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Digital mapping for healthier and greener communities


Ordnance Survey (OS) has published a free interactive digital map identifying accessible recreational and leisure green space in Great Britain, which can be used through the popular leisure planning and map app, OS Maps. This comprehensive map of green spaces is also available as an open dataset for communities and businesses to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.


The Scottish Greenspace Map, released by greenspace scotland and the Scottish Government in 2011, was the first of its kind anywhere in the world. This new OS project updates the Scotland map and extends it to England and Wales, with the aim of making it easier for people to find and access every green corner of Britain’s neighbourhoods, towns and cities.


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 wellbeing 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 CEO, 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, enabling people and families living in urban areas across Great Britain to discover the greenspaces near them. In addition to this, we’re also making the data open and freely available to anyone who can access it and begin experimenting and creating with. I look forward to seeing what people come up with.”


Based on the success of the Scottish Greenspace Map the approach has now been rolled out to the rest Great Britain and OS has taken on responsibility for ensuring the data is kept up to date. The OS Open Greenspace dataset and map has developed in collaboration with a large number of government and non-government organisations partners including the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Commission Scotland, NHS Scotland, Scottish local authorities and the Improvement Service.


Accurately depicted within the dataset is the location and extent of recreational and leisure features and, for larger sites, their access points. Example features included in the data is every public park and garden in Great Britain, every play space, playing field, golf course, tennis court, bowling green, allotment and more.


The dataset is available from OS via or can be viewed via OS Maps.


OS has also produced OS MasterMap (OSMM) Greenspace, a public-sector version of the greenspace map made available through the 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 greenspaces. As well as greenspace initiatives, 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.


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