OS Names API



Over 2.5 million places in Great Britain in a searchable database 


Let your customer-facing staff find places quickly when talking to callers. OS Names API provides the accurate locations of streets and postcodes in Great Britain.

Quickly look up places and roads with two names. OS Names API contains names in English and their Welsh, Scots or Gaelic alternatives.

Save money and benefit from simple licensing terms. OS Names API is free to view, download and use for commercial, education and personal purposes.



Plan Options




250,000 transactions / Month


OS Names API is FREE to use for commercial, educational and personal purposes.


Query over 1.6 million postcodes, 870,000 named and numbered roads, and nearly 44,000 settlements.


to start a free plan



Accurate place names, kept up to date


Easily access over 1.6 million postcodes, 870,000 road names and numbers and 44,000 settlements, all kept up to date.

Integrating easily with your own GIS or web and mobile based apps, OS Names makes customer-facing 'find your nearest' applications more efficient. It also makes life easier, enabling you to link confidently with third parties' data too.







Detailed, searchable data


You may be hunting for statistical data, analysing trends, or using details for purely consumer-oriented services.


OS Names gives you smooth access to brilliantly detailed, searchable data – the details of nearly 44,000 individual settlements and over 870,000 named and numbered roads






Easy to integrate


OS Names is a RESTful web service, which makes it easy to integrate with your own apps and existing GIS.


And because you’re not locked in to Ordnance Survey alone you’re free to use our APIs with other providers’ services (subject to third party terms and conditions).



Feature types

Populated place and transport network,postcode.

Local types

Includes - Populated place: city, town, suburban area, village, hamlet, other settlement. Transport network: named road; numbered road; section of named road; section of numbered road. Postcode. See full list


99.9% uptime (Service level guaranteed in our Terms & Conditions)

Output formats

JSON and XML (Full technical Documentation)


Find (fast lookup) and Nearest (Returns nearest feature to named place)

Data update frequency

Quarterly - January, April, July & October

Geographical coverage

Great Britain

Our OS Names API is 100% free to use, apart from a limit on the number of transactions per month (250,000). (Above that number, we’ll ask you to take out a services plan, either monthly or annually). There are also no restrictions on how you use the API to build new, consumer or business-facing web and mobile applications or integrate the API with your own existing GIS.


Register to start your free plan.

Free of charge (up to 250,000 transactions), our OS Names API lets you find what you’re looking for, quickly and easily.


With OS Names API, you’ll have access to a straightforward, rapid lookup service: drilling down into the content we hold in our OS Open Names dataset. You can find places and spaces in two ways – via ‘find’ or ‘nearest’ – and do it all in English, Welsh and Gaelic. The API returns data on roads, cities, towns, postcodes, woodlands, forests, transport hubs, etc.), and can also find the closest location to a given point.


It’s a RESTful API, returning the answers to simple queries in either XML or JSON. The ‘find’ tool is a string-based lookup service, and the ‘nearest’ tool uses a pair of British National Grid (BNG) coordinates to return the nearest feature.

The API uses the OS Open Names dataset, a gazetteer or directory hosting basic information about  2.5 million identifiable places in Great Britain.


The OS Open Names dataset specification extends the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) Geographical Names theme, making sure all the data we use is compliant with European open data initiatives.

OS Names API won’t return a specific address in detail, or perform bulk searches. If you need more than 250,000 calls a month, please let us know.


Realising that names aren’t unique, the API will return the postcode district, populated place, district/borough, county/unitary authority, European region and country to ensure that users can refine their query to choose exactly the right place.


The API supports more than one name for places, including multilingual names (English/Welsh or English/Gaelic), for example, Cardiff (English) and Caerdydd (Welsh).

At the OS APIs developer hub you'll find comprehensive guides, documentation and code snippets to help you start working with OS Names API as quickly as possible.



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Comprehensive guides and code snippets to

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