Have we already asked Cambridgeshire council to copy from their maps?

Asking this since 1, OSM very much looks to have a notable presence in Cambridge itself including its historical significance to OSM and 2, I am very much new to OSM and have little confidence in my ability to broach & negotiate the idea of licencing the data under the ODbL compatible OGL license.

As shown in the link below their map has loads of details if you enable them in the layers drop down from individual street lighting, to public rights of way, to addresses [though I remember reading somewhere on their website that they have a possibly more accurate address map if you contact them] and Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) (if that last part is relevant to have on OSM)

All which is at least is mostly under Crown copyright 2022 & 2023 with maybe the exception of some of the toggleable data.


1 Like

The underlying map seems to come from Ordnance Survey so the council cannot grant you rights to use that. No point even asking.

They may be able to grant licence to some of the layers though. We have a national UPRN dataset so no need to request that one. The most useful is probably the rights of way data. This is already available - see Dataset containing the public rights of way of Cambridgeshire

1 Like

Also address data is all tied up with third party rights (Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail) so they won’t be able to grant access to that either. :slightly_frowning_face:

This sort of data needs to be explicitly released under a licence usable with OpenStreetMap: the Open Government Licence is the usual one used by councils in the UK. However as @RobJN says some data may actually either belong to some other body (e.g., Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail) which can complicate the situation.

Some councils have released a lot of datasets, whilst others have only done the bare minimum (usually contracts over a certain value).

I’m lucky in that Nottingham has released a very large number of datasets, ranging from illuminated on-road traffic bollards through to details of all the trees along streets and in parks. So many, in fact, that we have not even tried to use some of them. The ones which have proved useful are:

  • Planning Applications: useful for spotting upcoming changes, following up a newly spotted construction site, or finding addresses.
  • Food Hygiene data: this is a national dataset which we as a UK OSM community have used extensively. Useful for finding businesses which have closed, or have new owners; and for adding hard-to-survey addresses in town centres.
  • Places of Worship: this hasn’t been updated in a few years, but we used it to direct surveys so that we could locate, map and verify these POIs. Very useful because a range of hindu temples, sikh gurdwaras and pentecostal churches are scattered around a large industrial estate.
  • Streetlights: accidentally very useful because the data contains information about which house number is closest. Less useful for OSM because there was a streetlight replacement programme (now completed).

You can see the full list on their website, which gives a feel for what is possible. Note that we have imported scarcely any of this data (the big exception was the phase 2 of Nottingham Tram), mainly using it for validation, directing surveys, or manual assignment of addresses. Experience tells us that data may be inaccurate (often because it’s out of date), so it’s always a good idea to get a proper feel for any quality issues before considering using such data.

The data available (also here) from Cambridgeshire are much more limited. The only one I can see being immediately useful is the council owned land one where it might be a useful thing to cross-check against current OSM mapping. The best approach is to lobby the council to release more data on this portal.

1 Like