Roadmap to Riches

Heather Tomlinson sees Ordnance Survey's plans take a digital direction
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ordnance Survey, the government-owned map company, is branching out and launching an array of digital products for business customers.

Ordnance Survey, the government-owned map company, is branching out and launching an array of digital products for business customers.

It has already signed a deal with "3", the third-generation mobile company, to offer a service that lets mobile users pinpoint their location wherever they are in the country. Ordnance Survey is hoping to sell to retailers, the banking industry and transport companies. It is discussing deals with Tesco.com, Royal & SunAlliance and QinetiQ, the scientific agency part-owned by the Government.

At present, the maps are detailed enough to show individual buildings and addresses, and therefore give the location of a business. But Ordnance Survey wants to include more detail, such as garages, schools and ATM machines, as well as the size of gardens.

"The maps can help companies with questions about customers, or tell them how to get somewhere, or be used for planning purposes," said James Brayshaw, Ordnance Survey's director of digital brands. "We are looking at geographical data as a way of supporting business."

For the banking and insurance industry, he said the data could help identify areas at risk of flooding. Retailers might use the maps to plan new stores, to find out more about an area, and for transport and logistics.

Ordnance Survey had to scrap flotation plans last year. Its latest accounts show turn-over of £102m but it lost £6.4m thanks to investment in IT. It has already invested £17m in the new digital products.

The government-owned status of Ordnance Survey has prompted complaints from a rival, Getmapping. The two companies have been locked in a legal wrangle after Get-mapping accused Ordnance Survey of abusing its dominant position in the map industry.

Comments