ORDNANCE SURVEY AND THE PLANNING PROCESS
Ordnance Survey does not have a specific role
in the planning process, but its maps and data are used by many
who are intimately involved in that process eg Central Government,
Local Authorities, Architects, Property professionals and individual
Currently, the Ordnance Survey database represents
the built environment only. It is important therefore that its
surveyors are aware of planned change before it happens, so that
the database can be updated as soon as possible after the development
takes place. Many customers of large scale data and mapping would
like information about planned development to be held also in
the database. As a result, one of the additional layers to be
incorporated into OS MasterMap will be a pre-build layer that
will provide this information.
Information about planned change is available
from a number of sources, but ultimately the primary source for
approved planning applications, is the Local Authority community.
Many Ordnance Survey field offices have excellent working relationships
with their Local Authority planning department that facilitates
the supply of planning data and intelligence. There are though
no formal consistent standards guiding the frequency, content
and quality of this information exchange. Ordnance Survey complements
the raw Local Authority data with data purchased from commercial
companies who specialise in collating planning information from
Local Authorities and adding value before marketing the result
to interested parties.
Ordnance Survey is also managing a project with
the primary objective of identifying a consistent source of fit-for-purpose
planning information on a national basis. The goal is to provide
a web-based information system that will provide a consistent
quality of data to Ordnance Survey field staff to enable them
to schedule their work effectively and increase productivity further.
This source can also be used to help populate the pre-build layer
within OS MasterMap.
A more detailed source of information about
the nature of individual developments is the architectural, property
development, building and construction sectors. Ordnance Survey
has developed a service known as CODES (Collection of Data from
External Sources) such that design data is transformed into National
Grid co-ordinates and stored in the database as a separate layer.
The amount of data collected through the CODES project is increasing
as Ordnance Survey concludes agreements with more suppliers of
such data. This design data is therefore held in the correct co-ordinate
relationship to existing as-built data. Until now, this design
data has not been released to customers until the development
is physically under construction or complete and Ordnance Survey
has verified the design data. There are plans to start making
this data available soon, as an embryonic pre-build layer.
In the longer term, Ordnance Survey aims to
acquire design data at an earlier stage than it does today. It
is likely that data from the property professional community will
contain information that has not yet been submitted for planning
approval. Ordnance Survey has a target to obtain pre-build data
for at least 50 per cent of major developments by 2004. The pre-build
layer will therefore become an important input to the planning
process, enabling developers to put their applications in the
context of the existing built environment. The potential for increasing
speed to market and meeting customers needs for up-to-date information
is extremely high, as is the potential for speeding up the planning
and land registration processes.
In addition to the property professionals, individuals
make use of Ordnance Survey maps in the planning process. They
can buy small extracts of large scale maps from the Ordnance Survey
network of Superplan Agents, or from some of the value-added partners
who enhance Ordnance Survey digital data to provide products suitable
for the planning process, or from some Local Authorities under
a service jointly agreed between Ordnance Survey and the Authorities.
In September 2000, Ordnance Survey introduced
a new Pay As You Use pricing structure for small extracts of mapping
that makes it easier for customers to acquire the small extracts
most appropriate to planning applications and appeals. The scheme
through Local Authorities generates a fixed return to Ordnance
Survey for A4 and A5 graphics. The Pay As You Use tariff also
sets out the return to Ordnance Survey for different areas of
mapping. In neither case can Ordnance Survey set the end-user
price. There are low run-on prices for additional copies of the
There are many other instances of Ordnance Survey
working with Local Authorities, but one such instance specifically
relevant to the Sub-Committee's inquiry is in the area of Rights
of Way. It is Local Authorities who maintain the definitive maps
of Rights of Way, not Ordnance Survey, but there is regular liaison
to ensure that the depiction is accurate. Ordnance Survey uses
information from the definitive map to depict Rights of Way information
on the Explorer and Landranger series in England and Wales. The
concept of a Right of Way is different in Scotland.
Management and depiction of Rights of Way information
is a complex subject. There are Rights of Way that are clearly
related to existing paths, tracks, roads etc on the ground, there
are Rights of Way that cannot be related and there are many existing
paths, tracks and roads that are not Rights of Way.
Although large scale mapping and data can be
used to analyse the routes of some Rights of Way more effectively,
Rights of Way do not form part of the specification of the large
scale data. Ordnance Survey and the Local Authorities will continue
to work together to provide the best possible service for Rights
of Way depiction.