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Building a standard in visualisation of our web-based map products

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Tuesday, February 5th 2013


Ordnance Survey has developed and released a full set of style sheets for all its vector products, including OS MasterMap Topography Layer and OS VectorMap Local. The new style sheets will help customers and partners reduce the time and resource needed to properly apply cartographic styling for web and GIS visualisation. Made available under an open licence, Styled Layer Descriptors (SLD’s) are commonly used in conjunction with a web server to style data for a web map service (WMS) and have been developed in an open structured format that will easily enable conversion to desktop GIS readable style sheets. The new style sheets, an addition to the initial release of a set of OS OpenData SLD’s released in December 2012, will make it easier for users to ‘plug in and play’ and build Ordnance Survey maps into their web services or geographical information system (GIS).

The particular style for each product, including points, lines, symbols and colour palette, is the same one as used by Ordnance Survey’s OS OnDemand web map service (WMS). What’s more, there is now a standard process for delivering SLD’s for all new Ordnance Survey products and major version upgrades. For each SLD, care has been taken in the cartographic design to stay faithful to the original vector output where possible, whilst recognising the limitations of raster images and the needs of users

Julian Cooper, Web Service Development Manager at Ordnance Survey said: “Most customers and partners who use our products across a variety of areas, such as asset management, planning, and command and control, want their products to reflect the Ordnance Survey style and feel. Increasingly they need to present our vector products in a suitable raster style, for their Intranet service for example; that can be quite a time consuming process. The style sheets have been developed in response to this requirement, enabling users to efficiently build their own mapping images in the same cartographic design used by Ordnance Survey.” 

By downloading the file, users accept the accompanying licence, essentially granting worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive use of the SLD Code solely in order to style Ordnance Survey datasets.  This will enable customers and partners to freely apply the SLD where an underlying product licence is held. 

 OS OpenData upgrade press release 12 December 2012:

  The product

For each vector product that we put into OS OnDemand WMS, a file containing a styled layer descriptor (SLD) code template, with associated meta data (and for OS MasterMap Topography Layer, additional pseudo code) and readme licence file will be made available for download.

 Access and use

SLD’s can be accessed on Ordnance Survey’s website on the following page:

This page will be linked from each individual product page and the Public Sector News area.Links to SLD’s are also available on the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) home page.

For more information from Ordnance Survey, please contact:

Jo Gray – Senior Press Officer on 023 8005 5589 or

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