All datasets on the NBN Atlas will require a licence. The provision of a licence is to provide a simple, standardised, method for determining the conditions under which data on the NBN Atlas may be used.

There are four licences that can be applied to data that are publicly available on the NBN Atlas;

Open Government Licence (OGL)

This licence is to enable public sector bodies to licence use of their data and information. It grants a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive licence to use the data subject to one condition (see below)

This licence allows you to:

  • Copy, publish, distribute and transmit the data
  • Adapt the information
  • Exploit the data commercially and non-commercially

You must:

  • Acknowledge the source of the data by including any attribution statement specified by the Data Provider(s) and, where possible, provide a link to this licence.

More information on this licence can be found on the National Archives website

The Creative Commons CC-BY licence (see below) is the equivalent licence for non government organisations.

Creative Commons No rights reserved licence (CC0)

Under this licence the data provider has waived any rights to the data under copyright or Intellectual Property Rights law.

This licence allows you to;

  • Copy, modify and distribute the data, including for commercial purposes, without seeking permission from the data provider

More information on this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website

Creative Commons licence with attribution (CC-BY)

Data available under this licence can be used for any purpose, including commercial use.

This licence allows you to;

  • Share – copy and redistribute the data in any medium or format
  • Adapt – remix, transform and build upon the data

You must:

  • Give appropriate credit to the data provider
  • Provide a link to the licence
  • Indicate if any changes have been made

More information on this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website

Creative Commons with attribution non-commercial (CC-BY-NC)

Data under this licence can be used under the same conditions as the CC-BY licence except the data cannot be used for commercial purposes.

The majority of biodiversity data in the UK is collected by volunteers. Organisations that aggregate and share data have to undertake data management and verification tasks to transform each observation into an analysis ready piece of data. This work, and support for volunteer recorders, is largely unfunded. By using a CC-BY-NC licence this data can be made freely available for not-for-profit uses, while ensuring those who obtain commercial gain (including cost recovery), from using the data contribute towards its collection and management.

Guidance on what may be considered commercial and non-commercial use can be found here.

More information on this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Important information

One important aspect of a Creative Commons licence to note is that they are irrevocable. This means that, while you are free to stop offering data under a Creative Commons licence at any time, anyone who has a copy of that dataset prior to it being removed, or the licence amended, will still be able to use it under the conditions of the original licence.

For example, if you originally provide a dataset on a CC-BY licence but then decide to change it to a CC-BY-NC licence, anyone who downloaded the data while it was under a CC-BY licence can continue to use it for commercial purposes. Anyone who downloads the data once the CC-BY-NC licence had been implemented would not be able to use the data commercially.

Further details on Creative Commons are available on their website, their FAQ is quite comprehensive and should answer most queries.


Sensitive Species licensing

Data records for species on the agreed sensitive species list will be publicly available at a blurred resolution. High resolution versions of these data will not be publicly visible, however, high resolution data can be requested from the Data Provider. This will be subject to a Restricted Re-use licence (see below). The publicly available blurred data can be used under the conditions of a Creative Commons licence as determined by the data provider.

Restricted Re-use

The purpose of a restricted licence is to allow controlled access to sensitive data. The licence will permit the licensee to hold the sensitive data to carry out a specific activity that is of demonstrable environmental benefit.

If provided with enhanced access to sensitive species data, the data provider will issue you with a restricted re-use licence detailing how that data may be used