Ordnance Survey launches free Web 2.0 mapping development tool


Ordnance Survey launches free Web 2.0 mapping development tool

Antony Savvas

Ordnance Survey has made its Web 2.0 platform OS OpenSpace available to all developers, following a successful closed launch last December.

OS OpenSpace is a free service that allows users to build mash-ups of Ordnance Survey mapping in scales ranging from the whole of Great Britain down to street level.

The OS OpenSpace application programming interface (API) had been undergoing testing by a dedicated set of developers since a "closed alpha" launch on 14 December.

Since then, 12 developers have put data from OS OpenSpace on the internet. The service is now available to anyone wanting to develop experimental applications on the web using Ordnance Survey mapping.

The government minister responsible for Ordnance Survey, Iain Wright, 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."

Anyone who registers at the OS OpenSpace website can access as many as 30,000 "tiles" or extracts of data and perform as many as 1,000 place-name look-ups a day.

Users can add markers, lines and polygons on top of Ordnance Survey mapping, search for place names with a gazetteer and display other location data from elsewhere on the web.

The platform is a JavaScript API that uses "slippy map" technology, so users can grab and move images in different directions. As well as the API itself, OS OpenSpace will include a community website so developers can discuss, review and collaborate on projects.

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