Ordnance Survey launches the ‘ultimate’ road map for the UK


UK mapping agency Ordnance Survey (OS) has created what it describes as ‘the ultimate and authoritative road and transport management product’, OS MasterMap Highways Network, to support street works planning and notification, and to help professionals make informed decisions with asset management and route planning.

In one single data source, OS now provides the essential facts about the physical dimensions, accessibility, and ownership of roads and paths, and who is responsible for maintaining them. This includes current and future roads under construction, and a complete turn-by-turn, navigable road network of the UK. The MasterMap includes full geometry and connectivity for use in routing software systems, and in preparation for the telematics requirements for driverless cars. This has been achieved by enhancing and integrating OS’s high quality and accurate road network with expert external data provided by 174 local highway authorities, gathered and quality assured by GeoPlace LLP, a partnership between the Local Government Association and OS.

To create the MasterMap, OS also consulted with organizations from across the public sector and with utility companies. The detail-rich product is the result of a £3m (US$3.7m) investment by the Department for Transport (DfT), made in 2014, for OS to develop the road and transport information that will help improve planning and maintenance, and ensure traffic across the country keeps moving efficiently and safely.

The key features of MasterMap Highways Network are:

• Road Routing Information – direction of travel, access restrictions, road closures, width, weight restrictions;

• Physical road information – maintenance responsibility, official name and number, access points, motorway junctions;

• Updated every four weeks;

• Essential DfT information – road classification number, trunk road attribute, line length attribute;

• Road name, road type e.g. motorway, A, B, C and minor;

• Linked to the address;

• Road and path networks;

• Bridges and tunnels.

“The aim of our collaboration with the public sector and utilities has been to simplify their lives with a complete picture. To help them increase their productivity and profitability, and to drive their efficiencies through better decision making made on the back of one single source for current and accurate data that is relevant to their needs. Having this information in one package should also reduce their costs associated with maintaining multiple datasets,” explained Mark Le Page, products manager at OS.

“MasterMap Highways Network has many uses. It can help emergency services find the most effective routes when responding to 999 calls. It enables utility companies to reduce costs by allowing them to plan their road operations at a desk, reducing the number of on-site surveys, and minimize any disruption to traffic flow caused by their works. The data can also be used as part of route planning, and in terms of logistics, haulage and delivery firms, this up-to-date information will help them make more informed and accurate decisions.”

UK roads minister Andrew Jones said, “This new and innovative digital map will help local authorities and utilities companies better plan how to route traffic and keep it moving during roadworks, minimizing disruption and cutting unnecessary delays to motorists.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).