OS INSPIRE licence release explained

By Laura on August 16, 2013. Categorised in INSPIRE requirements

With much build up, the new OS INSPIRE licences have been released. So, what do we think?

Well not a lot really.

The whole idea of INSPIRE was to make it easier for government organisations and their associated supporting bodies and contractors to understand the environment through better access to data.  This would require:

  • A directory – We have Data.Gov.uk and it’s actually a very good site
  • A list of datasets to share – Nearly there but not quite
  • The rights to share – This is where the new contracts completely miss

If I were to sit in my backroom on a Saturday night and idly wonder what land was being used for commercial development in Scunthorpe, then the new Public Sector End User Licence – INSPIRE would be perfect.  It now has click to agree terms so I can quickly connect to a WFS and revel in this new access to data.  If, however, I were to go to work on Monday and try to use this information to help Scunthorpe of its surrounding area then this licence is of no use.   It is for exclusively:

 “personal, non-commercial use only (for the avoidance of doubt,
this excludes use by you internally within your business).”

So we are back where we always have been.  If you are a body that INSPIRE was designed for and you go to Data.Gov.uk to access OS derived data you must fulfill one of the following:

  • Be a PSMA member and provide adequate proof to the Licensor that you are so
  • Be a contractor and have a Contractor Licence in place
  • Have a current licence to the underlying data in place and be able to prove this to the Licensor

None of these requirements are particularly practical.  Our DataPublisher service has a great capability to enable this licensing information to be exchanged but I must say that I really wish we hadn’t have had to build it.

One Comment

  • Andrew
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    3 quick points:

    First acceptance – users can be deemed to accept the licence by using the data, so no “click” is required.

    Second PSMA members don’t have to maintain records of who takes the data or ensure they are not miss using it, shifting the responsibility for complying on to the end users.

    These factors remove the need for complex rights management and logins and allow derived data to be published through “open” web services.

    Finally, whilst the licence does restrict use to non-commercial etc these changes still represent a big step forwards, particulry when you consider we started at a point where little or no derived data could be published without horridly complex licences and admin.

    It’ll be interesting to see how these new licences perform and what people do with the data that’s made available under them.