About 400 million features of the British landscape appear on a digital map which went live on Dec. 8, 2001. The British national mapping agency Ordnance Survey unveiled OS MasterMap after a two-year project to digitally reference every building and field as well as details such as railway signal lights and mailboxes. The map is like a national jigsaw puzzle made up of 400 million pieces, each one “barcoded” within a unique 16-digit reference number known as a topographic identifier or TOID. As well as telling you where a feature is, a TOID is also a direct link to a description of what it is. A TOID can be loaded with extra detail within a user’s computer system and shared between users. The breakthrough opens up possibilities in easier data sharing and management for utilities, local and central government and any business supporting a branch network, customer base or other geographic infrastructure. For more on OS MasterMap, visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/osmastermap.
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