Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by The Geological Society (OS 23)

  1.  The Society's evidence focuses on those issues with a direct geological context. The Society recognises that there are a number of other matters of significance but notes that these fall outside its area of professional coverage.

  2.  It is in the national interest to maximise the use of Ordnance Survey maps and data in research and education. This is particularly true in respect of research and survey in geology, ecology and environmental sciences for example, in the interest of meeting UK sustainability targets. Also, in respect of education, ensuring that the next generation is spatially aware, as well as numerate and literate, and be able to work with maps.

  3.  Much information that is freely available abroad at little or no cost (eg via NASA, USA), is more expensive here in the UK, thus disadvantaging UK citizens unreasonably. Any increase in costs, will serve only to increase this disadvantage.

  4.  The distinction between academic and commercial use needs to be recognised. The Society would like to press hard for continuing special treatment for both education and research when it comes to the acquisition of maps and plans.

  5.  It should be noted that changes in pricing structure in relation to copyright charging and the provision of maps etc that would result in higher charges and more complex licensing, will have considerable implications for all universities, colleges, schools and libraries that use or provide maps for training or research.

  6.  Also, much scientific research is carried out by individuals (some of whom are amateurs) and single copies for personal use should not carry any charge for crown copyright or require the complexity of licensing.

  7.  When teaching geology at university, for example, we expect students to be able to work with individual maps on field trips. A rise in costs, would result in either a significant increase in the cost of the degree, or a significant reduction in the practical teaching of the subject. This would be of very serious concern for anyone involved in education.

  8.  Also, if exposure to Ordnance Survey products is reduced, students may be less likely to feel the need to purchase such materials when they have moved on to employment.

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