Ordnance Survey opens up maps to developers

A free service from Ordnance Survey opens up its maps to developers wanting to design their own applications or work on mashups
Written by Adrian Bridgwater, Contributor

Following a closed alpha launch on 14 December, Ordnance Survey has completed testing of its OS OpenSpace API. It is now available for developers to mash up their own applications using the UK national mapping agency's data grid as a backdrop.

Registered users can build applications from a countrywide view down to street level, and use up to 30,000 "tiles" of geographical data and up to 1,000 place-name searches per day. In line with the government's current aim to make public-sector information more accessible, OS OpenSpace is intended to open the door to non-commercial experimentation with Ordnance Survey's mapping data.

The minister responsible for Ordnance Survey, Iain Wright MP, said: "In launching OS OpenSpace, Ordnance Survey is taking a lead in providing greater access to public information. The launch will allow others to innovate using geographic information, with confidence in the national consistency and currency of the data they use."

Web developers using OS OpenSpace can add markers, lines and polygons on top of Ordnance Survey mapping, search for place names with a gazetteer-style geographical dictionary and display other location data, such as the whereabouts of pubs, cafes or public conveniences, from elsewhere on the web.

"A full set of online API documentation is available for developers looking to get started with OS OpenSpace. We also provide a step-by-step set of illustrated tutorials, how-to guides and a user forum in our support section for those new to this kind of JavaScript 'slippy map' technology," said Joseph Greenwood, a product manager at Ordnance Survey.

News of OS OpenSpace follows last September's announcement of Ordnance Survey's Explore portal, designed to give ramblers and walkers a space to share favourite routes and locations, in close proximity to the other mapping resources available on the site.

To register as a user, visit the OS OpenSpace website.  

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