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Digital mapping information

By viewing data on a map you can see hidden trends that may not be obvious otherwise. Geographical information can present a visual understanding to data held in a spreadsheet or database. NHS organisations can access geographical mapping information in two ways:

  • by signing up Ordnance Survey's free Public Sector Mapping Agreement
  • through a value-added, paid for service from a third party supplier.

What is the 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, so working with Local Authorities or other partners will be easier.


  • 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.

Who can join the PSMA?

Nearly every public sector organisation in England and Wales, including all local authorities, central government departments and many health organisations. 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."

Who cannot 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
  • Read more about who can join the PSMA (external)

The NHS Digital Mapping Agreement

Between 2008 and 2012 we were responsible for coordinating the NHS Digital Mapping Agreement with Dotted Eyes. This agreement expired on 30 April 2012 and will not be reprocured. Health organisations wishing to use geographical information should join the PSMA.

Mapping information

Dr John Snow (1813-1858) was the earliest pioneer of linking health events to geography. The trend continues today across the entire health sector.

Geographical information systems (software)

To make full use of geographical information, organisations need appropriate digital mapping software which is capable of opening, reading, displaying and analysing the data. The PSMA does not include any provision for digital mapping software. The Health and Social Care Information Centre can give an indication of the range of mapping software on the market but in the interests of impartiality, we cannot make recommendations or endorsements.

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