StreetView

  • When everything is derived from OS StreetView source=OS_OpenData_StreetView
  • When just the name is derived from OS StreetView source:name=OS_OpenData_StreetView
  • This icon OS-SV.png might be useful for a JOSM preset to apply source tags

When using OS Locator for names


When adding OS vector data

Choose an appropriate tag for the object based upon the OS OpenData product. For example source=OS_OpenData_BoundaryLine

When using OS VectorMapDistrict


Available data (in alphabetical order)

There are a number of Ordnance Survey data products available via the OS Data Hub. They are supplied under the UK Open Government Licence (OGL) and require an attribution statement along the lines of "Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2017". Data is generally supplied in Vector GML 3.2 or ESRI Shapefiles and can be selected by grid square. Rasters are sometimes available. They are often generalised layers suitable for background tile display but not detailed enough for full analysis. A paid-for product will be available for the detailed data.

See OS Find the right business product for full descriptions and download links.


GB local government administrative boundaries, electoral boundaries and coastline (high_water_polyline).

  • Scale: 1:10,000 (Print), 1:5,000 to 1:8,000 (Screen)
  • Supply format: ESRI® Shapefile
  • Update cycle: Six-monthly, May and October
  • Coverage: England, Scotland, Wales
  • Reprojected GPX files for counties, unitary authorities, districts, civil parishes (England), communities (Wales) and high-water line (coastline) for the whole of Great Britain (not including Northern Ireland!) can be found here: https://csmale.dev.openstreetmap.org/os_boundaryline/ (Updated to May 2024)

Code-Point Open

Locations of every GB postcode centroid.

Useful for geographical analysis, simple route planning and asset management. Data contains postcodes, grid references, NHS® health and regional health authority codes; administrative ward, district, county and country area codes. PDF includes differences between Code-Point and Code-Point Open.

The structure of the Code-Point-Open data format is hidden away on the OSGB site. Information about the fields can be found on the data.gov.uk wiki [ dead link ]

See also: ONS Postcode Directory

CodePoint Tiles

Chillly has rendered codepoint tiles which you can load into your favorite OSM editor. All of the GB codepoint data has been rendered into tiles. See https://codepoint.raggedred.net/ for more details.

For JOSM add a custom TMS url as follows:

  • 'Edit' menu -> 'Preferences...'
  • Click 'WMS/TMS' tab on the left
  • Click the '+ TMS' button
  • Enter in the URL box the following text string: https://www.raggedred.net/tiles/codepoint/{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png
  • Enter 'CodePoint Postcodes' as the menu name
  • 'OK'
  • 'OK'

Now you can select the layer from the "Imagery" menu.

There are also Office of National Statistic Postcode Data (ONSPD) tiles available. More information see https://onspd.raggedred.net/

Comparison of OSM and Code-Point Centroids

Robert Whittaker provides a Postcode Stats tool, which indicates proportions of postcode units that are mapped, shows the centroid locations from Code-Point Open, and the mean position of the OSM objects with each postcode.

GB Overview Maps

Very high-level map in two versions: roads and cities, or terrain.


Smallest scale data provided. Shows broad landscape features including boundaries, settlements, main communications and physical features.

OS Locator

OS Locator data displayed in Potlatch2 using ITO World's OSM and OSL differences tileset

Gazetteer of road names. Contains coordinates to create a rectangle encompassing the extent of the road referenced in the gazetteer.

This gazetteer appears to complement the StreetView data - some (short) streets whose names are absent from StreetView are included in OS Locator. Conversely, some streets named in StreetView are absent from OS Locator

OSM and OSL differences analysis was a useful tool for OSMers allowing you to compare each district's coverage. It was built by ITO World using the OS Locator dataset. See OS Locator page for more details, tools and uses of this dataset.

OS MasterMap Property Extents (TBC)

On June 2018 the OS announced in the article Unlocking of Government’s mapping and location data to boost economy by £130m a year that key parts of the Ordnance Survey (OS) MasterMap freely available will help businesses use geospatial data more easily and drive innovation across the UK economy.

MasterMap is OS's most detailed product therefore this data would be suitable for risk analysis, etc.

OS MasterMap Topography Layer API (TBC)

Announced June 2018. Available 'up to a threshold'

OS MasterMap Greenspace Layer API (TBC)

Announced June 2018. Available 'up to a threshold'

OS MasterMap Highways Network API (TBC)

Announced June 2018. Available 'up to a threshold'

OS MasterMap Water Network Layer API (TBC)

Announced June 2018. Available 'up to a threshold'

OS MasterMap Detailed Path Network API (TBC)

Announced June 2018. Available 'up to a threshold'

OS Names API

An online directory of place names, road numbers and postcodes in Great Britain.

Contains over 870,000 roads and over 1.6 million postcodes. Your site or app can query it up to 50,000 times a month

If you need to check user input of full addresses, or to find addresses within a given radius of a specific property see the OS Places API.

OS Open Greenspace

Depicts the location and extent of spaces such as parks and sports facilities that are likely to be accessible to the public. Where appropriate, it also includes access points to show how people get into these sites. Its primary purpose is to enable members of the public to find and access green spaces near them for exercise and recreation.

Contains OS attributed areas: Allotments Or Community Growing Spaces, Bowling Green, Cemetery, Religious Grounds, Golf Course, Other Sports Facility, Play Space, Playing Field, Public Park Or Garden, Tennis Court.

OS OpenMap - Local

Large scale, street level data, designed to emphasis with an enhanced level of detail for buildings outlines, including functional sites such as hospitals and schools and extended naming of roads.

  • Format: Vector (GML or Shapefile) or Raster
  • Scale: 1:3,000 to 1:20,000
  • Datum/Projection OSGB36 (National Grid)
  • Update cycle: 6 month
  • Tile size: 100km x 100km (TQ London Shapefile is 609mb unzipped contains vector Points,Lines,Polygons
  • Contains Building, ElectricityTransmissionLine, Foreshore, FunctionalSite, Glasshouse, ImportantBuildings, MotorwayJunction, NamedPlace, RailwayStation, RailwayTrack, Road, RoadTunnel, Roundabout, SurfaceWater, TidalBoundary, TidalWater, Woodland
  • Attributes: Thematic layers, including buildings, roads, sites, railways, hydrology, coastline, woodland and cartographic text.
  • Coverage: England, Scotland, Wales
  • Released: 24th March 2015
  • Announced in June 2018 OS OpenMap-Local will include OSMM Topography Layer TOIDs (TOpographic IDentifiers)

For a more detailed map, see OS VectorMap Local.

OS Open Linked Identifiers

A dataset containing the authoritative relationships between Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs), Unique Street Reference Numbers (USRNs) and Topographic Object Identifiers (TOIDs).

OS Open Names

Accurate and up to date settlement names, road names and numbers, postcodes and their locations with additional location information and links to other datasets.

It is designed for use across all market sectors and can be used for web service and mobile development. Released: 24th March 2015

OS Open Rivers

A generalised network of Great Britain's rivers which provides a national view of watercourses.

OS Open Rivers is a connected river network for Great Britain which has been derived from Ordnance Survey large scale data. It shows the flow and the locations of rivers, streams, lakes and canals, across Great Britain, providing a structured and attributed network for sharing information and simple analysis of the river network. Released: 24th March 2015

OS Open Roads

A generalised network product covering Great Britain's roads which provides a national view of the road network.

A connected road network for Great Britain which has been derived from Ordnance Survey large scale data. It is the most detailed open data roads network product available, providing a structured and attributed network for sharing information and simple analysis of the road network. Released: 24th March 2015

This dataset is not suitable for an in-vehicle navigation system. For the route restriction information that your users would need, such as one-way systems, width and height restrictions, see (the chargeable) OS MasterMap Highways Network.


A set of unique and persistent identifiers for each and every feature found in OS MasterMap products. Data is supplied as a point location which refers to a point, line, or polygon from OS MasterMap.


A Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) is a unique numeric identifier for every addressable location in Great Britain found in OS's AddressBase products. An addressable location may be any kind of building, residential or commercial, or it may be an object such as a bus shelter.


The Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) is a unique and persistent identifier for every street, road, track, path, cycle track or cycle way in Great Britain and can be found in the OS MasterMap Highways Network products.

OS Terrain 50

Gridded elevation data.

  • Resolution: 50m grid
  • Supply format: GML

Vector data: contours, high/low tide lines and spot heights.

OS VectorMap District

Beta data released 17 March 2011 - http://blog.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/2011/03/os-vectormap-district-graduates-to-beta-release/

The trial (alpha) data indicates that the vector data for major infrastructure will be better than any other OS OpenData product however we have noted that minor roads (eg all residential roads) are not named so the Raster StreetView product will still be needed to verify street names. Instructions for convert shapefile vector data to OSM vectors is available.


Vector data, designed to be the vector companion to the 1:250 000 Scale Colour Raster data for use at regional level. From the PDF: "layers include roads, railways, airports, ferries, water features, ceremonial boundaries, cities, towns and other settlements, woods and land use, and geographic names".

1:250 000 Scale Colour Raster

Regional map, similar in resolution to a road atlas. Shows cities, towns, villages, motorways, A and B class roads, railways, rivers and some woodlands. Also, 1:250 000 scale gazetteer of names is supplied relevant to the map, and a digital legend.

1:50 000 Scale Gazetteer

List of locations, with lat/lon coordinate and OS grid-ref positions. Locations include airports, farms, hills, woodlands, commons and other places. Locations also include over 42 000 towns and settlements. All location positions are to a 1 km resolution.


Land-Form PANORAMA (Withdrawn)

Vector data, containing physical ground shape: contours, coastlines, lakes etc. This data is unmaintained.

Meridian 2 (Withdrawn)

Vector data of various 'themes'. Communication theme: roads and railways, boundaries and coastline. Topographic theme: boundaries and coastline, developed land-use areas, cartographic names, hydrology, woodlands.

User:Ollie created a comparison tool and analysis

User:Richard wrote a tutorial "Hacking Ordnance Survey Meridian2 for beginners" providing code in perl, for extracting data from this data set.

OS StreetView (Discontinued)

An #OS StreetView example showing Hatton, Warwickshire

Street-level map, designed to emphasise roads and road-names. Major buildings are shown and annotated.

  • Scale: 1:10,000 (Print), 1:5,000 to 1:15,000 (Screen)
  • Supply format: TIFF LZW (image)
  • Update cycle: Six-monthly, May and November
  • Coverage: England, Scotland, Wales

Support for OS Streetview was withdrawn in 2016, with the final release in April 2016. It is largely replaced by OS OpenMap - Local, which continues to be updated.[2]


The OS data set has been reprojected for use in OSM editors. It can be viewed at https://os.openstreetmap.org/ .

  • Complete coverage at zoom levels 6-17
  • VectorMap District may provide better data than tracing from OS StreetView.
  • The datum shift to WGS84 seems to have been done with a simple Helmert transform, resulting in errors of ~5 metres compared with the official OSTN02.

Select 'UK: OS StreetView' from the background menu in the options box.


In newer versions you just need to activate the image layer from the provided list ('Edit' menu -> 'Preferences...' -> 'WMS/TMS' tab). For older versions you may need to set up a custom layer by click the 'Add' button and using the following details:

  • Enter 'OS OpenData StreetView' as the menu name
  • Delete any text in the 'Service URL' box.
  • Enter in the Imagery URL box (the bottom box) the following text string: tms[17]:https://os.openstreetmap.org/sv/{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png

Once activated view the new image layer by selecting it from the 'Imagery' menu.

Some visualisations

#OS StreetView displayed on Android phone using OpenSatNav

OSM-based projects using the new open data in some way

Download sites

Raw OS OpenData can be downloaded from: