The Ordnance Survey is to release information and statistics on green space in England and Wales as open data.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, yesterday announced the Ordnance Survey would release the data for a new map of every publically accessible green space to be developed. The map will be available to anyone for free online to find the location of their nearest park.
The national mapping agency will make its data available free to allow software and applications to be created by developers. This will allow developers to find innovative ways of displaying the information. It will also give them the opportunity to combine the data with other statistics, such as tracing cycle paths through parks, coming up with bespoke nature trails or linking with property information to help people decide where they want to live.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “Britain’s parks and countryside are the envy of the world, and I want to make sure everybody can use them,” said Clegg. “By opening up this data we can enable thousands of people to enjoy every inch of our green spaces at the swipe of a touchscreen. With Britain’s innovative app developers given access to the data, we can help make sure you can always find your way back to nature.”
John Kimmance, Ordnance Survey public sector director, said the organisation’s data contains a vast range of geographic features which can identify the boundaries and officially classify all of the publicly accessible green spaces in England and Wales.
“We are also pleased this dataset will be available as Open Data. Today, developers and businesses can access a range of Ordnance Survey products and datasets via OS OpenData and it is great that we will be able to offer this new dataset to the popular suite of freely accessible products,” said Kimmance.
In April, Ordnance Survey director of products and innovation Peter ter Haar told Computer Weekly how it has been working with technology startups to use its data innovatively.
As part of its GeoVation innovation challenges, the organisation has funded more than 30 ventures, helping to launch apps, websites, community services and educational resources discovered through the innovation challenges.
Ordnance Survey provided generic business support for the successful geolocation startups, as well as angel-type investment funding totalling around half a million pounds.
“We recognised that developers are often the people in organisations who strongly influence technology decisions, and we wanted to make sure we stayed in their good books,” said ter Haar at the time.