Memorandum by Ordnance Survey (OS 22)
1. As Great Britain's National Mapping Agency,
Ordnance Survey is responsible for creating and maintaining the
"master-map" of Great Britain from which others, such
as our customers and partners, derive benefit. From this enormous
and highly-detailed database, which contains some 400 million
geographical features, it produces and markets a wide range of
digital map data and paper maps for business, leisure, educational
and administrative use. OS MasterMapTM, Ordnance Survey's brand
new product offering, represents an entirely new concept in digital
map data, identifying each feature on the British landscape by
a numerical code. OS MasterMapTM will give Ordnance Survey's customers
and partners increased flexibility in choosing precisely the data
2. Ordnance Survey data is used by a very
wide range of public bodies, from administering land and property
ownership to locating suitable derelict land for housebuilding;
from identifying areas of deprivation to planning new access to
the countryside; and from controlling the flow of urban traffic
to helping the police detect crime pattern to catch offenders.
Its uses in the private sector are also substantial, ranging from
targeting marketing effort to calculating insurance risks and
from managing property portfolios to developing both in-car and
hand-held navigation systems. Approximately 5,000 changes are
made to the database everyday reflecting the ever changing landscape
and these changes are fed daily through to customers within 24
hours of collection. Around 75 per cent of its business is in
digital data, but it is perhaps still best known by the public
for its various series of paper-based leisure maps.
3. Although Ordnance Survey's turnover is
in the order of £100 million, an independent study (Oxford
Economic Research Associates, 1999) has indicated that its data
already underpins around £100 billion of Gross Domestic Product
across both the public and private sectors. An ambitious e-strategy
is currently being implemented to enhance the delivery of its
services to customers and help grow the business, by encouraging
customers to make greater use of our data, in line with Government
policies. This is part of an over-arching vision that, with its
partners, Ordnance Survey will be the content provider of choice
for location-based information in the new information economy.
4. Ordnance Survey's statutory status is
that it is a Government Department, Executive Agency and Trading
Fund that is responsible for the surveying and mapping of Great
Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). It is not responsible for
Northern Ireland. It reports to Parliament through Ministers in
the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
Established in 1791, there were serving military officers in Ordnance
Survey until 1983. It became an Executive Agency in 1990 and a
Trading Fund in 1999. Turnover in 2000-01 was £99.6 million
with a trading surplus of £8.1 million. The Trading Fund
has a target to generate an average of 9 per cent Return on Capital
Employed (ROCE) per annum over the period April 1999 to 2004.
Investment plans for 2001 to 2003 project a trading loss in 2001-02
and a breakeven scenario in 2002-03. The Corporate Plan 2001-04
approved by Sally Keeble, DTLR Minister with responsibility for
Ordnance Survey forecasts a return to trading profitability in
2003-04 and an average ROCE for the five years of just over 9
5. The backgrounds of the Chief Executive,
the Executive Directors and Non-Executive Directors include both
public and private sector experience. In the last 18 months, the
Chief Executive and three Directors have been recruited from the
surveying, geographic information and associated industries.
6. In line with its drive to bring geographic
information into mainstream information and its determination
to take a leading role in e-business across the public private
sector spectrum, Ordnance Survey is implementing an e-strategy
that will benefit all its customers from the hill walker through
all aspects of leisure, business and government to the global
multinational companies and the central government policy makers.
7. The focus of Ordnance Survey business
is data capture, data management, data enhancement, and data licensing
and distribution with special national interest activity being
directed to the maintenance of national cover of mapping series
at large and medium scales. The phased withdrawal of the Pathfinder
Series and its replacement with the more user-friendly Explorer
Series is one example of Ordnance Survey's commitment to continuing
its public interest role. Other examples include the introduction
of the up-to-date LandPlan 1:10000 paper series offering coloured
mapping nationwide at the largest single scale and the introduction
of the free service for transforming Global Positioning System
data to the National Grid.
8. Ordnance Survey is currently the subject
of a Quinquennial Review which examines whether the output of
a Government Agency is required at all, and if so recommends the
most effective way of delivering that output. The announcement
of the results of Stage 1 of that review is imminent, but has
not yet been made public.
9. For many, the perception of Ordnance
Survey is simply one of a publisher of high quality paper maps
at scales of 1:50000 and 1:25000 or even one inch to the mile!
The provision of these maps remains a fundamental part of Ordnance
Survey business, but together these two national map series generate
only 7.5 per cent of annual revenue.
10. The focus of Ordnance Survey's activity
is on the maintenance, data integration and distribution of the
"mastermap" of Great Britain. Urban data currently has
a target that expects all topographic change on the ground to
be in the database within 6 months. Urban surveying is accurate
to 40 centimetres. National Interest Mapping Service Agreement
(NIMSA) funding has helped to bring Rural data up-to-date such
that important change within these areas is also recorded in the
database within 6 months. Rural change of secondary importance
is collected within a five year national cyclea significant
improvement on the previous 40 year cycle that was in place before
the introduction of NIMSA. Rural mapping is also being improved
to an accuracy of one metre, in most areas, with the survey quality
in the rural towns targeted towards the higher Urban standard.
Moorland primary change is surveyed within a six month target
with secondary change being managed now within a 10 year cycle.
These accuracy standards have been set as a result of customer
demand, the widespread use of global positioning systems by customers
and a business balance between costs and value-for-money pricing
to customers. Ordnance Survey recognises that there is growing
pressure from some users to increase the primary change targets
towards three months with many users, such as Utilities and Local
Authorities also expressing a strong need for planning information
and builders and architects plans to be integrated into Ordnance
Survey's database. There is a clear intention by Directors to
drive down costs further and continue to improve the data content
and up-to-dateness through increased use of technology and increased
efficiency. By doing this the value for money of Ordnance Survey
data and mapping will be enhanced.
11. Ordnance Survey employed over 4,500
staff in the 1970s. It now employs 1,850 as a result of harvesting
the benefit of new technology and improved productivity. In particular,
the use of new technology in data collection has reduced costs
and facilitated a fully electronic update process. Four hundred
and fifty surveyors, based in just under 70 offices throughout
Great Britain from Truro to Inverness, download data from the
master database in Southampton, survey new topographic detail
directly on-screen or through electronic and satellite positioning
equipment interfaced to the handheld surveying computer. The updated
data can be transferred directly back to Southampton from where
it is available almost immediately to customers and partners who
take large scale data. The databases are now more up-to-date than
at any other time in the 210 year history of Ordnance Survey.
It is more cost effective to keep data up-to-date on a continuous
revision basis than it is to let it get out of date and try and
maintain on a national cyclic basis. Since the 1920s, Ordnance
Survey has been at the forefront of using aerial photography for
mapping in this country. Increasing use is now being made of advanced
digital techniques that can derive more data from aerial photographs
than ever before and, in many cases, can derive it more cost effectively
than ground survey methods can.
12. New technology has also played a significant
part in the printing and photographic aspects of Ordnance Survey
business with the development of improved scanning techniques
and the introduction of computer to plate technology. Further
examples of new technology are given in Section 5 below.
13. In real terms Ordnance Survey costs
are almost the same as they were 20 years ago, staff numbers are
less than half of what they were, and the data and maps are substantially
more up-to-date and more fit for purpose than they were then.
Even only 20 years ago, large scale paper maps were only re-published
in paper form when a pre-determined and significant amount of
change had occurred on the ground within the area of the map.
Now surveyed change is available to customers within 24 hours
14. Geographic information is one of the
major beneficiaries of digital techniques. Annex A shows the trends
in costs, revenues and staff numbers over the past 20 years.
15. Many staff have been re-trained to gain
the new skills required in the information economy of today, but
in recent years there has also been an increase in early retirement
and external recruitment cycles. In an increasingly competitive
business environment where there is pressure to price information
as a commodity, it is certain that costs will have to reduce substantially
if Ordnance Survey is to meet customer pricing expectations. Inevitably,
if revenues do not hold up, permanent staff numbers will have
to fall further in parallel with an increase in the use of contract
staff as and when appropriate. Those staff who continue to be
employed directly will have even more specialist skills than today
and will expect increased reward packages. They will also understand
the risk-reward equation better than many staff today.
16. Ordnance Survey staff are employed in
seven Groups each headed by an Operational and Strategy Board
member. Details are given in Annex B.
17. Account Managers within the Digital
and Graphic Brands businesses are in constant contact with customers
and partners to ensure that Ordnance Survey continues to understand
customers' needs properly and to ensure investment is targeted
at the right enhancements to the database. In addition to one-to-one
contact with users, extensive consultation and market research
is undertaken through seminars, focus groups and networking at
all levels of the organisation.
18. Current plans for the enhancement of
the database include the introduction of an imagery layer (to
provide another complementary source of geographic information
and to help with the identification of minor change), an improved
height layer (to assist with planning in flood plain areas, together
with building height and vegetation height to help with line of
sight and environmental analysis) and a comprehensive land and
property layer in association with HMLR, IdeA and Consignia, (to
avoid duplication of effort, introduce consistent standards and
improve the ease of sharing land and property data between interested
parties). While Ordnance Survey will maintain Intellectual Property
Rights for the Crown in the key layers within the database, it
will seek to improve the quality of the data within these layers
and introduce new national cover layers, as appropriate, in co-operation
and partnership with public and private sector data suppliers.
19. It is generally accepted that 80 per
cent of government data has a location based element. The potential
to unlock the information within that data and integrate apparently
disparate datasets across government can only be achieved through
the use of a consistent and standard geographic framework across
the public and private sectors. With its partners in the geographic
information industry, Ordnance Survey has developed the Digital
National Framework that provides such a standard.
Data surveyed using co-ordinates
derived from Global Positioning System satellites;
Data related to addresses;
Data referenced to land parcels references;
Data with co-ordinates in local referencing
systems, for example,
can all be integrated through the 400 million
unique topographic identifiers (TOIDS) that Ordnance Survey has
allocated to all the elements (lines, point features and polygons)
within its recently launched OS MasterMap data.
20. The Government Policy Unit within Ordnance
Survey is increasing our links within central government. Ordnance
Survey is hoping to sign a Pan Government Service Level Agreement
in the next 12 months that will make the Ordnance Survey digital
data portfolio freely available across the whole spectrum of government
departments, agencies and civil service bodies at a price that
represents excellent value for money for organisations that would
not otherwise venture down the geographic information road. A
similar agreement is already in place with the local government
community. The price charged to end users is a balance between
value for money for the customer and a fair return to Ordnance
Survey so that it can invest appropriately for the future and
continue to supply data, information and services that meet customer
requirements. Annual performance targets agreed with government
mean that Ordnance Survey will continue to be run as an efficient
and cost-effective business.
21. Ordnance Survey works with the Inter
Government Group on Geographical Information (IGGI) to ensure
that government needs are incorporated into future database enhancements.
22. Recent examples of the benefits that
geographic information and digital mapping can bring to government
Working with DTLR and the Office
for National Statistics on Neighbourhood Renewal.
Internal business savings to Property
Advisor to the Civil Estate (PACE) as a result of using a geographic
information system (GIS) to manage the Civil Estate.
The use by DEFRA of Geographic Information
Systems and the secondment of 120 Ordnance Survey staff to manage
and contain many elements of the Foot and Mouth outbreak.
Management of census data capture
and data interpretation by the Office for National Statistics.
Underpinning much of the activity
of HM Land Registry who are themselves investing heavily in digitising
their own records and associating them with Ordnance Survey data.
The National Land Information System
(NLIS), which is a recently launched initiative by central government,
local government and the private sector to speed up the process
of conveyancing and registration.
National Land Use Database (NLUD),
another public private initiative which currently provides a consistent
source of information about "brown field" development
sites. In the longer term, this database will be a national source
of information about the nature of land and its use throughout
23. Catalogues and Price Lists showing the
range of Ordnance Survey data products and maps available today
are provided as additional background material to this submission.
These catalogues explain the classification of data products into
large scale products, business geographics products and other
products. The associated pricing material despatched with this
submission gives a clear flavour of the pricing principles. Additionally,
each data product has a comprehensive and transparent price list
which is available in the public domain on our web site at http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk.
24. Over the last two years, Ordnance Survey
has held or reduced the price of its flagship large scale data
products even though the Ordnance Survey investment programme
has been extended substantially in the same period. In September
2000 we introduced a simplified and discounted Pay As You Use
tariff for small extracts of large scale graphics that were hitherto
priced by Ordnance Survey at what some argued were prohibitively
high minimum prices. These extracts can be used in the planning
process. Further information about the use of Ordnance Survey
mapping in the planning process and other aspects of local government
activity is provided at Annex C.
25. In addition, the price of Business Geographics
products were reduced substantially in September 1999. ADDRESS-POINT
has just been re-launched in the last few weeks at significantly
lower prices from over £800k to £120k for a corporate
licence in year one and from nearly £300k to £120k in
second and subsequent years with data also being made available
in smaller geographical units. Other data products have also fallen
in price over the last few years.
26. The launch of OS MasterMap on 30 November
2001, has seen the introduction of an even more simple and transparent
pricing and discount policy based on industry norms of data content,
numbers of users and volume discounts. New, consistent and simpler
pricing policies will continue to be introduced for all Ordnance
Survey products. Service Level Agreements at equitable prices
for major users will remain an important part of the Ordnance
Survey product offering.
27. The management of copyright has been
simplified significantly and the price reduced for many users.
The introduction of the £45 business use copyright licence
for small businesses has been universally welcomed. Property professionals
can now make much greater use of Ordnance Survey material in their
sales and marketing literature. The whole process of copyright
and royalty management for citizens to national publishers has
been simplified in recent years. The literature we provide about
our copyright terms and conditions has been re-written in clear
English such that these leaflets attract the Crystal Mark accreditation.
Copies of all our Copyright leaflets are attached as additional
material to this submission.
28. Some of the consumer paper products
have been re-positioned in their market place as part of an overall
package to clarify the most effective use of each product. Over
the past two years this re-positioning has caused some prices
to rise above inflation and some prices to fall in real terms.
Annex D illustrates the current pricing structure, we are working
to simplify this even further. The reasons behind recent changes
to our consumer products are explained in Annex E. A key project
at the moment is the re-branding exercise that will make it much
clearer what are the use and benefits of each of Explorer, Landranger,
Touring Maps and Road Maps.
29. It costs approximately £30,000
to revise a Landranger sheet. Many maps in the Explorer and Landranger
series sell in very small numbers. Competititors do not maintain
national cover and target their offerings on the popular and high
30. Ordnance Survey is increasing its reliance
on partners to add-value to basic geographic data and market applications
into wider markets than Ordnance Survey could hope to service
itself. This partner strategy is a fundamental element of our
overall business strategy and is designed to increase the knowledge
of the benefits of geographical data and maps, increase the use
of such data and reduce the unit price to end-users while generating
and sustaining an increasingly successful private sector market
place in geographic systems and applications. Particular interest
is being shown in the development of the location based services
market, both mobile (3g telecommunications) and static (Desktop,
Internet and Digital Interactive Television).
31. We have withdrawn from co-publishing
because we were causing confusion in the market place by acting
as both a licensor of data and a publishing competitor in the
same arena. Publishers are now encouraged to licence data from
Ordnance Survey and develop their own products from that data.
As part of the disengagement process, and as part of an agreement
to support its partners, Ordnance Survey has continued to offer
chargeable cartographic services to a number of previous co-publishers.
As these cartographic services can also be provided by private
sector firms we will not continue to market such services ourselves
in the future. There are published tariffs for the licensed use
of Ordnance Survey material in guidebooks. These are included
in the Copyright leaflets introduced above.
32. Free mapping and gazetteer services
are available on the Ordnance Survey website (http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk)
through the Get-A-Map service. This also links through to a historical
maps website managed by one of Ordnance Survey's partners. Many
other partners, such as MultiMap http://www.multimap.com/, Streetmap
http://www.streetmap.co.uk, and Up-My-Street http://www.Upmystreet.com
offer free mapping and information sites based upon Ordnance Survey
data. In addition to providing free mapping, Ordnance Survey also
hosts a website http://www.gps.gov.uk that provides free transformations
between the global satellite positioning (GPS) referencing system
and the co-ordinate system used in Ordnance Survey mapping and
data. This GPS site has been very well used.
33. The Election Maps website (http://www.election-maps.co.uk)
was introduced for the 2001 General Election and subsequent by-elections
and local elections. It has been well used. The website is maintained
by Ordnance Survey and is designed solely to represent an up-to-date
map of parliamentary constituency and local ward boundaries with
detail within available at a range of scales during elections
and at 1:50,000 between elections. There is an issue about the
scales depicted on the website as consequence of our desire not
to compete with or be seen to undercut partners using our data
where there is potential for them to offer a similar chargeable
service to end-users.
34. While the site may be up-dated to include
better information on street names and house numbers, there is
no intention for Ordnance Survey to move beyond mapping and geographical
information, and stray into the areas where individuals can be
identified as a result of information contained within the Election
35. Ordnance Survey listens to its customers
in all its varied market sectors. Often there are conflicting
demands from the different sectors and a balance has to be struck
between national interest, commercial imperatives, short term
gain and long term benefit. Directors call on best practice from
the public and private sectors to chart an effective management
and business course through all the competing demands.
36. The resulting e-strategy has been developed
from customer input, government input and Ordnance Survey's own
desire to continuously improve its service to customers. Ordnance
Survey's e-strategy is recognised by the Office of the E-envoy
as being one of the best prepared in government. There are five
strands to the strategy as follows:
Putting the Customer first.
The New Ordnance Survey.
The Enabling Infrastructure.
37. In addition there are a range of strategic
investments aimed at improving efficiencies and productivity in
all areas of Ordnance Survey business.
38. Our aim is to make up-to-date Ordnance
Survey data easily available to customers and partners, ideally
24 hours a day, if the customers require it. On the business side,
many end users will have licenced access that enable on demand
access to a wide range of consistent datasets that are derived
from a single database. The days of some maps being more up-to-date
than others will end. Traditional paper maps will be redesigned
to embrace the benefits that can be gained from software that
will generalise from large scale surveys to medium and small scale
datasets and maps.
39. Customer relationship management is
already assuming a very important role in Ordnance Survey business,
making it easier to retain customers in the face of increasing
National, European and Global competition. The geographic information
market is one in which organisations can be competitors and partners
at the same time. Ordnance Survey's partner strategy is designed
to encourage new companies within the location market, existing
companies and competitors to licence Ordnance Survey data and
40. Enhancements to data content and the
ability to integrate other supplier's data into the Ordnance Survey
database or the ability to associate third party datasets through
the Ordnance Survey framework are important elements of future
development. There are Intellectual Property and Contract issues
that need careful understanding when developing partnerships.
Already, Ordnance Survey has good experience in integrating housebuilders',
architects' and engineers' data into the database.
41. The Ordnance Survey website (http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk)
provides extensive information about Ordnance Survey and its full
product portfolio. There are detailed sections containing case-study
information about the use of Ordnance Survey mapping data. The
website was recently awarded a five star excellence award by the
42. There are also sections detailing the
history and remit of Ordnance Survey together with copies of the
Annual Reports for the past three years.
43. Parts of the site are devoted to Education
and free services for all Ordnance Survey users. Publication dates
and screenshots of all consumer products are available. Thumbnail
images of the most up-to-date version of all 299,000 Land-Line
titles today are also available. This service will be maintained
for the life of Land-Line even after the introduction of OS MasterMap.
44. The implementation of many elements
of the e-strategy mean that OS MasterMap data will be available
on-line for key and major customers through their own dedicated
sections of the site. Partners too have their own website area
where they can keep in regular touch with the development of the
Partner programme. We have just launched a Developer Partner programme
where developers can obtain access to up to £40,000 of Ordnance
Survey data to help develop new and innovative applications. We
expect to announce improvements to our main Partner programme
early in 2002.
45. Ordnance Survey has been in existence
for 210 years. Huge amounts of change have taken place in that
time. Some historical decisions, even the 1990s are historical
now, have caused us some angst, but we are constantly working
to improve our service to business, government and customers.
In the last six years we have re-engineered the first generation
digital database into a second generation one. We have developed
and started to implement our e-strategy in the past 15 months
and we have strengthened our Director and Senior Management team
by mixing the best of public and private sector skills.
46. We are making ourselves much easier
to do business with. We listen to our customer's concerns and
we provide the best possible solution to all whilst continuing
to balance the national interest in survey and mapping with the
commercial drivers upon us.
47. There is still a lot more work to do
but we are confident that we can face all the challenges of the