23rd April 2013

New products available through OS OpenData portal

Luke Hampson

You may have missed it, so we thought it was timely to remind all our GeoVator’s that Ordnance Survey recently refreshed the portfolio of products that are freely available through the OS OpenData portal.  Releasing both a new height dataset, as well as making significant updates to one of the backdrop mapping products, here are just a few key points that might whet your appetite.

The portal has been updated with a new version of OS VectorMap District and a new product – OS Terrain 50® being released, we’ll cover the height dataset first.

Terrain 50 image

The image illustrates OS Terrain 50 data overlaid on backdrop mapping

OS Terrain 50®

Developers can also now access a new fully maintained analytical height product called OS Terrain 50. The new product, which has a similar resolution to Land-Form PANORAMA, will enable users to access an advanced product with consistently maintained height content for the whole of Great Britain.

Land-Form PANORAMA was an unmaintained product and was last updated in the 1990s. The new product will give users more confidence in the currency of the data and will be supplied in additional formats, making it far more accessible.

It can be easily integrated with Vector Map District, which we’ll move on to in just a moment, and will be a welcome addition to the tools used for terrain analysis and 3D visualisation by a wide range of users.

Arriving as a grid file, it is expected that OS Terrain 50 will be used primarily as an analytical tool for landscape visualisation and analysis over large areas. For example interrogating the visual impact of wind turbines or high-level flood risk assessment, transport infrastructure planning, environmental impact assessment (wind farm location for example), signal propagation (radio, telephone) and security and defence planning

Initially only the grid data is available, the contours will follow shortly. To order, simply select OS Terrain 50 and chose the ‘Supply format’ as ASCII GRID AND GML (GRID) – GB and tick the box to download the files.

The data comes along with a user guide and technical specification, which is a useful supporting document that can be referred to for further information.

VMD Logo




The second refresh to the portal sees the addition of OS VectorMap District Version 1.0. The product delivers an enhanced user experience over our previous beta version, through the provision of additional formats and styling tools. It has been designed for viewing either as a map on its own or as a contextual backdrop to your own data, enabling you to share information more effectively.

OS VectorMap District Version 1.0 is created and maintained from a large scale database and offers an improved representation of features such as roads, roundabouts and railways. The beta version was voted winner in its category at the 2011 British Cartographic Society Awards.

VMD mapping

An image showing OS VectorMap District mapping, the look and feel of which can be easily customised through styling features in different ways

OS Terrain 50 and OS VectorMap District Version 1.0 are both freely available under OS OpenData terms and can be downloaded here.