Postcode data from no longer recommended

Posted by Dom on Sun, 02 Mar 2014 13:50:57 +0000

Back in 2006 when we started this project, a lot of the interest came from being able to crowd-source postcodes at a time when there was no free source of postcodes. The site was a great demonstration of crowd sourcing, where people were able to contribute a small amount of data at the same time as enjoying the lovely old maps the team were able to collect. As our early blog posts excitedly report, we gathered around ten times more postcodes (albeit at lower quality) in one month than had in the previous year.

However in mid-2010 the Ordnance Survey released their Code-Point Open, an accurate and complete dataset mapping postcodes to location available under a permissive licence and regularly updated. This means that the outputs of (and for that matter are now essentially redundant. The main difference, other than the far superior data quality, is that the Code-Point Open licence requires you to acknowledge your use of Ordnance Survey data.

As a result, we are no longer planning to provide updated data exports or develop the postcode collection part of the site. New submissions from users will no longer be accepted. We will leave the data exports available for the time being but recommend that consumers switch over to other data sources, such as Code-Point Open, as soon as practical.

The presentation of the old OS maps remains an interesting part of the site and we plan to keep this part of the site alive, although there are no current plans to extend the collection.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed postcodes, postcode corrections, and all the many helpful suggestions we've received over the years!

Browsing maps by decade

Posted by Nick Burch on Tue, 23 Feb 2010 09:00:00 +0000

Over the last couple of years, we've occasionally had the opportunity to replace some of our map scans with newer ones. One example was the recent updating of some of our Scottish maps with newer 7th Editon ones.

Generally this works well for everyone - the newer maps are generally a little cleaner and clearer, and have more recent features on them, aiding the location of postcodes.

However, not everyone is only interested in the latest out of copyright maps we have available. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to view a map from a given date, even if that isn't the latest. With this in mind, we've added a new feature to the site. It's now possible to Browse Maps by Decade.

So, if our latest map happens to be from the late 1950s, and you want to see how things looked before some building work which happened in the early 1950s, provided we have an earlier map, you now can! Simply head to and click on your area of interest on the decade of your choice.

At this time we have almost complete 1940s coverage, a bit over a quarter of the 1950s maps, and a smattering of 1920s and 1930s maps. However, we would love to be able to fill in the missing gaps. So, if you have access to flat (never folded) ordnance survey maps from a decade where we're missing that area, we'd love to hear from you! Also, if you are able to scan in folded ordnance survey maps for a decade+area combination area that we lack, again do please get in touch.

Otherwise, we hope you enjoy seeing how things have changed, and we look forward to being able to add the first 1960s maps in January, once the Ordance Survey maps published during 1960 come out of copyright on the 1st of January 2011.

More Scottish Maps

Posted by Nick Burch on Fri, 12 Feb 2010 21:25:31 +0000

We're pleased to announce that we've recently teamed up with the OpenStreetMap 7th Edition Maps project, who are also aiming to put out-of-copyright OS maps online.

As part of this, we've been able to update around 30 of our Scottish maps with newer versions, generally replacing mid 1940s maps with late 1950s ones. Because these maps were all scanned from flat original maps, rather than folded as many of ours are, they scans are generally also a little bit clearer, and a bit better aligned. Being newer, it should hopefully be easier to find the locations of postcodes!

We've also sent over copies of our 7th Edition map scans to the OSM project, who are in the process of re-projecting them into WGS84 (the original maps use the British National Grid, as do we). They will shortly be available for OpenStreetMap users to trace features from, much as our 1940s maps have been for some time.

The next batch of 7th Editon maps leave copyright in January, so we hope to both be able to show off some more scans then!

Map legends now available

Posted by Nick Burch on Sun, 18 Jan 2009 18:17:33 +0000

We're pleased to announce that we finally have the legends (aka map keys) for most of our maps easily available to everyone.

Firstly, you can browse all of our map legends at, and see how the map legends have changed over time.

Secondly, for all the maps where we have a full scan of the original (including the legend at the bottom, and not just a scan of the middle part containing the map itself), we have classified the maps by the legend they contain. When browsing around the fully zoomed in map, if the map you are looking at has been classified, then the map year display in the right had pane will become a link to that map's legend. Clicking through will take you directly to the appropriate map legend.

The majority of our maps have now been classified, but for a few scanned by other contributors (especially some of the older scottish ones), then scans we have are cropped to exclude the key, so classification isn't possible. For these, you'll need to take a look at the full legends list, and spot the appropriate one based on features.

Source code available

Posted by Dom on Tue, 23 Dec 2008 17:22:00 +0000

As Nick hinted at in his previous post, all the source code that runs this site is available at our public subversion repository. We think this is important, not only because we’re generally open source friendly people, but because for all the will in the world, we don’t really have time to devote as much as we’d like to the project (we all have full-time jobs, and other projects too).

Being custodians of public data seems like a large responsibility, though, so we feel bad about neglecting things. So how can you help?

Well, you can probably guess. If you’re a coder (Perl and Python currently) and have ideas for some of the many ways npemap site (and maybe the as-yet-unstarted central site) can be improved, head over to our dev site and issue tracker, start thinking about what you could do and get coding! We know that things are a little rough round the edges, but we’ll try our hardest to support people developing things, so if you can’t get a development environment up and running, or you would like commit access, or you would like us to push out some changes to the site, just ask us. We have a mailing list to chat on, and are always available at

Older posts

  • 21 September: Another free postcode source
  • 21 September: RSS Feed
  • 2007

  • 03 December: Mailing list and forum; 30,000 postcodes
  • 24 July: Channel Islands
  • 11 April: Scottish Coverage Complete
  • 10 April: Search from the URL
  • 14 March: Outage; even more scotland
  • 08 January: A New Target
  • 07 January: Guardian Coverage, and more Maps
  • 2006

  • 30 November: Scotland Update
  • 22 November: No, really...
  • 01 November: Massive progress
  • 24 October: Beta release
  • 21 October: Public testing begins