We have detected that you are using Internet Explorer to visit this website. Internet Explorer is now being phased out by Microsoft. As a result, NHS Digital no longer supports any version of Internet Explorer for our web-based products, as it involves considerable extra effort and expense, which cannot be justified from public funds. Some features on this site will not work. You should use a modern browser such as Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. If you have difficulty installing or accessing a different browser, contact your IT support team.
Geographical information can present a visual understanding to data held in a spreadsheet or database, and NHS organisations can access geographical mapping information in 2 ways:
- by signing up Ordnance Survey's free Public Sector Mapping Agreement
- through a value-added, paid-for service from a third party supplier
Public Sector Mapping Agreement
The public sector can access a range of Ordnance Survey data for free, through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). In addition, a significant amount of Ordnance Survey data is now available free of charge, and free of restrictive licensing, through the OS OpenData initiative.
PSMA licensing encourages data sharing within the public sector, making it easier to work with local authorities and other partners.
The benefits include:
- a new 10 year agreement for the public sector in England and Wales
- access to core geographic data sets from Ordnance Survey
- free for all eligible public sector bodies
Joining the PSMA
Almost every public sector organisation in England and Wales, including all local authorities, central government departments and many health organisations can join the PSMA. Eligible health organisations are "those bodies that fall within the definition of 'contracting authority' in Regulation 3 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 for England and Wales."
The following are unable to join the PSMA:
- GPs and GP practices
- organisations whose remit is mainly in Scotland (and are therefore covered by other arrangements)
- infrastructure bodies
- housing associations
- social enterprises
- community interest companies
- charities and charitable trusts
Find out more about who can join the PSMA.
Geographical information systems (software)
To make full use of geographical information, organisations need appropriate digital mapping software capable of opening, reading, displaying and analysing the data. The PSMA does not include any provision for digital mapping software. We can tell you about available mapping software, but in the interests of impartiality we can't make recommendations or endorsements.