Web 0.1: Ordnance Survey / UK govt

I think it is a fantastic and wonderful thing that the complete, detailed, maps of the UK are now free for all commercial and non-commercial use. This is a long way ahead of any other country – these maps are many times more detailed and accurate than e.g. the Google Maps / Yahoo Maps / Streetmap datasets.

(PS: these days, the excellent OpenStreetMap (which works in every country – and I wanted to name-check here for anyone who isn’t aware of it already) has advanced so much that it’s seriously encroaching on the OS … why did we have to wait until the OS was heading towards obsolescence before making it free? Sigh)

(it’s just a pity it took so many years to reach this point, when e.g. in the USA, NASA has been making their content public domain for decades. All those high-res photos of space, nebulas, planets, etc – all free. For everyone)

But … it’s a pity they couldn’t find competent web-developers for their site http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/:

Apart from the “I’m too lazy to write a web form properly” bug there, it also begs the question:

Why, in 2011, are you forcing people to use *EMAIL* to get a download link, instead of just downloading direct from the website?

I can think of a few possible explanations, but they all have simple solutions. So … I guess they’re all wrong. Otherwise, why hasn’t the OS done any of them :) ?

(oh, BTW: Ordnance Survey folks, you might want to run through your email-marketing database, and prune out any accounts you just created for: *you*are*incompetent*@*.com . Your crappy web-form not only failed to accept legal addresses, but it happily accepted email addresses that were blatantly fake)

And so … we have another Web 0.1 award :).

2 thoughts on “Web 0.1: Ordnance Survey / UK govt

  1. Andrew Crystall

    “I can think of a few possible explanations, but they all have simple solutions”

    Probably legal reasons. There’s an immense amount of old legislation which the OS have to deal with…

  2. adam Post author

    What legislation would allow them to license to everyone commercial + non-commercial, with the rights to do anything with the data, but then place restrictions on the point of initial delivery?

    e.g. if that was legislated, why not setup a website “ordancesurveyMARK2.co.uk” which registered one email, downloaded the complete set from main site, then hosted all the files as normal :) ?

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