I was always a keen hiker. Mum used to take us youth hostelling as kids and though University I was a very active member of the hiking club there. I took some steps to ‘go pro’ and started down the qualification route for mountain leadership, but rapidly realised that I would be better earning my pounds elsewhere and keeping hiking as a hobby. After finishing University, I kept in touch with my hiking buddies and we got together regularly, certainly throughout my 20s. As for most people, life took over. My career, other activities, relationships etc meant that hiking became something that happened less and less frequently.
In 2009, I bought my first proper smartphone – a HTC Hero. It wasn’t the earliest Android phone, but as the first of my friends to get one, I felt like an early-adopter. Having a smartphone opened up a huge range of opportunities to do other things with it, other than just basic calls and texts.
In 2010, I changed jobs. I had been the ‘Training Manager’ for national government agency, which meant working away from home most of the time. I moved back into an operational role near home, working shifts and sleeping in my own bed every night (or day depending on the shift!). This gave me a lot more time to pick up on old hobbies. I started hiking again. I started running again. In both cases, due to my shift pattern I was doing it on my own, mid-week with my smartphone, I started tracking my activities, both for safety and to see later how much I’d done.
Did you know that our mapping data was used by utility companies to make sure that our utility infrastructure is resilient? In the light of the problems in New York with Hurricane Sandy, find out more about what’s happening in this country to make sure we have a safe and secure infrastructure by watching this short video.
In it, Chris Train, Network Operations Director National Grid, talks about the benefits of geographic information within infrastructure resilience. He provides an insight into how the sharing of GI, enhances knowledge of the impacts on communities, geographies and customers, helping the utility industry identify their vulnerability to risk and plan contingencies to maintain constant supplies.
We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be running a series of free OS OpenData masterclasses in November. With our first stop being Aberdeen on Wednesday 14 November, a further four classes will be delivered at locations across Great Britain.
The classes are open to anyone interested in learning more about open data. So if you’re a developer, a member of a community group, a social entrepreneur or just simply curious about open data and what’s possible – why not come along for a day of tutorials, practical exercises and discussions?
The aim of each class is to provide a greater understanding about both the history and theory of open data as well as giving you dedicated time to use some of the tools and techniques needed to make use of the information. We’ll be teaching you how to use geographic datasets available from us, through both OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace, alongside other government department and public-sector organisation open datasets, all of which are freely available to order via websites such as data.gov.uk.
While we’re very well known for our paper maps, helping outdoors enthusiasts enjoy the lovely British countryside, it’s our digital data that sees us capturing the changes to our country on a daily basis. New buildings appear whilst others are pulled down, the road layout changes and new footpaths are laid. Change is everywhere.
Theses changes are captured and added to our databases every day. Our most detailed digital data can be seen in OS MasterMap. It is a continually updated database containing a variety of information in four different product layers. Between them they contain over 450 million geographic features found in the real world, from individual addresses to roads and buildings.
It’s used by local authorities, businesses and government organisations across Great Britain. It could be used to help plan the most effective routes for refuse collection or to ensure your online shopping makes it to your door on time.
This video gives you a brief introduction to OS MasterMap. Have a look and let us know what you think. It’s a bit different to our OS Explorer Map isn’t it?
Last week we presented at the fourth Open Source GIS conference at the Nottingham Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham. The annual conference provides a platform for people from across government, academia, industry and open source communities to network and share ideas for future collaborative work in open source, open standards and open data geospatial technologies.
So…for the benefit of those of us that aren’t sure what open source is, well, it is often described as being a way of working that allows the source code for software applications to be made freely and openly available, encouraging a public and collaborative approach to the ongoing development and enhancement of the software. This ensures that everybody can contribute to, and benefit from, these developments.
Image: Nottingham Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham
It’s now over two years since the release of OS OpenData, which gave more access to free, unrestricted Ordnance Survey mapping than ever before. It’s is helping businesses and developers to start to use geographic intelligence (GI) without any royalty payments and restrictions on reuse. Even if you haven’t used mapping data before, you can unlock the benefits immediately, making it even easier to achieve efficiency savings across the board.
Last month we ran a webinar, giving people the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data, and the tools and techniques to use OS OpenData. We show you how to get up and running with OS OpenData, and start to benefit from GI. The 40 minute session covers:
How to get Ordnance Survey free data
How to use OS OpenData
And how we can learn from an existing user of OS OpenData with Simon Fitzgerald from CIFAS
When someone goes missing, many people and organisations get involved in the search and thanks to the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), Ordnance Survey data is included in the tools the search agencies have at their disposal.
Lowland Search dogs (LSdogs) is a non-profit, voluntary organisation founded in 2002. It overseas the standards and testing for dogs used to search for missing persons in lowland areas of the UK and assists the police and other agencies involved in search and rescue operations. A dog can search an area of 50 – 80 acres with a high probability of detecting the whereabouts of the missing person within an hour to an hour and a half, so they can be a vital and useful member of any search team.
This week we have a guest blog from Peter Naldrett. Peter is a geography teacher and writer living on the edges of the Peak District National Park. He is the author of the Trigpoint Walks series of books and recently wrote the The Dog Walkers’ Guide To Derbyshire and the Peak District. Currently writing two more walking books in the Peak, Peter also writes for Countryman Magazine, reviews music for two regional newspapers and has co-authored geography textbooks for Oxford University Press. You can find out more on Twitter @peternaldrett or visit www.peter-naldrett.co.uk.
There are over 6,000 of them scattered around Great Britain and many ramblers have had their photograph taken with one after scaling a hill on a country walk. To some they are just mysterious pillars made out of concrete, but to those in the know the triangulation pillar is at the heart of the modern maps we all take for granted when we head off out on a hike today. Back in the 1930s and 1940s when most of the triangulation pillars were carted to the top of hills and constructed by teams of Ordnance Survey mapping enthusiasts, a cartographical revolution was taking place. These pillars were constructed atop hills with a formidable view and the metal screw and frame at the top allowed a theodolite to be fixed in place, meaning surveyors could measure surrounding landscape features in relation to other triangulation pillars they could see. It’s a complicated, technical process, and a very physical one when compared to today’s armchair map searches, but the long and short of it is that the surveyors of the triangulation pillar era ushered in the more detailed maps with contours that most presume have been crafted with satellite images. Not so; it was all down to the sweat and hard graft of a dedicated bunch during the first half of the twentieth century.
Today, triangulation pillars are not used in an official capacity. Some have disappeared completely, making way for housing estates or new farm buildings. Others have fallen into disrepair and have started to crumble in the wild elements. Sadly, there is the odd one that has been vandalised as well. But for the countryside walker, armed with an OS Explorer Map and flask of hot chocolate, there is an even greater use for these trigs: a picnic site. How many of us have reached the high point of a Peak District or Lake District walk, touched the trig with a sense of wonderful achievement and admired the fantastic 360 degree view before sitting down on a nearby rock and tucking in to a cheese and pickle sandwich? While many hikers do not know the secret history of trigs in contributing to the OS Landranger Map, there is one thing we can all agree on: these historic pillars are wonderful places to rest, take a pic, enjoy the view, meet fellow travellers and share stories about the weather or routes taken to the summit.
Like many densely populated urban areas, Hull is a city not without its challenges. Over ten years ago it was singled out as having one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK.
Hull City Council has now turned this around and thanks to work with Hull primary care trust (PCT) and a range of school, street and drop-in centre initiatives. The rate of teenage pregnancy is now significantly below the national average, with an estimated saving of £8 million. A targeted approach, supported by Ordnance Survey mapping products which helped to visualise the problem areas, has delivered significant improvements.
‘Hull spends £800 000 a year on the programme but saves more than £8 million by reducing teenage pregnancies and preventing children from going into care… Mapping is critical to the process, not only to ensure that contraception services are located in the right place but also to help communicate complex data to different audiences and to provide evidence that the strategy is effective. “
Gail Teasdale, Integrated Services Manager, Children and Young People’s Services, Hull City Council.
When you walk through a railway station ticket gate, wait for a car park barrier to lift or put petrol in your car, chances are there is an advertising message staring you in the face.
With the growth of online advertising, you could be forgiven for thinking that traditional channels might be facing some decline. But that’s not the case and advertisers are getting cleverer at looking for places to communicate with key audiences. And Ordnance Survey’s data is helping to make the process more efficient, saving money and time for one of the agencies