Ordnance Survey open data: economic value study (2013)


The study evaluates the economic effects and benefits of open data produced by Ordnance Survey.

Geographical scope

Great Britain

Non-quantified impacts

The change in policy to provide OS OpenData free at the point of delivery is argued by the study to be a specific form of implementation of a wider policy of marginal cost pricing. This is argued to be a “first best” option that avoids the need for segmented or structured pricing frameworks.

The results of the CGE modelling demonstrate an improved level of productivity in the economy, and higher overall levels of output, directly attributable to making OS OpenData free at the point of delivery.

However, it important to recognise that the analysis assumes that Government will continue to fund the organisation to ensure that it can meet its responsibilities to maintain and this data to ensure it continues to have value for the users.

Quantifiable impacts

The study estimates that the OS OpenData initiative will deliver a net GBP 13.0 million – GBP 28.5 million increase in GDP in 2016.  The main components of this increase are net productivity gains (GBP 8.1 million – GBP 18.2 million) and additional real tax revenues (GBP 4.4 million – GBP 8.3 million).

The increase is also net of GBP 3.7 million per annum, applied as a negative shock to GB exports, to account for OS OpenData being integrated into products of companies paying taxes abroad. Despite the fact that GB loses this export income, overall the value of exports to the economy increases by GBP 6.1 million – GBP 10.3 million as other sectors of the economy expand.

Another important metric is the increase in real national disposable income (real GNP) in the range GBP 10.2 million – GBP 24.1 million by 2016.  This is an indication of the increase in economic welfare for British society as a whole.



Study type

Economic modelling and case studies

Economy sector

Water, Infrastructure (Transport), Infrastructure (ICT), Infrastructure (Energy), Health, Tourism, Public Safety and Security, Retail, Insurance