Use of Google Maps

Ordnance Survey Data must not be used to display any location (such as HCC sites, facilities or service delivery points) using Google Maps.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) is a member of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). Most of the council's spatial data (GIS data) is dervived from Ordnance Survey (OS) maps and contains OS intellectual property protected by Crown copyright. The current terms of use for OS Licenced Data does not allow its use in Google Maps.

We have received unambiguous advice from Ordnance Survey this is the case, and is due to a conflict between the terms of the OS data licence(s) and the Google Terms of Service, specifically the section 'Your Content in our Services'.

Because HCC does not own the intellectual property which belongs to OS, HCC does not have the legal right to “give Google … a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works" as required by the Google terms of service. Note that Google require service users to “Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services” and OS require licensees to “determine whether any terms you are signing up to with your chosen 3rd party’s API service are compatible with your licence with us”.

Allowing data containing OS licenced data to appear on Google Maps breaches both Google terms of service and Crown copyright (which would leave HCC liable to the withdrawal of business critical OS data and copyright licences). For the avoidance of doubt this applies to map features directly copied from, or based upon OS licenced data (i.e. derived data).

This situation may change in future if, for example, Google change their terms of service. However, it seems highly unlikely that OS will alter their own position, since they have vigorously defended their intellectual rights in the past (with action in the High Court in some cases) and have a highly entrenched position.

OS have clarified their position regarding OS OpenData™ following negotiation with Google; use of OS Opendata™ is now allowed in Google Maps.