neogeography Ordnance Survey Thoughts

OS OpenSpace at last !!

OS Openspace

The OS OpenSpace API has finally launched, just weeks before the deadline imposed by the Cabinet Office, with a alpha test phase with the system finally opening up early next year..

I’d love to see comments from anyone who is part of the alpha, but I guess they are under pretty strict NDA at the moment. [UPDATE 15/12 – There is no NDA, so I’m not sure why there are no examples]

One observation is the limit on the number of maps tiles which may be rendered for an API key, this is not something I have seen elsewhere, but I can understand it as a defence against accusations from commercial users of the data of unfairness.

Still is great to see something I put so much effort into during my time at the OS finally reaching the public.

Written and Submitted from the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Manama, Bahrain, using its wifi broadband network.

18 replies on “OS OpenSpace at last !!”

This looks great. Beginning to use google maps more for work purposes but restricted by some of the license agreements – i.e. Some clients like Env Agency/Defra/etc want to show sensitive data on there intranet or via a login. This breaches GMaps license unless you go down the enterprise route.
This OSOS looks very promising – id like to get in on the testing. Any ideas on costs for use on commercial purposes – Also, if our clients are PAN members, would that have any affect on license agreements?
Good work.


My understanding from the press release is that the license is more restrictive than the Google Maps api, in that you are not allowed any commercial use. I’d love to know how you get on if you are selected to join the test..

Hi Ed,

What UK outdoor pursuits mashers want is the OS maps not yet another API that is not as good as Google’s. Also the OS API as currently described has maps but no imagery.

Why can’t we simply have a not-for-profit OS map tile server – even hit limited if the OS want.

Please OS, just put your tiles up on something like WMS or The Tile Map Service Specification (global-mercator) at (which looks pretty close to Googles scheme).


The alpha developers are not under NDA, they just can’t share their API key. We’ll probably see a few articles and apps popping up over the next couple of days. Who’s first …

I was at the launch event today and can confirm that none of those invited to the closed alpha are under NDA! They can talk and blog freely about their experiences, in fact this is what Ordnance Survey wants.

Peter and Colin,

I stand corrected.. so who was at the event, it seems strange that nobody has blogged their experiences yet or shown a screen-shot of the interface within an application ?

Who from the press was at the launch event ?

Not many seem to have noticed, but Multimap made OS 1:50k available through their Open API a month or so back. We’ve used it to put OS maps of walking routes on – not sure why no-one else has done this.

Will be very interested to see how the OS’ own version matches up – will there be 1:25k? The Multimap one does allow commercial use within limits – will the OS match this?

Can I join the testing??!!!

Ive noticed this with Multimap but not really looked into the API and how easy it is to manipulate. So whats the deal with using it for commerical use? i.e. for projects for clients such as the E-Agency/DEFRA/Highways Agency?

Ive done a bit of time trying to learn how to fiddle the GMap API with SQL and PHP, but the license agreement restricts me from doing anything useful with real-work projects.

This is excellent news – it’s been a long time coming!
We’ve built a couple of sites that use OS maps via the multimap APi ( and

I’ll be contacting OS tomorrow to see if we can get into the closed alpha… though according to their T&C’s it looks like we’ll have to stop using Adsense.

Martin, are you meaning to tell us that a site owner would be restricted as to which ad-service they can use — if a certain API is utilized?

I’ve been waiting for such a debate to occur, so this should get interesting. There’s another API out there that restricts AdSense use — which is why it’s interesting to see another one. (PS: There’s a reason I don’t use that API at all as a result.)

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