OS Open Zoomstack in ArcGIS Pro with symbology created by the Ordnance Survey

This is a quick write up that’s related to the blog series I’m doing on custom symbology in ArcGIS Pro.  Well sort of, it just so happens to be the perfect dataset to use to use for UK based mapping projects where you don’t want to use a costly licenced dataset (maybe the forthcoming Open MasterMap may change that?).   Now, I know I normally write about 3D and CityEngine related stuff but I do love a good 2D map as well!  This post assumes a simple working knowledge of ArcGIS Pro.   I’m considering making this a video as well so you can see the entire process.

First you need to download the OS Open Zoomstack as a ‘geopackage’ don’t worry whilst ArcGIS Pro doesn’t support direct editing of a ‘geopackage’ it does support native reading of it. * there’s some discussion in the comments at the end of this post, if you’re reading on the front page click here to view

Fun fact: the GeoPackage is an ‘open format for geospatial information’

You can read about it here.

A word of warning this is a UK national dataset, so naturally the size is large (10.1 Gigabytes!).

To help as well I suggest you download the Ordnance Survey’s custom symbology for this dataset which you can get from github.

As you can see there are some instructions on what to do with style sheets if you’re an ArcMap user in that PDF linked above… well I do not use ArcMap much anymore more so I’ve pretty much made a complete transition to ArcGIS Pro so here’s what you do next.

Step 1: New ArcGIS Pro project and then ‘insert’ a new ‘map’.

Step 2: Convert the Geopackage into a File Geodatabase… as far as I am aware you don’t need an Advanced licence or FME or the Data Interoperability Extension (if I’m wrong comment below on this post) you can drag in each layer manually into a Map in ArcGIS Pro and then right-click the ‘export data’ function.  Or better yet, you can use the copy features GP tool (using the Batch function). *I’ve created a toolbox with two tools that simplifies this process for me.  I will share this as a separate blog post soon…

Step 2: Remove the prefix ‘main_’ from all the feature classes you imported into the new file geodatabase, otherwise you can’t use the lyr file on them….

Step 3: Find your “OS-Open-Zoomstack.lyr” (link to download it here) and drag it in to your Map, notice all those red “!” marks, this means it can’t find the data these symbols are linking too.   Click on one of these red “!” to fix them all.   It will ask you where the data layer is located ( in this case ‘names’).  Find the data in the new file geodatabase you created.

Step 4: Well it should all work and all those “!” should have gone and you have a nicely symbolised OS Open Zoomstack data set courtesy of the nice folks at the Ordnance Survey.

A final note this workflow unbelievably helped me find where Esri hid the ‘repair data’ function went, basically they built it into the “!“… d’oh.

Coming up in a future blog post: How we can use OS Open Zoomstack with our hand drawn custom symbology.


  1. Hi Elliot
    Great blog post about using OS Open Zoomstack. I am really interested to know why you translated to FileGDB from GeoPackage?

    We hope picked GeoPackage would reduce the need for users to do data translations, so if there is something we are missing it would be great to understand as we start the next iteration of Zoomstack next week.

    Many thanks
    Tim from OS

    • Thanks Tim for reading the post and you have a good question! Since ArcGIS Pro 1.1 we’ve had Geopackage ‘read’ support, but it still looks like nothing has changed since then for ‘full support’ (i.e read/write) and we’re on 2.2.3 here…. I also can’t find much in the way of documentation (tsk tsk Esri). As far as I can tell and I have tried, I can’t rename layers and I can’t edit them… I’m sure there’s another conversation there about standards and vendors providing full support not just read!

      There are two reasons why I’ve converted to a File Geodatabase the first is that the OS produced ‘lyr’ file references layers (feature class names) that don’t start with the prefix ‘main.’ which is how they are viewed in ArcGIS Pro, so either I batch rename the layers (which I can’t do in the Geopackage) or I fiddle with the ‘lyr’ file somehow. Secondly (and mostly), for this post I’ve converted it to a File Geodatabase here to fit in and prepare for a workflow for creating advanced symbology in ArcGISPro (see a previous post or two here.), some minor modification and clipping will take place. It also seems faster to load in ArcGISPro as a File Geodatabase and I can better perform analysis etc…

      I understand why the Ordnance Survey has released data in this format, you are keen to be seen as agnostic and conforming to standards and that is a good thing. It would have been nice if the ArcMap instructions were also done for ArcGISPro as well though… Unfortunately the reality is that the world’s largest (by market share) GIS software developer hasn’t fully implemented Geopackage support in what is its flagship desktop GIS. My blog post isn’t a criticism of the OS or Esri, it’s just a note of a workflow that I’ve made public for others. I hope you understand 🙂

      Thanks again for reading.

  2. That is really great feedback and helps us to understand the mixture of use cases especially when it comes to the variation in software packages.

    Hopefully with us starting to release data in GeoPackage vendors will recognise the value of full support and add it to their roadmaps. I guess up to now with so little data in GeoPackage there has been little demand.

    We can certainly add in the docs regarding use in ArcGIS Pro.

    If you can think of anything else please get in touch



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