Free our data: New study casts doubt on Ordnance Survey’s copyright control @

The Guardian recently ran an article discussing availability of Ordnance Survey’s MasterMap product. As a daily user of MasterMap on projects, I would be so glad to see MasterMap become freely available; besides access to good quality mapping having obvious benefits for archaeology as a whole, especially to those who do not have access to resources such as Digimap and other resources hosted by Edina, from a commercial perspective, I could build and maintain a library of map data rather than constantly having to reprocess bits under project specific license agreements.

Having said this, I would be concerned about the maintenance of what is currently an outstanding dataset and the other services currently provided by the OS (and have mentioned this before); yes, some of the topographic polygon classifications in MasterMap are amusing to say the least, but the overall quality of the spatial information is world class and must be maintained alongside the services which make the data so useful (eg GPS survey, the Positional Accuracy Improvement (PAI) programme, and helping organisations such as English Heritage use geographic information effectively).