Free Geographic Data Helps Reveal Great Britain’s “Fraud Landscape”

Financial services companies can now access a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping data for free to help identify patterns in fraud and aid intelligent decision making.

OS OpenData, Ordnance Survey’s mapping and data portal, allows banks and insurance firms free access to key geographic datasets for the first time. When used with an organisation’s own fraud intelligence, changes in the frequency or the location of patterns are then much clearer. As a result, faster and more intelligent decisions can be made based upon a more accurate picture of risk.

To demonstrate the potential, Ordnance Survey has created a series of “fraud maps” that match statistics from a leading industry body to their geographic locations. The result is a striking and revealing representation of the peaks and troughs of the British “fraud landscape”.

Sarah Adams, Banking and Finance Sector Manager at Ordnance Survey, comments: “When you view this type of data as a huge spreadsheet the patterns are very hard to detect. Yet as soon as you apply a geographic context it immediately becomes clear where change is occurring, and a bank or insurance firm can then take the appropriate action based on their exposure.”

OS OpenData was launched in April to provide greater access to Ordnance Survey data. Among the datasets are Code-Point Open, which provides a geographic marker for every postcode area in the country, and Boundary-Line, which accurately maps the nation’s definitive administrative boundary framework. Both are key to the creation of the fraud maps and are now available as part of OS OpenData.

The fraud maps reveal some dramatic changes, including in West Berkshire, which has seen a large fall in fraud between 2008 and 2009, and in Edinburgh, where incidents of ID fraud have almost halved.  

“Through the use of geographic data, these trends are immediately more apparent, all of which facilitates better and smarter decision making. OS OpenData is useful not only in a fraud context but also in risk assessment, supply-chain management, disaster and contingency planning, and asset management, and is now available to anyone working in the financial sector,” Ms Adams adds.

To help banks and insurers to better understand the benefits of using OS OpenData, Ordnance Survey is also holding a series of free half-day seminars across the country:
• Wednesday 16 June, Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham
• Tuesday 22 June, Leeds Marriott Hotel
• Tuesday 29 June, ABI, City of London

Attendees are expected from a wide range of areas, from underwriters to claims managers, asset managers to actuaries and operational risk managers to IT business managers.

You can register for the seminar taking place nearest to you at:

Users can download data directly from the OS OpenData website: