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Free OS maps
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davidor
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:36 am    Post subject: Free OS maps Reply with quote

This mihgt be of interest to many of our readers ...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/nov/17/ordnance-survey-maps-online
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is surprising is the scale of maps they are making free, right down to 10K, and not before time, it will be interesting to see how this affects the topo mapping companies like Memory Map etc - Mike
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Bosun
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my doubts that this will ever happen ( I hope it does though ) and might just be kite-flying prior to an election.

Brown was talking about selling the OS off not long ago and I can't see the private sector being happy to give data away for free unless there is something major in it for them.

Ian
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barny_100
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My god, it's taken them 12 years but a good idea providing value to the taxpayer at last!

Laughing
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rickwiggans
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if there might be a typo - since they are saying down to 1:10,000, but saying NOT 1:25,000. So, do they actually mean 1:100,000. Can't imagine, however, that there might be a typo in the Guardian!
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the OS supposedly brings us income i.e. it makes more in licensing than it costs to run, do we really want free maps? There is no such thing as a free lunch and free map data will mean we all end up paying for it in the long term.

The original story discussed free access to on-line data only though so it may not translate into free map data for handheld devices etc
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lucevans
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It remains to be seen whether this is going to be applied to offline digital mapping (I suspect it won't), but even if it is, systems like Satmap and Memory Map, which already use their own proprietary map format, won't necessarily support the file format of the new free maps. In fact, why would they? It'd take a big bite out of their revenues. I think the best we Satmap fans could hope for is a reduction in the price of mapcards as the OS-licence-portion of the retail price disappears.
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satmapian
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story moves on today:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/nov/19/ordnance-survey-maps-free-online

in which it again states that the scale will be down to 1:10,000 so I think that's confirmed now, and we'll get the 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales that we're all interested in (assuming it goes through).
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satmapian
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Given the OS supposedly brings us income i.e. it makes more in licensing than it costs to run, do we really want free maps?


That's a good question Darren. I guess we should choose whether it's right for map users to contribute more to the treasury than non map users who aren't using the nationalised service. Only some of us would go along with that, but then we have to decide how much more is fair. It seems to me that the various licenses are very expensive, and out of the range of many pockets. I cannot justify the expense of the 1:25,000 maps, so I go without. I'd like to see more folks be able to afford digital mapping, and the additional price of the mapping surely puts many people off.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

satmapian wrote:
I cannot justify the expense of the 1:25,000 maps, so I go without. I'd like to see more folks be able to afford digital mapping, and the additional price of the mapping surely puts many people off.

But there is a bigger question here. How much of the cost is OS licencing?

We all blame OS for the pricing but if companies such as RouteBuddy can offer 1:25k tiles for 19.99 then we need to ask who is inflating the map prices, OS or the manufacturers?
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rickwiggans
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren makes a valid point, and I for one, don't really have a big issue with paying for a licence. What I seriously object to is the number of times I've had to pay for the same data. Twice with Memory Map, then with Anquet, Garmin and Satmap - as well as the countless paper maps I've got stashed in a box somewhere!

Rick
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GerryC
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This appears to me that they could challenge Google as the online map of choice. Like others, I'm more concerned about who would pick up the short-fall in licencing income. However, according to a different report contained in the article, this would be "saved" due to other government/council departments not having to pay the licence fee to use the data.

A big thing that could swing it is accuracy. There's loads of un-corrected errors on my TT that TeleAtlas haven't corrected from years ago. How accurate is the data from OS is comparison? With satnav use increasing, the other manufacturers may wish to use OS data if it's more accurate and major licence fees also decrease therefore we could save on the single-unit licence.

I'll wake up in a bit.
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AllyCat
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Since this is based on a newspaper article (and worse, a "campaigning" article in the Grauniad) there are numerous errors and wild assumptions being made.

Firstly, Landranger maps are not 1:25k (Explorers) they're 1:50k. When I first read the article I wondered if they actually meant scales up to 1:10k (i.e. the B/W line maps used for planning permission and footpath diversions, etc.) and this appears to be confirmed by the later article which says "resolutions more detailed than commercial 1:25,000 Landranger (sic) maps".

OS mapping is already available free from their Getmapping website. The map tiles are small, but there is a nifty free utility (not from OS) that automatically downloads up to about 50 tiles and merges them into a calibrated map. Wink However, the mapping is in a lossy .JPG format rather than lossless .PNG, etc., so the OS might still use such methods to comply with future requirements (if they ever exist).

The story probably has little relevance in this Satmap thread as their map format is proprietary and I suspect the OS data contributes relatively little to their charges for SD cards, etc.. "Free" data might have more relevance to users of Memory Map because although their map format is also proprietary, map image files can be imported and calibrated using the European/World Editions.

It also probably has no relevance to car satnavs because most OS data is neither vector nor routable. One of the reasons (excuses?) given for the poor quality of the Garmin Topo GB mapping was that the OS could not supply the data in vector format.

Cheers, Alan.
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satmapian
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see it as a great step forwards as regards using OS maps on the web. It will be a great assett for the many walking web sites if it happens, as well as services like Satmaps route planner / sharer.

Also because it will also abolish the derived data problem (where OS claims full copyright on anything that uses OS data) it could be that more publications like magazines and walking guidebooks will be able to use OS maps for free.

What I hope is that this will be the start, and that eventually the price of digital mapping will come down - at least if it's true that the licenses are exhorbitant. I agree though that there is no foundation for this optimism in the story.
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BigPerk
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, I think the government is hoping to sell off OS? If it gets privatised, what price free maps then (so to speak)?
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