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Mappy days! Ordnance Survey offers up free map of UK greenery

All part of master plan to convince people to go outside

By Rebecca Hill, 11 Jul 2017

The Ordnance Survey has launched a free online map of Britain's green spaces with an open dataset for developers to get their hands on.

The mapping agency's latest offering pulls together geospatial data to create a map of concrete-free areas across the country – everything from your local park to an allotment.

The work builds on the Scottish greenspace map, which the Ordnance Survey says was the first of its kind in the world when it was released in 2011. The latest map covers all of England and Wales, too.

Using data from the Ordnance Survey as well as NGOs and other government agencies, the map pinpoints the location and extent of recreational areas and leisure facilities, colour coding them based on their use (bright green for public parks, brown for allotments).

For the bigger sites, it lists the location of access points to the green spaces as a helpful green dot.

The map is the latest in a line of releases from the Survey that aim to make its detailed maps more accessible for a digital age.

Last year, it launched a smartphone app, giving would-be walkers more textures and information that your common (or garden) map app might.

The aim is to get people off the couch and outdoors, and science minister Jo Johnson said that the latest map would "make it easier for people across the country to access greenspaces and lead healthier lives".

The Survey is also releasing a freely available dataset, OS Open Greenspace, which will become part of the Ordnance Survey's Open Data portfolio.

The dataset will be updated every six months, and the product can be downloaded in 100km sq tiles to allow people to easily locate and use just the area of interest. The technical specifications for the dataset can be found here (PDF).

CEO Nigel Clifford said he was "excited to see how people experiment and work with the data" and looks forward "to seeing new products and services to help encourage an active Great Britain".

There's also a public sector version of the greenspace map, called the MasterMap, which contains the location of all publicly accessible and non-accessible green spaces.

The Survey said that giving the public sector accurate and up-to-date geospatial data would improve planning, analysis and decision-making.

"It is hoped the dataset will prove instrumental in helping the public sector create and manage health and wellbeing strategies, active travel plans and various environmental initiatives that include air quality, biodiversity, housing regeneration and flood resilience," the agency said. ®

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