Opinionist: Ordnance Survey Are Not Our Friends

By Londonist Last edited 203 months ago

Last Updated 10 August 2007

Opinionist: Ordnance Survey Are Not Our Friends

You've seen those adverts for a well known building society, right? – the ones with the annoying chap explaining that it ‘doesn’t work like that’.

Change the building society for the Ordnance Survey (our national mapping agency) and make Google the customer for a farce that has made London the laughing stock of the mapping world.

Fly around Google Earth and you will see 3D models of cities around the world, but fly into London and all you get is a few badly rendered buildings here and there. It's as if London has been wiped off the map in today’s Web 2.0 world, and indeed any hope of a presence has been permanently blighted thanks to the Ordnance Survey.

Londonist has been fortunate enough to see the 3D model of London built by the guys at UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). We've flown around the virtual buildings, some rendered in almost photographic detail. Funded by the Mayor and based on many years of research it was planned to make London a world leader in city-based visualisation.

At least it would have done if it wasn’t for Ordnance Survey, who have refused to license the data so it can be seen by the public:

Google - Can we publish the Virtual London model from the guys at CASA? We’ll pay, and even put on your logo so that you get the credit.

Ordnance Survey – Doesn’t work like that.

Google – OK how does it work? Lets find a way around this, after all it is in the public’s interest and what with the Olympics coming up…

Ordnance Survey – Doesn’t work like that.

And so supposedly it went on until negotiations came to a halt. Ordnance Survey issued a full convoluted statement that basically can be summed up as ‘doesn’t work like that’ whereas Google merely issued the statement ‘disappointed’.

Well done guys!

You can read the full story on the Digital Urban blog.