The funding councils and Ordnance Survey, Britain's national mapping agency, have struck a deal that will make digital map data available in higher education institutions.
The council's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) says it will be investing significantly to ensure the data will be supplied online efficiently, securely and in a user-friendly way. JISC subscription fees for the new service will range from Pounds 1,750 per annum for small institutions to Pounds 4,750 per annum for large institutions.
The OS data covered by the agreement has been selected following extensive consultations with the higher education community. It will include "Land-Line" data depicting man-made and natural features ranging from houses and factories, roads and rivers, to marshland and administrative boundaries. This element of the agreement provides for 30 per cent of national coverage - the equivalent of 70,000 highly detailed maps.
"Meridian", a medium-scale dataset, will offer full national coverage of the road network, main passenger railways, stations, county districts, developed areas and place names. There will also be full national coverage of OS data on water features, cities, towns, woods; contours and terrain at 1:50,000 scale; and a place-names gazetteer with 258,000 names and national grid references.
Access to the data will be provided by EDINA, the JISC National Data Centre based at Edinburgh University. The service will be introduced in two stages, with an initial service operating from January 2000 and full service scheduled for September 2000. Higher education institutions wanting to register interest in the service should email firstname.lastname@example.org.