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Green spaces data release to allow app development

Ordnance Survey is to compile and release data on publicly accessible green spaces for free.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg says the move will allow development of software and apps to help people enjoy every corner of the countryside.

The plans will see a new map created of every publicly accessible green space in England and Wales and will allow anyone with internet access to find the location of their nearest park.

The map will use data from Ordnance Survey and other sources, which will be made available for free to developers in the hopes they will come up with new and innovative ways of using and displaying the data. Some examples of potential uses are apps tracing cycle paths through parks or linking with property information to help people decide where they want to live.  

Clegg said: “Britain’s parks and countryside are the envy of the world, and I want to make sure everybody can use them. Sometimes we can live ten minutes’ walk from a park and not even realise it. Yet public bodies hold all of the data on where these green spaces are. By opening up this data we can enable thousands of people to enjoy every inch of our green spaces at the swipe of a touchscreen. With Britain’s innovative app developers given access to the data, we can help make sure you can always find your way back to nature.”

John Kimmance, Ordnance Survey public sector director, said: “This is an exciting project which we are pleased to be working with. Ordnance Survey data contains a vast range of geographic features from which we will be able to identify the boundaries and officially classify all of the publicly accessible green spaces in England and Wales.

“We are also pleased that this dataset will be available as Open Data. Today, developers and businesses can access a range of Ordnance Survey products and datasets via OS OpenData and it is great that we will be able to offer this new dataset to the popular suite of freely accessible products.”

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