Around 40 per cent of all UK architects risk being sued by using unlicensed or out of date maps – according to Ordnance Survey
Research by the national mapping agency found up to two-fifths of all property and construction industry professionals had failed to purchase rights to use the latest maps.
Futhermore Ordnance Survey found approximately 45 per cent of all maps submitted with planning application were similarly unlicensed or incorrectly displayed.
Architects using the wrong maps could be accused of breaching copyright, face delays, see increased costs and end up in disputes with clients.
Julian Heathcote Hobbins of the Federation Against Software Theft said: ‘Land and property professionals have a legal duty to ensure all copyright mapping data is correctly licensed, but it appears some professionals are unwittingly jeopardising their reputation and are leaving themselves vulnerable to potential legal action for copyright infringement.’
Heathcote Hobbins suggested small businesses where ‘owners or directors are more likely to know of the unlicensed use’ represented a more serious breach of the law. ‘Under such circumstances a professional indemnity insurance could be put at risk.’
Dan Montagnani, managing director of mapping service GroundSure said: ‘Design plans could be seriously compromised if map scales are out of alignment and if features and potential site risks are not captured that could materially affect the context of the development.
‘They risk legal action from their client as well as the originators of the reused map, which has not been licenced for this purpose. This could seriously affect personal reputations as well as those of the practice.’