GIS opensource

OS NPE Maps online and copyright free(ish) !

Old MapAs Steve points out, Richard Fairhurst’s scanned database of OS New Popular Edition Maps on the 1930’s and 1940’s in now online at

Although the mapping is now out of copyright, Richard is claiming copyright over the scans and is licensing the data using the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license.

This is a fascinating collection which provides a unique view of England 50 years ago, an England without Motorways, Aerodromes with Grass runways, and with an Ordnance Survey which was firmly a military institution.

There is huge potential for this data to form the basis of many applications which don’t require either up to date or very accurate mapping, and it will very interesting to see what develops.. Already the mapping is forming part of a tool to collect an open source geocoded postcode database.

The groundswell of community generated mapping continues…

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

4 replies on “OS NPE Maps online and copyright free(ish) !”


Just to clarify a point regarding the postcode databases. Currently we are collecting data on separately from FreeThePostcode, since we have slightly different aims and quality standards. We will be working to integrate them at later date. (However, that said, we have imported the FTP data into our database so that it can be displayed on our maps).



Another NPE maps based application that has now launched is You can trace over a new popular edition map, and get a GPX file out.

We’re thinking it’ll be useful for OpenStreetmap, and looking at where old features used to be on Google Earth, but I’m sure that there’ll be more uses we’ve never thought of!

Hi Dominic, & Nick,

I stand corrected, I immediately thought about the potential for this to complete OSM.. love to hear of any other applications that appear.


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