The Ordnance Survey Web Map Builder
The UK Cabinet Office Digital Engagement blog that we mentioned when setting up our "weather widget" has recently moved to a new URL and it's now part of the Government Digital Service blog, which proudly proclaims that it is:
Putting the public first in delivering digital public services
It seems the UK Government are as good as their word, since they now provide some of their Ordnance Survey maps free of charge, along with online tools that allow you to use their data to build customised maps and display them on your own blog or website. They've already helped us to work out when the wind is offshore at our local surf spots. Now we've used the web-map builder from the Ordnance Survey's OpenData website to produce a map of the North Cornwall coast, complete with a few surf spots:
The small print associated with using the Government's data keeps on changing too. The latest version is called the Open Government Licence, and here's the OS OpenData version of it. You will note that we are free to:
- Copy, publish, distribute and transmit the information
- Adapt the information
- Exploit the information commercially
as long as we make sure to include the copyright notice visible at the bottom of the map as well as the link above, and abide by a list of restrictions. The only additional complication is that in order to save the map you see above, and then display it on this page, we first had to register this blog with the OpenData website and part with a name and email address to obtain an "API key".
That all seems straightforward enough so far, doesn't it? Unfortunately there is one more step we've left out. You need to be something of a techie in order to make sure that the code the Ordnance Survey provides you with is cut and pasted into just the right place(s) in the innards of your blog or website. That process differs from one type of blog to another, and we're going to leave step by step instructions on how to achieve that until another day.