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ASCOT.BMP Agreement between OS and SHS

Updated 0930 Wednesday 28th November 2007


This page is primarily for use by staff from UK Ordnance Survey who need to know the detailed background relating to an agreement for use of the ASCOT.BMP sample of 1:50,000 scale mapping within GPSS, the GPS Software from Sunninghill Systems. The agreement has been in place since before GPSS was first released in 1995. The information on this page has been in the Public Domain since August 2002 and occasionally gets updated with footnotes. The last of these, at the bottom, was November 2007. In summary: no changes have been made to the agreement and none are expected in the near future. I will however be happy to consider any new offer made by Ordnance Survey.

Robin Lovelock, Sunninghill Systems.
November 2007.

from August 2002 ...

Robin I am most grateful to UK Ordnance Survey for use of the small ASCOT.BMP sample of 1:50,000 scale mapping which, with other mapping, has supported part of the GPSS Baseline demonstrations since GPSS was first released in 1995.

This page has been set up to document changes, now being made in GPSS v5.4, which relate to ASCOT.BMP. These changes, already implemented on the OLDNEW pre-release GPSS.EXE page, determine how the ASCOT.BMP map copyright is acknowledged and related OS mapping promoted. After testing, these changes will be incorporated within the next GPSS Baseline.

During 2002 over 24 letters have been exchanged between OS, myself and solicitors, and good progress has been made resulting in OSAG1v2 dated 12th August. The italic text below is self-explanatory. Both OS and myself are happy with the text of this (unsigned) agreement, but the main obstacle to the agreement being signed and implemented has been the classification of the document: OS wished it to be classified and subject to the UK Official Secrets Act: my position, as author, is that this classification is inappropriate.

All copies of GPSS since 1995 have complied with the SHS understanding of the 1995 agreement. If OSAG1v2 is signed at some future date, then GPSS will be updated to include the "new agreement" text below. However, while this agreement is still not signed, GPSS v5.4 and later versions of GPSS that include ASCOT.BMP, will display the text below which conforms to the OS understanding of the old 1995 agreement. This change is without prejudice to the SHS understanding of the 1995 agreement and related rights which are fully retained. I am making this change now in the hope that it will reduce the need for further correspondence on this matter. The change in GPSS.EXE is such that further changes can be implemented simply by a change to the ASCOT.CPR file.

Robin Lovelock

August 2002

The following text is from the unsigned agreement ref. OSAG1v2 dated 12th August 2002 :

This 2002 agreement, if signed and dated by both parties before 1st September 2002, replaces the old 1995 agreement between Ordnance Survey (OS), of Romsey Road, Southampton, SO16 4GU, UK, and Sunninghill Systems of 22 Armitage Court, Sunninghill SL5 9TA (SHS), on use of the ASCOT.BMP image within GPSS.

The Old 1995 Agreement: OS and SHS understand that there has been an agreement in place since 1995, where the ASCOT.BMP sample of OS 1:50,000 scale mapping could be included within copies of GPSS, the GPS Software, in exchange for suitable copyright statements and promotional text being displayed by the same software. It was recognised in 2002 that OS and SHS have different understandings of the details:

SHS understand that the 1995 agreement required two statements within the software: a) a transitory statement, appearing for a few seconds when the ASCOT.BMP image appeared: "Based upon the 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey 1994 Colour Raster product with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationary Office. © Crown Copyright." b) a more detailed statement, within the GPSS.TXT on-line help : "The 1:50,000 Landranger Colour Raster Product is supplied as part of a Collaborative Venture between Ordnance Survey and MR Data Graphics. An additional service of supplying in Greyscale is available. For further information contact - MR Data Graphics - Help Line 01642 750515."

OS understand that there was only a requirement for a permanently displayed detailed statement as follows: "the sample extract of Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 colour raster mapping has been included to demonstrate the benefits of this scale of mapping. For further details contact MR-Data Graphics Tel 01642 750515."

The New 2002 Agreement: GPSS shall permanently display the text: "The 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster product is supplied by Ordnance Survey. © Crown Copyright. For further information contact - Ordnance Survey HelpLine 08456 050505 or email" whenever the ASCOT.BMP image is displayed, with text in a similar size, colour and font as in OSLITIG9 10 July 2002. Nothing will appear in the on-line help.

OS may provide, by email and letter, revisions to this text, SHS shall include these within future releases of GPSS that include ASCOT.BMP. These releases will normally be made within 4 weeks of receipt of the change, and limited to no more than two per year.

OS and SHS agree not to take further action in relation to use of the ASCOT.BMP image by SHS prior to the date of this agreement, if this agreement is signed and implemented. This includes issues such as claims of breach of copyright, costs resulting from correspondence, and indirect effects on business, police and military operations for SHS business partners and end users in the UK and overseas.

Footnote added on 30th October 2002

The above was put on on Tuesday 27th August 2002. On 2nd October 2002 the GPSS v5.4 Baseline was released with the change in accordance with that specified above. i.e. the OS understanding of the old 1995 agreement. OS have expressed their satisfaction with this arrangement. OS have also agreed that their reference to the UK Official Secrets Act was inappropriate, and have taken measures to ensure this mistake is not repeated in future commercial agreements. Employees of OS seeking further information on this subject, or wishing to discuss further changes to GPSS or this OSAG.HTM page, should consult SHS letter Ref:OSLITI15 dated 7 October 2002 and earlier correspondance held by Field Fisher Waterhouse/Vanessa Lawrence/Gerry Brazier/Vivien Tanner. For security aspects they should consult ref:OS64/98/9 dated 26 September 2002. GPSS users should recognise that the text "MR-Data Graphics Tel 01642 750515" is obsolete, and only included in GPSS for the reasons explained above. If they wish to contact OS they should use the more recent contact information such as Ordnance Survey HelpLine 08456 050505 or email

Footnote added on 27th November 2007

Robin contacted the office of James Brayshaw on 14th September 2007, to see if OS wished to discuss updating of the agreement and/or wider collaboration such as licencing of GPSS. Gavin Lewis started an email dialogue but this ended when Gavin left OS at the end of September. Robin contacted the office again on 7th November, with a "reminder" and discussion resumed with Neil Taylor. By 14th November Neil had explained that "Ordnance Survey are no longer permitted to enter into non-standard agreements..", but the standard agreements were probably less demanding than that above. It was agreed that OS would provide raw data for a new "Ascot" sample, together with the standard Terms and Conditions of use. If the T&Cs were acceptable to SHS then a processed ASCOT.BMP sample would be submitted to OS for their approval prior to use of the sample in future releases of GPSS. The above old agreement would still remain, to cover old copies of GPSS still in circulation, but all new releases of GPSS would use the later sample. At the time of writing this footnote, the sample data and T&Cs have not been received. The old ASCOT.BMP will therefore continue to be used, in accordance with the agreement above which has no end date.

©2002-2007 Robin Lovelock