This week from Monday through to Sunday you’ll find us at the Digital Shoreditch festival, an event that attracts hundreds of speakers from the most innovative and successful companies and organisations across creative, technical, start-up tech and digital spaces and beyond. During the week, we’ll be exhibiting, speaking and promoting our digital products and services amongst some of Tech City’s most talented digital and technical creative individuals.
The festival has a different theme each day, comprising of panel sessions, key note speeches and discussions – kicking off with today’s “What Tech City” theme. During the day, festival goers will collectively explore the many companies and organisations that make Tech City what it is, focusing on developing new ways to exploit the potential for growing global engagement and improving our digital economy and society.
Last week (and over the weekend) our Education team have been manning an exhibition stand at Olympia in London, taking the opportunity to talk to teachers about geography, mapping, GI and our Digimap for Schools application which provides access to a wide range of mapping and tools to pupils in schools across Great Britain.
BETT is the leading event for education technology, giving up to 30,000 visitors the opportunity to try out the technology and bringing together some of the teaching community for four days of discussions and testing!
This year, the show was opened by Michael Gove making an important announcement about ‘radically revamping’ the ICT curriculum which received widespread media coverage so there was a buzz around the exhibition stands as technology development was clearly an important government focus.
When people think about developing a mobile phone application which needs mapping, many use Ordnance Survey data. With thousands of applications available for smartphones, it’s amazing to see how many rely on ‘location’ and use mapping data, and we love the growing number of great apps using our mapping. You can check out our previous blog which features some great mapping apps.
In recent years we’ve seen an explosion of apps using mapping data. These range from basic navigational and ‘where’s my nearest’ apps to more specialist apps about geology and outdoor leisure activities. Some apps are used to deliver valuable public services, including public transport routes, and others allow communities to report local problems.
As maps have become an important ingredient in the app developer cook book, we obviously want Ordnance Survey maps to be the preferred ingredient. Developers can access, for free, our mapping data in a number of ways:
Offline data can be accessed for free via OS OpenData, giving developers unrestricted access to a portfolio of mapping products and scales. In addition, developers can access other spatial datasets to support app development – including boundary and post code information.
Online data can be accessed through the popular OS OpenSpace API. The online service offers a quick and easy way to add detailed maps to apps.
Both options give developers access to the highest quality and most detailed free mapping available for Great Britain.
So let’s start with the obvious option from us – Ordnance Survey maps! In particular we have our OS Select maps that you can site centre on any location you like within Great Britain and then personalise the cover with your own message. We also have OS getamap where for just £30 you can subscribe for one year and have unlimited access to Ordnance Survey mapping, download authored routes and print A4 extracts of mapping at home.
If you’re looking for something slightly different – here are our top five map related Christmas gift options:
Relax after your long walks with this compass cushion – just make sure that it’s always pointing in the right direction!
How well do you know your local area? Get an OS Landranger Map jigsaw of your local area and see how quickly you can put your neighborhood back together!
It’s a small world – and these are bite sized ones! These chocolate globes are perfect for a snack on your post Christmas lunch walk!
Learn more about the history of your house with my house history portfolio – contains map extracts and documents pertaining to the history of your house.
Keep hold of your money in this map wallet – made in part from recycled milk and water containers.
What other map related gifts have you seen this Christmas?
I read a great article on the BBC recently that was giving tips on finding your way in a city. Did you know that most UK satellite dishes (all belonging to the same provider) point roughly south east? They’re pointing at the same geostationary satellite, fixed at the same point over Earth.
We’re all becoming increasingly reliant on having a GPS signal to know our location – whether it’s to find your nearest cinema/petrol station/restaurant on a mobile phone, following the soothing tones of your satnav, or plotting a route for your next countryside walk. But what happens when you lose your GPS signal, or your battery dies on the device you’re using?
Just over a week ago a group of us from Ordnance Survey went up to Somerset House in London to preview the launch of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) London Forgotten Spaces design competition exhibition. Before I even arrived at the very impressive Somerset House, the walk across Waterloo Bridge was amazing with the sunset displaying the London skyline of Westminster and the Eye to spectacular effect!
This exhibition has on display the shortlisted 28 entries into this hugely popular Forgotten Spaces design competition launched earlier this year, which invited architects, artists, local groups and designers to nominate a forgotten space in Greater London and conceive an imaginative and inspiring proposal for its regeneration.
Have you ever wondered how our dedicated team of cartographers find the changes that they need to update on a piece of mapping data? When our 300 or so surveyors are out on the ground (or in the air) capturing changes to the landscape, it isn’t only the updated information that is supplied to the cartographers, they have to check an entire ‘chunk’ of data to find any changes.
Our cartographers manipulate and enhance the core data provided by our collection teams to produce our paper maps and small-scale data products. I’m sure you can imagine that it takes a fairly specific set of skills to do this – so do you think you’re up to the task?
Have a look at our before and after shots below. The top set has only one change, but the bottom set has six changes.
Can you find them all? Leave a comment saying where you think the changes are and we’ll reveal the answers later today.
On 17 July 2006 I stared at Ordnance Survey when my family and I relocated to the Isle of Wight from London. Yes, it was a culture shock! I remember it was a hot summer that year and the novelty of being able to walk along the beach and commuting by ferry was still exciting.
Today I leave Ordnance Survey after five and a bit years and in that time I have learnt many things, made friends and tried to become the best Civil Servant I could. There have been many projects I have worked on within the consumer space most notably being involved in the creation of the map shop and Ordnance Survey’s foray into the social media space.
On the map shop; the team and I have taken the map shop from strength to strength, adjusting and creating new way to help customers buy the right maps for their adventures. The team consisted of colleagues from Information Services, Finance, the Customer Service Centre and Supply Chain. Matt, Sophie and I, over the last couple of years, have tried out different ways of engaging with the public and I would say this time was the time I am most proud of. Continue reading 'Moving on'»
We think this is pretty cool, and it’s an example of a company creating commercial value from open data.
Lovell Johns, a company that has been providing traditional mapping products for the private and public sectors for 45 years, has created a range of Street Map Guides for Amazon’s Kindle.
Mapping on Kindle isn’t actually unique, but this is the best interface I’ve seen that manages to overcome the Kindle’s basic navigation functionality.
Downloadable within seconds, the guides contain OS Street View mapping covering the central area of each city – with London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Cardiff and Edinburgh available so far.
Users then navigate about the map using the traditional page turning buttons, plus on page click-to-navigate tools. Personally I think this is one of the more innovative commercial uses of OS OpenData I’ve seen.
There isn’t a single part of Britain that doesn’t see some change to its geography. From bustling city centre to wind-swept moorland, change is everywhere. And to help illustrate the fact, we’ve made this short film that shows the cumulative changes made to the OS MasterMap database, the nation’s 21st century geographic Doomsday Book, which is updated around 5,000 times every day.
The video shows an 18 month period in which you’ll see there isn’t a single part of the country that hasn’t been updated. That’s a lot of change.