UK postcode data to be set free in 2010

A few years ago, we told you about the awesome looking Virtual London project. CASA (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) had built a massive 3.3 million 3D model collection of London, which was intended for Google Earth. All of the buildings were gray, but they were in the process of photo-texturing them for added realism.
However, the project came to an abrupt halt when the UK government refused to grant them a license to use the data in Google Earth. Here’s a video they created a few years ago showing what they had built so far:

Now it seems the project may have a chance. According to an article on BBC News (thanks Will for the tip), the government is planning to make the postcode data free for use in April 2010. In particular, it says “…making Ordnance Survey mapping and postcode datasets available for free reuse from April 2010.” (emphasis ours).
We’ll find out for sure in April, but this seems to be a very positive development.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. More specifically, the key to our problems in the UK is that the Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency, is set up by the Government to trade under restrictive licences in geographical information, much of it collected at public expense and then sold back to publicly funded users – a needless and constraining money go round.
    It has long been a main target of the Free Our Data campaign
    Hopefully conditions will chamge in 2010, and develpments like the excellent CASA Virtual London can be released. But any change is only at the stage of consultation. There will be an election soon, and public spending will be slashed, so we are not holding our breath.

  2. Skape (Infoterra) have a pretty cool for-fee London model. You can see a fly-through here…

  3. There’s some pretty neat textured stuff around at the moment – here’s one from the CASA blog:

  4. Johny Adams says:

    Google API free does not have a UK license for postcodes hence the accuracy of using Google maps for store Locators is very poor. They also cannot Geocode Ireland, Developers and agency’s have awful get rounds which often show US towns instead of UK as only based on the first 4 digits of a postcode.
    In all, no professional would use Google as there are specialists such as Bing and ViaMichelin would have the full kit available for business’s

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