Data Policy Ordnance Survey web 2.0

Ordnance Survey embraces UGC.. it’s a start

No hell has not frozen over, Ordnance Survey finally launched their explore portal this week, a site designed for walkers, hikers, cyclists and anyone interested in the outdoors to share their walks and favourite places.

explore portal

Although this is nothing new, platial after all offered similar functionality a few years ago, this has been a long time coming, I was involved in some of the design work over a year ago! this is still an important step forward for the OS.

From a technology point of view the service was/is underpinned by the backend system developed to support the long delayed OpenSpace project, so hopefully there will be news about that soon.

Although I would take issue with some of the T&C’s, this really is progress in the right direction from Southampton.

Update: My first walk is here.

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

24 replies on “Ordnance Survey embraces UGC.. it’s a start”

It’s ok but you cannot edit your own route once created.
Official Reply
“Unfortunately, at the current time, users are unable to edit routes once they have been saved. However, before saving, users are able to undo waypoints they have plotted and remove their points of interest. There are several usability changes envisaged for the next release and this is an area we would like to see improved. The site is still in its beta stage so obviously we are keen to hear about any issues encountered.”
If they can use 1:50k why cannot they use the more accurate 1:25k as field boundaries and footpaths are used to a better level of detail.
It’s called ‘Explore’ but is more ‘Landrange’ than Explore.

“We don’t want this to spoil your experience of our website; the browsers currently supported are: Firefox 1.5.x (OS X), Firefox 2.0.x (all platforms) and Internet Explorer 6 and 7.” – I visited in Camino, which is pretty much just Firefox in a different skin. Someone needs to fix their browser detection.

And I get the same in Safari. For those who haven’t heard of this little-known browser, it’s used by a few small companies like Apple and Nokia. It has an absolutely terrible reputation for standards compliance and I can see why OS have chosen the much better-behaved IE6.

*walks off into the distance, muttering incomprehensibly*

Now.. don’t get me going on lack of Safari support !!! Would not have happened on my watch, he says as a confirmed camino user 🙂

Mmm – done by platial, yes; done as well by the now forgotten pocketroutes, complete with editable routes, printable maps and cross-platform support as I recall (though not 1:25000 scale mapping for licensing reasons). And it had a business model of sorts – you had to pay for prints as I recall – £3 for 10 routes or some such. A case of OS moving with the tide which is good bu tmoving up the value chain may cause distress to some.


You seem to have broken one of the licencing rules by linking to your walk on the site (forbidden under conditon 7.3)

7.3 hypertext linking to any page of the OEP Portal.

Rather a bizarre rule, I admit. Presumably this is to stop websites like ours posting our routes onto Explore and then linking to them to give users a map of the route? I would have thought this will prevent Explore gaining many users. Does it also mean that Google, Yahoo et al will be breaking this condition when they crawl and index the site?


I’m waiting for the lawyers letter 🙂

Breaks the web really does it not – Not sure what Tim Berners-Lee who is a great fan of OS Maps would think.


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