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Ordnance Survey maps to go free online?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/nov/17/ordnance-survey-maps-online

at long last ?

In reply to GM7GAX:

Good news for a change. My local outdoor center charge £8 for the OS Explorer Maps.

73 De MM6ADR

Adrian

In reply to GM7GAX:

http://openspace.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/openspace/

Just noticed this.

73

Richard
G3CWI

AFAICT, the news item refers to the availability of the 1:10,000 maps used by architects/estate agents/lawyers etc, rather than the 1:25,000 (Explorer) or 1:50,000 (Landranger) series used by walkers. In any case, OS Get-a-Map (online) provides both of these, free, for personal use, and has done for some considerable time.

This site has links to all the 1:25,000 Get-a-maps for the GB summits, via the summits link above.

I still prefer to pay the price and buy the physical maps. They are quality products, and well worth having in the collection, especially for much visited areas. Indeed, in much visited areas, they probably work out cheaper than the printing! Great reading material in the pub of an evening when away for a few days too.

I would avoid paying £8 per map though. Many shops like Waterstones and WHS have “3 for 2” offers on OS Explorer maps, so I tend to buy three at a time. If you don’t have such a store locally, then the same deal is available when ordering direct from the OS website. Double check the final price though - the website did not know how to calculate it when I tried to order 12 maps for the price of 8 ahead of my GM trip this summer - so I had to do it over the phone so that customer services could intervene and override the computer!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to G3CWI:

There are lots of websites using that API. Of course I can’t provide the link now but there’s a specific Corbett/Munro website with this OS map functionality and mountain locations overlaid. The limit for free use was 30000 tiles a day. Of course this is another free mapping API that requires a persistent connection to get the data and local caching of the data is not allowed. So it’s great for home use but less wonderful when you’re in the middle of glen with 800m peaks all around and it’s 10km to the nearest cell site for some internet connectivity and you haven’t seen a sole for 5 hours!

There’s lots of potential for these things when you start allowing people to specifically mash their various databases together. But the problem remains of taking the data with you. In the simplest of terms, saving 1:50000 OS data in 2km x 2km blocks as png files requires about 1.3GB of storage for the map data to cover Scotland from the North down to about 20miles South of Peebles. Probably that would expand to around 4.5-5GB for the whole of the UK. Plus use need index of towns, mountains or whatever, at least another couple of hundred MB. Not a huge amount really but enough to be challenging for PDA sized devices still. It also suggests that you’ll be pulling lots of data over any net connection. If there are lots of people pulling the data then the bandwidth costs for the provider (OSGB) become frightening and someone, somewhere will have to pay. If nobody is paying commercial rates for the data then something will have to give as there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

Just a thought, Andy, but I wonder if it would be possible to put the data on an SD card and look at it in your camera?

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Without a licence, no.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to M1EYP:

I would avoid paying £8 per map though.

Oh yes, I’ve used this online store a few times http://www.dash4it.co.uk/store/
with a quick and free delivery I can’t complain.

Iain, M3WJZ

In reply to MM0FMF:

But is it practicable, the license aspect could be sorted later? The view on the camera can be zoomed and panned to get a close-up of any part of the image and a couple of gb would be enough to store all the more interesting hilly areas. When I get a bit of spare time I’ll photograph some areas off my maps and try it out.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Possible, yes. Practical, well it seems a hard way of doing it to me. Just “acquire” the data from a webpage to remove the errors introduced when photographing the map.

If the webpage only gives small areas (a la Get-a-map) then you’ll need to acquire and stitch the images together. There’s probably a big Windows program that will do that but as a programmer the words Perl, Python and Java and floating in front of me.

Then yes, if you save the resultant stiched up image to your camera memory card you can view on the camera. Personally, and I’ve only been dealing with tech gizmos all my working life, I wouldn’t trust a camera with something I didn’t value never mind possibly my life. Spend ten bob on a colour printer and print the image out. A paper map in a map case doesn’t need batteries and doesn’t stop working when it rains or you drop it.

The legalities of whatever you do is left for the implementers conscience. It sounds hugely involved and awkward when it sounds like you want MemoryMap or Anquet. But you don’t want to pay. Fair enough. But from my viewpoint the cost is negligible compared to the benefit such programmes offer. Simply doing without 36 pints of Bitter&Twisted would pay for Anquet! A small price but YMMV. The cost of such programmes should drop when the data is “free”. We’ll see :wink:

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

You are getting my motives wrong. I am thinking of the camera as a small and convenient way of carrying a collection of maps to an area and use them in the field rather than a stack of bulky paper with your chosen destination all too often on a fold or edge, not to mention that the last new map I bought went hang gliding on its first outing and was never seen again! The zoom function would save me the need to carry a magnifier as I find the one on my Silva inadequate. As for the acquisition of the maps, I am not proposing any hole and corner illegality, transfering legally acquired maps to a more convenient format for personal use is, I believe, permitted in law. If the idea proved practicable I’m sure the OS would start providing suitably tiled maps on SD or XD cards at their usual astronomical mark-up (I’m still happy to use my Ben Nevis and Glencoe tourist map which cost 95p, I have others marked 40p which are still useful, the mountains don’t change much, but I will never understand why a single sheet of colour printed paper now costs roughly the same as Terry Pratchetts latest opus in hardback from Tesco!)

As an aside, I think trusting your life to a camera is no more hazardous than trusting your life to a satnav, they are both only gizmos, and even a Silva compass (a mechanical gizmo) can become u/s on a mountain which does somewhat reduce the precision of ones navigation!

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

is no more hazardous than trusting your life to a satnav

True. I only use mine when I know I could can navigate with traditional means. Then I use it simply to save time.

and even a Silva compass (a mechanical gizmo) can become u/s

Don’t you take two? :slight_smile: I have a tiny compass on my keyring. Enough to point North in an emergency.

Yes, you can digitise the data and can store a lot on your camera/cellphone/PDA etc. I still maintain it would be better to take paper copies than digital ones. No, you cannot do it legally, even if you own the printed map and you and only you will view the digitised data. I remember having this discussion with the OS years back (1996-ish). They wanted a licence purchasing to transfer any data from their maps to any digital system plus a fee for the type of data (road/contour etc) used per km^2 digitised. Even for personal non-commercial use. Then they wanted more money if the data was to be shared. (This was for a G4JNT 3d mapping app for the local radio club only covering a single OS sheet.) The costs for personal use were stupid. They must have relaxed their costs since given that all 204 UK 1:50000 maps on DVD are less than £150.

Of course nobody will know you’ve done it so nobody will care. Unless you discuss it on the web! :wink:

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

I’m sure the copyright laws permit it, something about fair dealing for purposes of private study, but my instinct as an old climber is that they can kiss my…anyway, at the moment it is a theoretical discussion.

Good point about a spare compass, although I have a very highly developed direction bump there is no harm in a belt and braces approach!

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Apparently this release of data is conditional on the government paying for the loss of revenue the OS will suffer when then give away the data. The back pedaling has already started with suggestions saying that without the current level of income you can forget about any updates over the coming years.

As we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Andy
MM0FMF