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So here’s the Ordnance Survey’s public task, for the record

Since we asked where the Ordnance Survey (OS) public task is, we’ve been pointed to it. (Thanks again, Dan.)

So we thought that, since it seems elusive elsewhere on the web, we’d put it here for the record. And for the record, this is extracted directly from the report of the Select Committee on Communities and Local Government. No doubt there’s some copyright issue, but we can’t quite see why acknowledging a source and repeating it correctly, in brief, is a problem, especially with an organisation that we (as citizens) own.

So here’s the PDF of the Ordnance Survey public task; and below, the HTML. If you spot any errors, please tell us and we’ll aim to correct them.

(From the written evidence to the Select Committee on Communities and Local Government, Fifth report of session 2007-8, printed January 21 2008)

Ordnance Survey’s Public Task is to:

— Collect and maintain uniform datasets with national coverage forming the official record of the natural and built environment of Great Britain, containing:

— detailed mapping of the built and natural landscape (topography);86

— high resolution address data;

— transport networks (including road, rail, waterways, tracks and paths);

— terrain and height data;

— administrative and electoral boundary information; and

— geographical names (including features with imprecise extents such as “Dartmoor”, “The Cotswolds”, “Forest of Bowland”, “South Downs” etc).

— Provide a nationally consistent cartographic portrayal of the topography of Great Britain at various scales including large scales.

— Maintain a definitive three-dimensional satellite-based geodetic87 reference framework of Great Britain that underpins the national datasets and facilitates the integration and analysis of location-based information from many sources.

— Make the content of the datasets widely available in forms that are accessible to customers of all types for wider benefit. This will be in the form of products which are the direct output of those datasets. As part of its Public Task and in order to fulfil its trading fund obligations, Ordnance Survey will charge all customers for the licensing and use of its products.

— Conduct its activities efficiently and effectively to maximise the broader economic value of its data, whilst complying with trading fund requirements.

— Ensure that its data is capable of supporting the principles underlying the Digital National Framework in underpinning the association and integration of third party geospatial information.

In order to fulfil its Public Task, Ordnance Survey is required to collect and maintain topographic data at the following scales:

— High Change Geographies88: 1:1250

— Rural Areas89: 1:2500

— National cover: 1:10000, 1:25000, 1:50000, 1:250000

The above datasets are required to fulfil Ordnance Survey’s Public Task to ensure that a comprehensive, nationally consistent version of each exists in the public interest.

Annex 1A sets out:

— Ordnance Survey’s datasets which fulfil its Public Task;

— the products that are currently the direct output of those datasets; and

— the rationale for including the various data within the Public Task.

The minimum levels of accuracy and revision required for those datasets are at Annex 1B.

The referencing systems and data collected and maintained by Ordnance Survey contribute to the development and integration of geographic and location based information collected and used by government, business and individuals.

As the National Mapping Agency of Great Britain, Ordnance Survey represents Great Britain overseas as experts on Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information. It provides a focus for the provision of public sector information into pan-European and international collaboration by National Mapping Agencies and the European Directive on the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE).

In discharging its Public Task, Ordnance Survey:

— Seeks to maximise both the accessibility of, and the broader economic benefit arising from the use of the data. It therefore creates products directly from these datasets and makes them available, including through commercial licensing, to government and business customers and consumers.

— Takes into account the views of customers (as well as, inter alia, technological changes and its trading fund requirements) to ensure that the range and content of these products meets their changing needs, and makes changes to content, accuracy and revision policies as may be necessary to ensure that the datasets and products remain fit for purpose. This may result in adding or withdrawing products from availability from time to time, as well as enhancing content andfunctionality.


86 Topography: Including defining the surface shape and composition of the landscape, comprising both natural and artificial features.

87 Geodetic: Relating to the scientific discipline that deals with the precise measurement and representation of the earth, its gravitational field, and other related phenomena. Within Ordnance Survey geodetic-quality information forms the high precision framework that ensures the correct positioning of all mapping and other data against the National Grid.

88 Predominantly urban areas and areas of significant development.

89 Predominantly rural settlements and developed agricultural land.

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