The world of online mapping frameworks moves apace! Now, even the monolithic mapping organisation, the Ordnance Survey, is involved. In July, they launched OS Open Zoomstack, providing vector tiles of their open data themes. The OS is acknowledged as having the most complete and detailed national mapping of any country world-wide, and we are gaining ever more access to this enormously rich data set.
This isn’t a review but simply a little pointer for those that are fully engaged in online mapping frameworks looking for an alternative to OpenStreetMap. The OS has already made sure that the vector tiles work with ArcGIS, QGIS, Mapbox, kepler.gl and Illustreets. Different colour schemes are available, as we see in other frameworks. Above is the Outdoor colourway; below, the Night scheme. There is a pseudo-3D look that can be invoked by tilting the map, but all buildings are the same height and the terrain is flat. The ability to reflect reality here could be a game-changer, though we’ve already had a taste of that in the previously released OS Maps app.
It’s not perfect, but at present the OS is only running this as a trial. Even so, this is a welcome and very significant addition to a fast growing and evolving environment of online mapping tools. Even more significantly, the OS is using this as testbed for the delivery of Open MasterMap — it’s flagship product.