Copying Ordnance Survey Maps Into A Topic

In Andy’s - MM0FMF latest REPORT he used an extract off the OS’s 1:50k series map to illustrate his route. Likewise over the years others have carried out similar excises.

Now of course this is pretty fundamental to what-we-are-about when roaming the hills and navigating, but I wondered what the copyright policy was relating to the OS and their maps as to the use of small ‘clips’ within topics on the Reflector?



It looks like Andy is using the OS OpenSpace API, in which case it’s free subject to fair-use limits.


It’s a screen grab from Anquet. I always de-res images to save server space on the forum. There is an unlimited print licence included with the data for paper prints. The OS website offers a free media publishing licence that is aimed at companies wanting to share map data. That allows using up to 625cm^2 in one image and 1000cm^2 in total per article.

Are we a company? Are we commercial? Is this covered by my print licence? I’m not sure but would think the use is definitely fair-use (but that isn’t a UK legal concept).

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I can’t keep up with how the OS has changed Colin. I’ll look into whether SOTA MT should get a media licence (free!!!) to cover postings to the reflector.

… or alternatively you can just forget about it and worry about something important, like what you are going to have for dinner. :slight_smile:


Personally, I fret for hours over whether I should open the Chevalier-Montrachet Grand cru Domaine 2013 or the Chevalier-Montrachet Grand cru “Clos des Chevaliers” Monopole 2016 with my Welsh Rarebit (cheese on toast if you must). Such a dilemma, which I usually resolve by tossing the butler over the battlements and seeing which side of the drawbridge he lands on: right, it’s the Domaine; left, the Clos.


Hi Jack (;>J

I’ve been producing screenprints of OS maps in 1:25000 and 1:50000 from a licenced copies of Memory Map and Viewranger OS digital maps and loading them on to websites and blogs I have been involved with now for about 10 years. OS have never complained so far.

If they told me to stop because of copyright I would. I could produce receipts for £100s of pounds though which I have spent on OS mapping in digital format over the last 12 years since I started using it. I believe it is unlikely they would object though as what I do with the maps is not for profit.

73 Phil


I think really, they just like to know who is using the data. I suppose old habits die hard and as they used to charge lots for using the data that they still like to keep tabs. Just in case the business model goes back to the old way and they can bill everyone!

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Thanks for the reply Phil,

Like yourself I have been using licensed versions of Memory Map - 1:25K & 1:50K for over 15 years now, but I have always been a bit wary of publishing extracts in support of a something I am trying to illustrate. This has come to a head when I have started to look at path profiles for 13cms.

The good facilities in Memory Map’s route planning are (for me) ideal for looking at a point-to-point paths. As such you may have seen the odd Profile pop-up in THE GREAT GM EXTRAVAGANZA Topic on the Reflector. But I was wary in including these extracts. So seeing Andy’s (and many others) extract I thought I’d ask the question.

It would be a pity if the OS came on strong with us. As Andy says their previous stance was pretty strict. And as I remember it, when I was looking to use extracts for within our repeater group magazine - FM NEWS - I approached them as to the copyright issue and would an acknowledgement suffice? They were pretty strict - with a more-or-less refusal, even for a wee ‘not for profit’ publication like ours. So I was never able to use extracts. Now I am talking over 30 years ago and technologies have moved on as has Societies (to a certain extent) approach to the issue of copyright.

That’s the key point I think - the licence has conditions attached to it. In general these questions will be answered by the terms and conditions page that you probably clicked through without reading when you bought the product or signed up for the service. They would probably take you hours to read and all day to understand, but I think they will almost certainly say that you may not copy the images and publish them elsewhere. For example I’ve noticed that the Ts&Cs of the OpenSpace API go as far as defining how long the application may hold the data cached.

Where organisations legitimately republish annotated OS map extracts you’ll usually find that they quote in the small print the licence under which they do so.

I would be exceedingly susprised if posting an annotated map extract were not a technical copyright infringement. If you were, for example, quoting a section as an example for the purposes of comparing it with some other map, it could probably be counted as fair dealing, but if your intention is that the reader actually uses it as a map, I’m sure it wouldn’t. In practice it seems unlikely that the OS would seek to enforce their rights over casual use of a tiny extract, but I think it would be wise to be a bit careful about it.


It is a murky situation and you’re right Martin, we all click licences without reading to get to the interesting stuff.

You could argue that my clip shows my route and significant details of the map are obscured by the route markers such that it’s indicative and you couldn’t use without caveats. Or you could say it’s more than detailed enough.

The media licence from the OS is free and doesn’t expire and allows 1000cm^2 per issue and a single extract of 625cm^2. The licence applies to online and print use. And SOTA now has one for the reflector! The moderators will keep an eye on OS data pasted in and for the sake of argument as defining what “an issue” is for a continuously updated weblog/forum, we’ll make those limits the daily limits and assume we run like a print newspaper with one issue per day.

In the map clip placed in my report, that comes from the 1:50k map where grid squares are 1cm x 1cm. The data shows about 4.5cm x 3.5cm of raw data before de-resolving and magnifying. Or 14.875 cm^2 (if I have done the maths right) of the 625cm^2 allowed per clipping.

I can understand the idea of worrying about only what matters. However, the people saying that wouldn’t be the people chased for non-compliance. In that case it’s easy to say :wink:

After some to-ing and fro-ing we have a licence. If you want to put OS map data into your posts then please make sure you include the following text close to the image.

© Crown copyright 2017 Ordnance Survey. Media 069/17

The licence needs renewing every calendar year and I’ll find somewhere permanent to include the licence info for each year.

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Well done that boy! This makes me :grin:

Thanks Andy


(And how about GM13 - presume one at a time? Don’t want to push the OS too much :slight_smile: )

The very nice people at the OS have given us a new licence so we can paste extracts of their maps into the reflector threads.

From the 1st of January 2018, any OS map images need the following text placed next to the image.

©Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey. Media 032/18


Is it 2 years since this first happened? Yes.

From the 1st of January 2019, any OS map images need the following text placed next to the image.

©Crown copyright 2019 Ordnance Survey. Media 009/19

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Time marches on…

From the 1st of January 2020, any OS map images need the following text placed next to the image.

©Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey. Media 010/20


As always, thanks for the work and attention to detail!

Another year another licence.

From the 1st of January 2021, any OS map images need the following text placed next to the image.

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 018/21


I forgot to post the latest licence info after 31 day effort to get a new licence

©Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 041/22


ZL Equivalent (LINZ) of OS:

“Sourced from the LINZ Data Service and licensed for reuse under the CC BY 4.0 licence.

To quote the song: 'We don’t know how lucky we are, mate!"

So a simple solution to your problem: emigrate (I’m sure we’d welcome some more SOTA operators)!