Potentially big news, even if limited: some Ordnance Survey data (you know, the stuff the tax payer paid for, directly or indirectly) is to be made freely available. The free our data blog has some comments. Importantly:
Key points: it involves “mid-scale” maps from 1:10,000 upwards; and it kills off the “derived data” rows that government departments and everyone else has been having for so long. Derived data will have a stake through its heart.
Oh, and – this “free” will extend to being free for commercial use. That’s right, you’ll be able to build a business with it. Though it’s not clear yet whether you’d be able to take the maps and create *printed* ones. Must ask about that.
I hope that means it will become possible to obtain e.g. landranger mapping for the Thames tidal floodplain without making a dozen requests through Digimap. That was a painful process.
I suppose it also means that all of the wierd and arcane restrictions on use will be lifted (including different restrictions for printed and online papers, as far as I could interpret the Ts and Cs for digimap).
It's only a step, but it sounds like a significant step. It's significance goes beyond Ordnance Survey, too. It seems to me to undermine the argument that government requires that data be charged for. Other goverment agencies take note ...