Memorandum by Christopher Board (OS 06)
Thank you for your invitation to make a submission
on the workings of the Ordnance Survey as it affected our consultative
committee based at the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute
of British Geographers).
In 1999 we were concerned about the pricing
of large scale data and smaller-scale paper products. Many schools
begin work with maps using large scale, ie 1:10,560 or 1:10,000
or larger, before moving later to smaller scales. We were concerned
that the cost of paper products at larger scales had become so
high as to be beyond the resources of most schools. This concern
has been renewed by the latest price increases for graphic (paper)
An investigation of the take-up of digital map
data by schools uncovered considerable variability in charging
for data and training in their use among Local Education Authorities.
In summary the service was polarised between the very good and
the non-existent. As a result a "best-practice" brochure
was prepared for all LEAs and alternative supply routes were sought,
a new system being promised for January 2001. At the same time
it was recognised that schools not falling under LEAs were at
a disadvantage as they did not fall under the Service Level Agreement
established between OS and Local Authorities. This concerned licences
to use in copyright mapping and digital data for use in Geographical
Information Systems. From October 2000 Independent and privately
funded schools were relieved of having to buy individual licences
and are no longer at such a disadvantage.
With reference to higher education one of our
members was much involved in discussions which finally resulted
in the agreement between OS and the Joint Information Services
Committee of HEFCE. This relates to the supply of digital map
data at reasonable prices to universities and, being widely taken
up, has proved successful.
A series of maps specifically designed for the
educational market, including wall maps and poster maps, has been
competitively priced. Our committee appreciated being involved
in the process of deciding the content and design of such maps.
Such advances in co-operation with educational
users would be jeopardised by some of the proposals in the consultation
paper Licensing of Crown CopyrightHMSO Regulatory Framework.
The concept of equal treatment of all those re-using OS mapping
would be likely to prevent OS from giving preferential treatment
to schools. It would be unfortunate if the future users of digital
map data were to be starved of familiarisation with digital mapping
by a one-size-fits-all approach which puts fair treatment among
user groups before other considerations.