The Ordnance Survey, producers and purveyors of the maps most of us use, has had a rap on the knuckles.
It’s not for leaving their maps without revision for years, or spelling Gaelic names wrong. Rather, it’s for being slow and anti-competitive in its dealings with a company called Intelligent Addressing, which works with local authorities in building accurate databases of addresses throughout the United Kingdom.
It’s all a bit esoteric and, quite frankly soporific, but if you’re having trouble sleeping during these hot nights, you can read the full report of the Office of Public Sector Information here.
The case, the findings of which the Ordnance Survey says it is considering appealing against, centres on the fact that the OS is an arms-length Government commercial agency or Trading Fund in Whitehall-speak, and must follow certain rules when dealing with people and bodies that use its information. OPSI says the naughty mapmakers haven’t been doing that and have six months to comply, or else…
Meanwhile, the OS director general and chief executive Vanessa Lawrence has been debating whether information, such as that held by her organisation, should be available to the public at low cost. The lecture, instigated by The Guardian newspaper, which is campaigning to free public information, was attended by 200 worthies. Now, where is that light switch?