British mapping agency Ordnance Survey said that its mapping and data portal OS OpenData will provide banks and insurance firms with free access to key geographic datasets to identify patterns in fraud and helps in intelligent decision making.

Ordnance Survey said that, when used with an organization’s own fraud intelligence, changes in the frequency or the location of patterns can be easily identified and, based upon accurate picture of risk intelligent decisions can be made in time.

To demonstrate the potential, Ordnance Survey created a series of ‘fraud maps’ that match statistics from an industry body to its geographic locations.

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

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 maps the nation’s definitive administrative boundary framework. Both were key to the creation of the fraud maps and are now available as part of OS OpenData.

Sarah Adams, banking and finance sector manager at Ordnance Survey, said: “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 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.”