Ordnance Survey has launched a new, free map of all the publicly accessible greenspaces in Great Britain and the importance of this can hardly be over-stated.

For the first time ever we know how many public parks, gardens, playgrounds, playing fields, woods, allotments etc there are; where they are; how big they are. Not only will it help people find their nearest green space – and this was the Government’s motivation for undertaking the project - this information is vital for green space managers.

For local authorities, a more detailed version is available through OS Mastermap Greenspace, a public-sector version available through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement and One Scotland Mapping Agreement.

For decades, green space managers have lacked some of the basic data other asset managers take for granted: robust information about the location, type and quality of the assets under their control. This new, authoritative data is a significant first step – and could help strengthen the case for more public investment in green infrastructure. However, there is still a lot more data needed. Until we have commonly accepted measures of the quality of green infrastructure it is impossible for managers to measure return on investment or allocate their resources efficiently.

Nevertheless, for anyone interested in understanding, valuing and improving the country’s green infrastructure, the OS Open Greenspace is a welcome, and potentially very powerful, resource.

To access OS Open Greenspace, click here.