Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland

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The Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland is a government body which prepares maps for Northern Ireland. In Great Britain and the Isle of Man, the same task is undertaken by the Ordnance Survey.

Its origin and that of Ordnance Survey Ireland the equivalent Irish government body, is with the Ordnance Survey which was once seamless across the British Isles and so the three share one history until the 1920s.

Northern Ireland is mapped using the Irish Grid. The Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland works closely with the Ordnance Survey of Ireland to ensure consistency. Many maps inevitably cross the border and are perforce drawn with shared data between the two.


The Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland exists as part of Land and Property Services Northern Ireland, an executive agency of the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel, along with the Rate Collection Agency, the Valuation and Lands Agency, and the Land Registry.


The vast majority of OSNI's income came from the licensing of its digital mapping data, which, because of the long history of mapping in Ireland is amongst the most detailed and comprehensive in the world.

Digital material ranges from the Large Scale (1:1250 urban and 1:2500 rural) vector database, 1:10,000 raster mapping derived automatically from the L/S vector, 1:50,000 and 1:250,00 vectors, 1;10,000 orthophotography, 1:25,000 leisure maps, the 1:50,000 raster series, 1:250,000 Ireland North raster, street maps of the main conurbations, as well as paper derivatives of all the raster mapping.

In 2005 OSNI began, with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), to digitize the complete set of historical maps dating back to the 1830s. (The earliest comprehensive and accurately surveyed large scale mapping in the world). These are being georectified to match modern mapping projections and are being annotated with points of interest from PRONI's archives.

Supporting the interconnectivity of Geographical Information (GI) for the benefit of the Northern Ireland economy, society and administration was OSNI's primary purpose. In support of this, OSNI also provides the secretariat for Mosaic, the GI strategy for Northern Ireland, which is the first such strategy to be implemented in the UK. In support of Mosaic, OSNI is currently (2006) building a GeoHub for the region, which will be able to host and connect to spatial data from multiple sources, permit a metadata (data about the data) search and, using thin client browser applications, via the Internet, permit multiple data layers to be interrogated, connected, analysed, licensed, downloaded, uploaded and updated.

Starting in Spring 2006, OSNI's own full range is available by way of a map-enabled e-commerce website.

See also

Outside links