Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Kingswood MapMechanics (OS 04)

  Kingswood MapMechanics markets mapping in electronic form to organisations mainly in the private sector business market. Our portfolio includes mapping from a number of different map publishers including Ordnance Survey. We publish a 64 page catalogue of map data products and have been selling map data since 1991. Applications include use on single PC's, corporate networks, extranets and Internet use. Data is also used to produce specialist paper maps. Applications in vehicle tracking are a key part of our business. We are an Ordnance Survey partner and the value we add is in helping organisations understand and choose between different map options, processing the data to meet their requirements and providing technical support in their specific use of the data.

  We take this opportunity to draw the following to the attention of the Inquiry:

    (a)  Ordnance Survey has been inconsistent in those markets it wishes to serve directly and those which it seeks to supply through the channel. It has now created a situation where in certain circumstances it is more cost effective for potential customer to buy direct from Ordnance Survey than through its partner channel.

    (b)  In some markets, including vehicle tracking, Ordnance Survey has priced its data such that it is too highly priced for the industry that requires it.

    (c)  The frequent changing of prices both up and down, and changes in the policy about what its partners can and cannot do and what margin it receives on products sold makes it challenging to promote and supply OS products as effectively as we would wish.

    (d)  We had understood that Ordnance Survey was going to concentrate on the core mapping and leave its partners to create "value added products". However, an example of Ordnance Survey having gone counter to this in creating Internet Street Mapping which is a derived product from other OS products ie not a core product. We would not have expected this given the understanding that it was not going to compete with its partners and it would make us hesitant to create any new derived products ourselves for fear that Ordnance Survey might at anytime enter a market which we had created.

    (e)  We are aware of great inconsistency of paper royalty charges and the ability to printout information at a reasonable cost is key for many organisations.

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