A Government initiative to make it easier for people to locate and access greenspaces has launched with the release of a new database and interactive digital map identifying accessible recreational and leisure greenspace in Great Britain. Delivered by Ordnance Survey (OS), the free map contains data from OS and other sources, and can be used immediately, for free, through the popular leisure mapping app and online service, OS Maps. This comprehensive map of Great Britain’s greenspaces is also available as an open dataset, called OS Open Greenspace, for communities, businesses and developers to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.
OS CEO, Nigel Clifford, says: “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 greenspaces 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.”
Since the Greenspace map was reaffirmed as a commitment in 2015, OS has worked in collaboration with a large number of Non-Government Organisations and Government partners to compile the OS Open Greenspace dataset and digital map. 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 in Great Britain, every play space, playing field, golf course, public garden, bowling green, allotment and more.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Greenspaces are a vital part of our landscape and this new database and online map will make it easier for people across the country to access greenspaces and lead healthier lives. With the completion of this mapping project, we have delivered on an important commitment and shown yet again how innovation can improve everyday lives.”
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 & 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 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 greenspaces.
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.