Since the Geospatial Commission first announced its support for an Open MasterMap, the community has been waiting with interest for more detailed news about OS’s roadmap for delivering on that initiative.
Overall, the Commission’s aspiration is for more organisations to have improved access to the data collected and published by OS. Small businesses in particular. This should be a catalyst for more innovation and, in the long term, greater use of geospatial information should deliver an uplift in the economy.
The challenge for OS lies in making MasterMap data available in an appropriate way. OS’s own research identified barriers to use for small businesses and start-ups that included pricing, licensing and ease of use.
However, today’s announcement of a 3-month trial for ‘OS Open Zoomstack’ shows what the first step on a journey to deliver an Open MasterMap product (or service), may look like.
In short, OS Open Zoomstack is a vector basemap using elements of OS’s opendata. Delivered via a Vector Tile API (or in GeoPackage, PostGIS Export File, or Vector Tile formats), OS describe it as being made available as one map, in a single file “with styles”. Users are encouraged to provide feedback on OS Open Zoomstack that will help to improve accessibility, usability and interoperability of OS data, overall – a good sign that OS is open to hearing input from developers and the community at large.
We encourage the community to not only trial the new product but also – as this is likely to help shape the approach to delivering an Open MasterMap – to invest time in passing constructive feedback on Open Zoomstack, to OS.