Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Letter to Ordnance Survey re mapping on my blog

I have sent the following letter to Ordnance Survey hoping they can clarify my legal position:

Dear Sirs,

I have recently completed a 1,687 miles walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats, from March to June of this year.

I did the walk in aid of Sue Ryder Care and have so far raised £6,300.00 for this worth-while cause. In order to raise the profile of the walk and help with my fund-raising, I started a blog in October 2006 and wrote about my preparations. I continued the blog whilst on the walk itself using a very small handheld computer and my mobile phone.

I managed to increase awareness and readability by posting photographs to the blog, in order to sustain interest.

I made my way through Britain by using my Anquet maps, 1:50,000 scale, purchased especially for the walk, printed out onto A4 pieces of paper.

Well, I am now back at home and I wish to transform my blog to a more permanent website, so that Sue Ryder Care can continue to have a high profile amongst the outdoor community and also for the website to promote others to do as I have done and get out there and do a Big Walk for Charity.

One of the key things I want my website to show is the route I took on my Big Walk.

I would like to show each daily walk at 1:50,000 for the entire length of my trip; that is 103 days of walking (I took 16 rest days on the walk).

I am somewhat confused as to whether or not I need a license to display this mapping on my intended website.

I did not purchase the maps from Ordnance Survey – I bought them from an Anquet Maps re-seller.
This intended website will carry no advertising.
The intended website will not make any money for me or others.
I am a private individual, not a business.

I have been in touch by telephone with the OPSI in Norwich and they advised me to get advice from you.

The ePSIplus Thematic Network have been monitoring my dilemma (as discussed on my blog) and are very interested in your response.

Please could you advise me as to whether or not I need a license?

Thank you

Best regards

Alan Sloman


  1. Well I have had an 'automatic response' from Ordnance Survey - See below:

    "Thank you for your email which has been received by Ordnance Survey.
    This is an automatic response confirming receipt of your communication.
    Please do not respond.

    Our aim is to provide a full response to all enquiries within a maximum of 15 working days. We will endeavour to resolve your enquiry as soon as we possibly can."

    So, they need fifteen working days to answer a simple question.

    This does not auger well, does it?

    Well let's see if they can outperform this pretty poor promise.

  2. Go on Alan, "sock it to em"


  3. Alan were you aware of the new 'Explore' feature on the OS website? It allows you to enter your own walks as a route map for others to view.

    If you case you could create one long route, or break it down into days, and then hyperlink to it from your site.

    That way you would get around any issues of displaying the actual map on your site, when it would be on theres. Just like YouTube, you just link to it and the whole thing will come up clearly on there website. Plus you get the opportunity to add photos to it and various other comments.

    Just a thought. I have a podzine interview with them going live next Monday.

  4. Hi Bob

    The problem with it though is that you are looking at a piece of countryside about 4.5km square - its like taking a trip round a house by looking through the letterbox.

    So - It appears to be a good resource for a little walk, but for what I need it's not up to it.

    It's a nice start but it is still very disappointing.

    I shall look forward to your Podcast, Bob

    All the best to you

  5. I found it difficult enough obtaining necessary permissions to transfer my Anquet and OSi software to another computer when I upgraded, so I wish you well in your somewhat more ambitious quest ;)


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