Does OpenStreetMap use OS OpenData

Does OpenStreetMap use any of the Ordnance Survey’s OpenData?

If it does, is this data imported automatically?

If it doesn’t, is there any reason it can’t be?


Thanks for the link.
It looks as if OS data is not automatically used in OpenStreetMap.

Is there a good reason for this? Surely the quality is good enough? Is it because there is no suitable interface to perform such a batch import?

The data that OS have made available is among many other available sources. Ultimately people updating the map in the UK use all of these sources - some sources are good for some things and some for others.

The data that the OS has made available has got all sorts of issues. It’s great for some things - just taking OS OpenData StreetView as an example, road centreline data’s pretty good, and can be useful to help align other imagery (which is almost always offset a bit). Waterway data’s pretty good provided you know its limits. Building data is “a bit rubbish” and woodland just means “about 40 years ago there might have been some trees here”.

As a more detailed example, look at which I created earlier today. That makes extensive use of OS OpenData StreetView, but you’ll notice that a number of the objects in there have source “Bing” rather than OSSV. That’s because among the foibles of OSSV data is that roadside ditches are drawn in a “cartographically convenient” location away from their actual location so that they show on the resulting OSSV map. Another major problem with OSSV water data is that it can be out of date, though that varies by area. Another again is that all bridges are shown as culverts; some culverts really are culverts, some are not…

… and that’s taking just one feature type from one OS product in one geographical area. Hopefully, you can begin to see the problem.

People have done batch imports of e.g. some of the VectorMap data, but frankly the results are a bit rubbish there too. There’s nothing that can automatically conflate data with what’s already there (and OS’ OpenData is pretty low on detail - often what’s already in OSM will have come from many sources, as mentioned above). For example, the name on comes from a sign on the gate and doesn’t match what the OS show. Probably the OS’ name was correct a few decades ago, but it’s not now.

Thanks very much SomeoneElse for your detailed answers. It make more sense now, that it’s not good to automatically import and risk going backwards in the OSM data quality.

We do use OS OpenData, but not much of it is suitable for an automatic import. The reason is simple: OSM started as an alternative to OS. At that time no OS data was freely available. We therefore already have a great deal of the same data, but it has been independently collected. Our data is, in places, still far more detailed and up to date than the data we currently have available from OS.

Having said that, the converse is also true: in places OS is far more detailed and accurate than anything we could hope to create on our own. Ground water and coastal features are a notable example. This useful data is being gradually integrated with OSM, but it’s a manual process. It’s integration, not importing. If you are prepared to take the time and integrate the data with current OSM data then it is very welcome.

It’s great to see this little discussion here. I’m a recent addition to the mapping team in the Netherlands, and during my stay in the UK I decided to contribute some days to mapping the UK.
Coming from the Netherlands, where there is very detailed open information available (check, for instance for buildings and addresses) it came as a surprise to find many buildings and addresses not present on the map. I already wondered if their would be an equivalent to the kind of import of data that we do abroad.

I downloaded the Ordnance Survey data and have used it to assist in mapping some buildings and streams, but I found satellite footage to prove a lot more useful and accurate. I came here to find out whether there would be an alternative source of information. Incredible that there isn’t. But it’s even more incredible to know that there are so many areas well mapped in the UK.

Now that I’m back in the Netherlands my main focus will be on improving the map here, but I’ll definitely spend some more time on spots on the map in the UK, considering how much there is still to be added.

Still, I’m wishing you all a good source of data that is freely available to checked and imported.