Unlocking the Power of OS MasterMap®: A Comprehensive Guide

In today's data-driven world, accurate and up-to-date geospatial information is paramount for effective decision-making and planning. One of the most valuable tools available to professionals in the field is OS MasterMap®, a comprehensive and highly detailed mapping database created by Ordnance Survey (OS) in the United Kingdom. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of OS MasterMap®, exploring its features, applications, and the benefits it offers across various industries. 

What is OS MasterMap®?

OS MasterMap® is a national topographic database that provides detailed and accurate geographic information about Great Britain. It covers a wide range of features, including buildings, roads, land use, terrain, and much more. The database is continually updated and maintained by Ordnance Survey, ensuring that users have access to the most current and reliable information available. 

Key Features and Data Layers: OS MasterMap consists of several interconnected data layers, each offering unique insights and valuable information: 

  1. OS MasterMap Topography Layer®: This is the definitive view of Great Britain's physical landscape surveyed at 1:1250 and 1:2500 scales. It is a digital representation of real-world features and intangible objects such as administrative boundaries, each with a topographic identifier (TOID) for easy linking with other datasets. The product provides a visual context for location intelligence and decision-making concerning assets, services and environmental risks and is the approved dataset for planning applications and land registration.  The database is updated continually by Ordnance Survey, ensuring users have access to the most current and reliable information available. Building heights is an enhancement to the layer which enables 3D visualisation in urban areas. 

  2. OS MasterMap Highways®: Provides road network and connectivity across GB at 1:1250 to 1:10,000 scale. It also provides routing information, vehicle restrictions, access, and other physical characteristics as well as information about planned roads and roads under construction. This layer is designed to work with OS MasterMap Topography and Ordnance Survey’s AddressBase products. 
  3. Imagery Layer: OS MasterMap also has a high-resolution aerial imagery layer captured at 25cm resolution. It is designed to be used together with other OS MasterMap layers to provide additional, visual detail of the landscape, urban environments and features such as road markings, tree canopies and roof-top solar panels. 

  4. OS MasterMap Water Network®: This layer gives detailed information about the waterways and associated features such as bridges, tunnels and aqueducts at 1:1250 to 1:10,000 scale in GB.  It provides a detailed centre line for each water way with heights, lengths, and widths plus direction of flow.  It also identifies the source of watercourses and the points where different watercourses meet. OSMM Water Network is particularly useful for planners, surveyors, environmental consultants, and engineering consultants. 

  5. OS MasterMap Sites Layer®: This layer groups collections of real-world features into seven themes (Air Transport, Education, Medical Care, Rail Transport, Road Transport, Water Transport, Utility/Industrial).  Each theme provides detail about site names and function, access points and routing for proximity and emergency response planning, urban planning, land management and property development. 



Image: OS Mastermap Highways Network Roads

Applications of OS MasterMap: The versatility of OS MasterMap makes it a valuable resource across various industries

  1. Urban Planning and Development: OS MasterMap assists planners and developers in visualising land use patterns, infrastructure requirements, and transportation networks. It aids in designing sustainable cities and supporting effective decision-making in urban development projects. Use of OS MasterMap often helps minimise the requirement for site visits. 

  2. Emergency Services: Accurate highways information from enables emergency services to respond swiftly and precisely to incidents. It plays a crucial role in emergency planning, dispatching resources, and ensuring public safety. 

  3. Environmental Management: From identifying flood-prone areas to assessing ecological impact, OS MasterMap supports environmental management initiatives. It provides valuable data for conservation efforts, land-use planning, and monitoring the impact of development on natural resources. 

  4. Utilities and Infrastructure: Utility companies rely on OS MasterMap to locate and maintain their assets accurately. The detailed network information enables effective planning, maintenance, and expansion of utility infrastructure, including electricity, water, gas, and telecommunications. 

  5. Transportation and Logistics: OS MasterMap aids in optimising transportation routes, managing traffic congestion, and planning efficient logistics operations. It assists in urban mobility planning, intelligent transportation systems, and route optimisation for various modes of transport. 

Benefits of OS MasterMap: The utilisation of OS MasterMap offers several advantages: 

Accuracy and Reliability: The data within OS MasterMap is meticulously surveyed and regularly updated, providing a high degree of accuracy and reliability. This ensures informed decision-making and reduces the risk of errors and delays. 

Improved Efficiency: The detailed information contained within OS MasterMap, alongside its comprehensive coverage, enhances operational efficiency across multiple sectors. Whether it's site selection, asset management, or emergency response, access to reliable geospatial data streamlines processes and saves time. 

Enhanced Collaboration: OS MasterMap serves as a common reference point for professionals working across different disciplines. Its integration into GIS platforms fosters collaboration and enables seamless sharing 

View our OS MasterMap products here.

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