THE UK’s mapping agency Ordnance Survey has recorded record revenue for the fourth year in a row but seen profits fall.

The government-owned business, based in Southampton, generated £161.7million in revenue in 2019-20, beating the record of £157.3m, set last year.

However, profit before interest and tax fell from £26.3m to £400,000 after the business cut the useful economic life of its geospatial content improvement programme – which focused on improving its data for urban areas – from 7.5 years to three.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell from £49.3m to £44.7m. Ordnance Survey cited rising spending, employee costs and professional fees as it invested in preparation for growth.

The Nursling-based agency drew attention to highlights including:

  • Helping more than 200 organisations, including the NHS and Public Health England, respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its data was used to allocate resources to hospitals, care homes and supermarkets at the right place and time.
  • The launch of a 10-year Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA), which aims to deliver better location information to benefit the public sector, business, developers and academia and transform the way they use geospatial data.
  • The National Underground Asset Register, a pilot in the north east to create an underground map of pipes and cables.
  • Geovation, a programme to help start-ups, with an Edinburgh hub joining one in central London. It led to 484 new jobs.
  • Support for other nations on their geospatial strategies, including a deal with the Dubai government to create of a geospatial services centre in Dubai.
  • Helping people find green spaces and cycle routes during lockdown.

Chief executive Steve Blair said: “The PSGA is our most significant achievement of the year. It is the foundation on which we will become a more commercially aware and customer centric organisation. The work on delivering the PSGA has already begun, to create new data that is easier to access, use and share.

“Delivering on the PSGA is one of the five elements that will drive commercial growth. The others are an evolution of the great foundations which Ordnance Survey has today, and include international geospatial opportunities, geospatial services, consumer and commercial data.

“My eyes have been opened to how significant the role of location is. Not just in mapping for emergencies during the pandemic, but across the many sectors our data and insights bring to customers in Britain and globally. OS’s role and purpose in serving Britain is as important as it has ever been.”


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