There is so much that can be gained from providing free OS data. Currently, if you want to download maps for GPS devices, satnav, the mapping data comes from OS and that's why the maps are expensive.
Take a look at the map data for MemoryMap,the crazy thing is, if you were to download all the map data for the UK it will actually cost you more than if you bought every OS map in your local book/outdoor shop, which when you think about it is insane: as the paper versions of the maps must be produced from the digital data and so must cost more!
More applications at lower cost would be developed if the map data was free.
And why should a government department make a profit from the data? It's effectively a form of taxation. The primary customer of the OS is the military, the map data isn't produced for Joe Public, - ok, you could argue some of it is, but this stuff has to be produced for the military.
So selling it on to the public is a way to raise revenue for a department which we're already paying for out of general taxation.
It should be free.
Postcode data: For many years the Post Office have been using postcodes as the primary means to route mail to its destination, using hand writing/optical recognition. Many years ago they embarked on a long campaign to encourge us to use the post code, and if I recall correctly, look up the post code by asking someone in the post office.
Now, with the internet, looking up the post code should be an easy thing, but it's not. You have to jump through hoops and hurdles to get that information.
For F**cks sake Royal Mail, if you want us to use the Post Code because it saves you money, then at least make it easy for us to obtain that information! Don't be such a bunch of tossers and deliberately make it difficult for us. Either you want us to use the postcode or you don't.
I shouldn't have to enter a ton of personal information about myself just to obtain a post code, I don't want an account with you, I don't need to register, all I want is the f**ng postcode!,I shouldn't have to enter information which isn't needed for you to give me the post code, which who the hell knows what you do with said information, and do we trust your data protection policy - if we can friggin find it and be bothered to read it in the first place.
But RM, not exactly known for the their forward thinkingness, their intelligence are they?
Personally, with the way RM employees keep stealing packages sent to me and my neighbours, I'd love them to go out of business and replace them with better.