Ordnance Survey Greenspace Map now covers whole of Britain

Ordnance Survey (OS) has completed its mapping of parks and green spaces across mainland Britain, following the successful model established by Greenspace Scotland and the Scottish Government in 2011.

Greenspace Map participants including Greenspace Scotland chief executive Julie Procter
Greenspace Map participants including Greenspace Scotland chief executive Julie Procter

The free map can be viewed online or through the OS Maps app and OS is also making its dataset, OS Open Greenspace available for communities, businesses and developers to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.

OS has also produced OS MasterMap (OSMM) Greenspace, a public-sector version of the Greenspace map made available through the Public-Sector Mapping Agreement and One Scotland Mapping Agreement. Aimed at giving the public sector accurate and up-to-date geospatial data to improve planning, analysis and decision making, OSMM Greenspace contains the location of all publicly accessible and non-accessible green spaces.

It is hoped the dataset will prove instrumental in helping the public sector create and manage health and wellbeing strategies, active travel plans and various environmental initiatives that include air quality, biodiversity, housing regeneration and flood resilience.

The national map is based on The Scottish Greenspace Map, which was the first of its kind in the world when it was created in 2011. The map has been extended to England and Wales and will be welcomed by those in the parks sector who have been crying out for more data on parks and green spaces for some years.

Scotland’s Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart, said: "It is great to see Scotland leading the way on this. These free, up-to-date, comprehensive maps of accessible green space allow everyone to see where to go to enjoy our wonderful outdoors.

"Evidence shows that improving access to local green space benefits physical health, mental well-being and provides social opportunities. The Greenspace Map helps identify where there is a‎ lack of open space so local authorities, public sector partners and community groups can develop plans to develop and improve these areas within local neighbourhoods.

"These maps provide the cornerstone for open space strategies and green network plans, as well as supporting ground-breaking academic research on green space and health."

OS chief executive Nigel Clifford, said: "Geospatial data can transform Governments, businesses and communities for the better. We see that through our work in Great Britain and internationally, and we’re excited to be one of those at the forefront leading this and making contributions of consequence and benefit.

"I’m particularly proud of this product as it delivers valuable information to the public, via OS Maps, enabling people and families across Great Britain to discover the green spaces near them. In addition to this, we’re also releasing OS Open Greenspace, providing a freely available dataset for anyone to access. I am excited to see how people experiment and work with the data and look forward to seeing new products and services to help encourage an active Great Britain."

However The Open Spaces Society has criticised the map, saying that it fails to map all the available open land, such as common land, but does map some green space which is private, for example golf clubs and the grounds of private schools.  

Society case officer Hugh Craddock, said: ‘We welcome progress towards making open space more visible, accessible and attractive to all. But the new green space data are more likely to confuse than clarify."

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