Ordnance Survey Opendata

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Following a Dec 2009 to March 2010 Government Consultation the Ordnance Survey began releasing data for free re-use on April 1st 2010.

The data was originally licensed under the OpenData License 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

There is much talk of the data available, but some people may not be familiar with the names given to the data types.

OS OpenMap - Local Beta (Released 24th March 2015)

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.

  • Scale: 1:3,000 to 1:20,000
  • Supply format: GML 3.2 and ESRI Shapefile (Vector)
  • 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
  • Link: http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2015/03/new-os-opendata-products-now-live/
  • Download request location Link: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendatadownload/products.html

OS Open Rivers (Released 24th March 2015)

A generalised network product covering Great Britain's rivers which will provide a national view of our 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. Note: This product is a Beta Link: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendatadownload/products.html

OS Open Roads (Released 24th March 2015)

A generalised network product covering Great Britain's roads which will provide a national view of our road network.

OS Open Roads is 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. Note:This product is a Beta. Link: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendatadownload/products.html

OS Open Names (Released 24th March 2015)

OS Open Names contains 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. Note: This product is a Beta. This is a new and improved Gazetteer for use by people who need the most up to date place names, road names, road numbers and postcodes.

Link: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendatadownload/products.html

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.

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.

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 ([3]) is a very useful tool for OSMers allowing you to compare each district's coverage. This is built by ITO World using the OS Locator dataset. See OS Locator page for more details, tools and uses of this dataset.

Meridian 2

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.

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.

Boundary Line

Vector data of local government administrative boundaries, electoral boundaries and coastline (high_water_polyline).

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.


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

Code-Point Open

Provides precise location for each postcode centroid in Great Britain. 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

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 http://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: http://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 http://onspd.raggedred.net


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".


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

Terrain 50

Gridded elevation data.

  • Resolution: 50m grid
  • Supply format: GML

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

  • Scale: 1:50,000 (Print), 1:25,000 to 1:70,000 (Screen) Contours at 10m intervals.
  • Supply format: ESRI shapefile

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.

Some visualisations

#OS StreetView displayed on Android phone using OpenSatNav

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

Download sites

The raw OS OpenData can be downloaded from: