osdatahub (R package):

Coding in Python?
osdatahub has a sibling package for Python developers with similar functionality, check it out here.

osdatahub is an R package from Ordnance Survey (OS) that makes it easier to interact with OS data via the OS Data Hub APIs.

OS is the national mapping agency for Great Britain and produces a large variety of mapping and geospatial products. Much of OS’s data is available via the OS Data Hub, a platform that hosts both free and premium data products.


Note: This package is under active development.



osdatahub is available on CRAN.


Load the library to begin using it.


You’ll also need to sign-up for an account on the OS Data Hub and get an API key to access certain features. If you’ve setup you’re account and need help getting a key, try the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the API Dashboard located on the top navigation bar
  2. Go to My Projects
  3. Click Create a new project, give your project a name, then click Create project
  4. Select Add an API to this project
  5. Choose the APIs you would like to use and click Done

Quick Start

NGD Features API

We can use the NGD Features API by loading the library:


Then we need to get our OS API key and store it as a variable (find out how to do this securely with environment variables):


Next, we must decide which NGD Collection we are interested in. We can discover the available collection ids in 2 ways:

  1. Browse the OS Data Hub Technical Documentation
  2. Run the list_ngd_collections() function:
list_ngd_collections(simple = TRUE)

Then we can create a query to the NGD API:

results = query_ngd(collection = 'bld-fts-buildingline-1',
                    max_results = 50,
                    key = key)

The query_ngd() function supports many different options and filters, such as various output CRS’, CQL filters, and start and end times for temporal features.

The data stored in the results variable will be in geojson format, limited to 50 features (based on the max_results parameter). To save the query results as a geojson file, it’s useful to the use the sfpackage. If the sf package is available, a spatial data frame can be returned directly from the API by specifying returnType = 'sf'.

If you have the ID of a specific feature you would like to query, you can use the query_ngd() function to return just that record from a collection:

feature_id <- "0000013e-5fed-447d-a627-dae6fb215138"

feature <- query_ngd(feature_id, 
                     collection = 'bld-fts-buildingline-1', 
                     key = key)

Downloads API

If you’d like to download an entire dataset instead of querying the API on demand, the OS Data Hub has the Downloads API. This API allows you to search, explore, and download both Open Data Products (e.g. OS Open Rivers, Boundary-Line, and a 1:250,000 scale colour raster of Great Britain) and Premium Data Packages using R.

It is possible to download Open Data products without an API key, but the Premium Data Packages require you to have a premium API key and order the package you want to download on the OS Data Hub website.

The first step to download data is to discover which products are available. You can see the available datasets on the OS Data Hub website or using the following snippet of code:



You can also see all Premium Data Packages available to download using your premium API key:

list_os_datapackages(key = key)

Note: For Premium Data Packages, this query will only return datasets if you have previously ordered the dataset on the OS Data Hub Website.

Once you have found a package you’d like to download, you can get a list of the different products you can download:

greenspace = list_os_opendata('OpenGreenSpace')

Once you know the dataset and specific product you’d like to download, you can download the dataset locally:

                     file_name = 'opgrsp_essh_nj.zip', 
                     output_dir = tempdir())

Maps API

The OS Maps API provides access to pre-rendered raster tiles. Choose the map style that suites your use case best, whether you need the detail of OS MasterMap or our iconic Leisure maps. There are four styles available: Road, Outdoor, Light and Leisure. Each map style contains OS OpenData and Premium data layers. These are available in British National Grid for GB data and Web Mercator projections. The API in the osdatahub R package provides a convenience function to download the tiles to your local machine for small, static maps and graphics. For more details on the Maps API, see the technical documentation.

The first step to download data is to define a local extent to query the map:


# Find the bounds of a British National Grid square.
OS_ext <- extent_from_bng('SU3715')

You can download the tiles which cover the extent to your local machine as .png files. Then these tiles can be stitched together and georeferenced for spatial applications.

imgTile <- query_maps(OS_ext, 
                      layer = 'Light_27700', 
                      key = key,
                      output_dir = tempdir())

Places API

The OS Places API provides a detailed view of an address and its life cycle. It contains all the records of AddressBase® Premium and AddressBase® Premium – Islands and so provides all the information relating to an address or property from creation to retirement.

The Places API is always going to return us addresses. It allows geographic (extent-based) and non-geographic queries.


# Create a polygon extent.
extent <- extent_from_bbox(c(600000, 310200, 600900, 310900), 'EPSG:27700')

# Extract addresses within the extent polygon.
results <- places_query(extent, limit = 50, key = key)

Note: the Places API requires a premium API key.


This package is still under active development and we welcome contributions from the community. Please contact us via Email.