Resource Page: Open Geospatial

This is an unofficial webpage about the Geospatial Commission announced by the UK Government in November 2017 and potential implications for open geospatial data.

This page is maintained by Owen Boswarva and was last updated on 07/01/2018. (Mainly links for now, analysis to follow …)

Announcement of the Geospatial Commission

A new Geospatial Commission was announced in the Autumn Budget on 22/11/2017:

4.14 Geospatial data – The UK has some of the best geospatial data in the world, and much of it is held by public bodies. The potential economic value of this data is huge. To maximise the growth of the digital economy and consolidate the UK's position as the best place to start and grow a digital business, the government will establish a new Geospatial Commission to provide strategic oversight to the various public bodies who hold this data. To further boost the digital economy, the government will work with the Ordnance Survey (OS) and the new Commission, by May 2018, to establish how to open up freely the OS MasterMap data to UK-based small businesses in particular, under an Open Government Licence or through an alternative mechanism, while maintaining the OS's strategic strengths. The Budget provides £40 million a year over the next two years to support this work.

The announcement was supported by a press release from Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.


Open Data Institute (ODI), 22/11/2017: Autumn Budget: the ODI welcomes measures to open up land data – citizens, companies and services to benefit

Association for Geographic Information (AGI), 22/11/2017 : AGI – welcoming the news of a Geospatial Commission

GeoPlace LLP, 23/11/2017: The Budget: housing, the digital economy and a Geospatial Commission

Ordnance Survey (OS), 24/11/2017: Autumn Budget announcement on Geospatial Commission

Postcode Address File Advisory Board (PAFAB), 04/12/2017: Minutes of meeting held on 23 November 2017

OpenStreetMap UK (OSM UK), 28/11/2017: UK set to benefit from the release of more geospatial data

Grough, 28/11/2017: Government pledges £80m in bid to open up Ordnance Survey mapping to small firms

Carto Group, 04/12/2017: Welcoming the establishment of a Geospatial Commission

Media coverage

Geospatial Commission created to open up government-held mapping data (Civil Service World, 23/11/2017)

UK to establish Geospatial Data Commission (UK Authority, 23/11/2017)

Geospatial Commission wants to maximise value of government location data (Government Computing, 23/11/2017)

£80 mn for UK Geospatial Commission – Open map data key to digital economy (Geospatial World, 24/11/2017)

Blog posts

Ed Parkes, 22/11/2017: We'll need more than £40m* a year to get free maps – specifically politicians willing to share

Andrew Loveless, 23/11/2017: Geospatial Data Commission – Budget – The first step

Mark Prisk MP, 23/11/2017: New UK Geospatial Commission to unlock valuable location data

Steven Feldman via KnowWhere, 23/11/2017: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde consider a new Geospatial Commission

Charles Roper, 24/11/2017: Is OS MasterMap really going to be open?

Leigh Dodds, 24/11/2017: We CAN get there from here

Owen Boswarva, 26/11/2017: Why I'm cautiously optimistic about this week's Geospatial Commission announcement

James Cutler, 27/11/2017: Access

Peter Wells via ODI, 05/12/2017: What will the UK's Geospatial Commission look like?

Paul Maltby via Storify, 07/12/2017: Budget 2017: Geospatial commission and MasterMap

Abigail Page via GIS Professional, 20/12/2017: Geo Momentum

OpenStreetMap UK, 04/01/2018: Our asks of the Geospatial Commission