Journey down the Thames with Minecraft

One month on from our launch of the GB Minecraft map 2.0, we’re thrilled to see thousands of you have been busy downloading and trying it out. The 83 billion blocks were built using real-world geographic data from our free-to-use OS OpenData, including OS VectorMap District and OS Terrain 50. The map shows roads, water features, forests, woodlands and even houses – you can see where you live in the Minecraft world.

London show in our Minecraft map

London shown in our Minecraft map

We produced a couple of videos last month, taking you through Snowdonia and re-imagining the Eastenders opening sequence (for a bit of variety!) and they’ve gone down a storm. So, our pioneering Minecraft mapper Joseph Braybrook has filmed a new video exploring the world he created. Continue reading “Journey down the Thames with Minecraft”

Five ways to make hiking more fun for kids

A4X3HBAttempting to enthuse your children about the prospect of a family hike may be tricky; the thought of trundling about in the cold and wet isn’t typically high on a child’s agenda unless swings or ice cream are somehow incorporated into the proceedings. However, hiking can be a hugely enjoyable and beneficial activity; allowing you all to bond, discover new parts of the country and to get some exercise.

How can you motivate your youngsters to pull on their boots and get going? Here are five ways to make hiking more fun for children: Continue reading “Five ways to make hiking more fun for kids”

Watch us in ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’

Out of the blue, a BBC researcher called the Press Office in search of “a willing work force who have to concentrate from clocking on to clocking off; whose work required the assessment of the finest detail throughout”. There were other companies in the frame to take on the task, but several calls to and fro with the comms team and we assured the BBC that we were made of the right stuff.

But now to get 24 willing volunteers to participate in a week-long experiment which involved tests morning and afternoon, and some bizarre things to eat. The number of members of staff who stepped forward for possible selection was amazing. Their interest, both in the science behind the test as well their commitment to seeing it through, was staggering.

Here’s what Christian Kirchel (one of the 24) made of his brush with a network BBC production team, a computer screen and, among other things, lots and lots of fudge!

Christian being filmed

Christian being filmed

Continue reading “Watch us in ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’”

Show off your map drawing skills – and win a trip to Lapland

Santa map competitionWe’re delighted to announce our latest competition for children up to the age of 12. We’d like you to create your own map showing the town, city or country where Santa lives. You can draw it on paper, design it on your computer or even build it in a game like Minecraft.

We’ll be choosing our favourite on 4 December 2014, and sending the winner and their family on a trip to Lapland to meet Santa in person!

Jim Goldsmith, Ordnance Survey Cartography Manager and one of the judging panel, says: “Ordnance Survey is always excited about innovation and what can be done with maps and mapping. This competition is a chance for a new generation of map makers to show us what they can do. We are looking forward to seeing where the elves live, the locations of Santa’s toy testing facility and the Christmas Jumper knitting factory, and what symbol is used for the reindeer retirement home.

Find out more about the competition and submit your entry here.

Running advice from Mara Yamauchi

run englandWe’re a fairly friendly bunch at Ordnance Survey and have a huge range of community groups from volleyball to chess and photography to cycling being represented. The OS Running Group has recently achieved a fantastic coup and arranged a visit from Mara Yamauchi, the British long-distance track and road running athlete.

Mara is the holder of the second fastest marathon time for a British woman and has represented Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games. Mara won the 2008 Osaka Marathon and was runner-up in the 2009 London Marathon.  Continue reading “Running advice from Mara Yamauchi”

Talking flood risk and response at CILA

Today’s guest blog is from Simon Goodwin at emapsite, find out more about Simon below.

This month saw over 50 members of Chartered Institute for Loss Adjusters (CILA) attend a Property Special Interest Group at the Thames Barrier. It brought together speakers on Flood Risk & Response from the Environment Agency (EA), Ordnance Survey (OS), Emapsite, RSA and more.


The afternoon seminar provided an insight into the Thames Barrier, the work of EA in relation to flooding and the data that is available to the insurance industry regarding both flood risk and the nature and extent of flooding. Continue reading “Talking flood risk and response at CILA”

25 activities to try during half term

Half term is coming…here are 25 ideas for fun outdoor activities that are suitable for children of all ages.

Wildlife spottingBirds – Autumn is great for spotting birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer, badgers and loads more. Stake out the garden or head out to the local woods and see what you can find.

Encourage children to take note of what they have spotted, so they can keep a wildlife diary or draw pictures later. Older children can try animal tracking or nocturnal wildlife spotting.

Continue reading “25 activities to try during half term”

Enabling people to live in better places

The latest GeoVation Challenge, calling for ideas to enable people in Britain to live in better places, has been running for a month now. We officially launched the challenge on Monday 15 September 2014 at The Building Centre during the London Design Festival.

Ordnance Survey, together with Land Registry,  are offering £101,000 in funding to the best ventures that address the problems of long term housing issues that we’ve identified, using  our established Problem Pow Wow methodology, in four key themes:

Affordability; Availability; Access and Infrastructure; Best use of Assets.

During the launch event speakers such as Finn Williams, Founder of Common Office and Andrew Van Doorn, Deputy Chief Executive of HACT, spoke in support of the GeoVation Housing Challenge.

Watch the video to find out more:

Continue reading “Enabling people to live in better places”

Fun uses for maps around your home

map“My late Gran had a map of the entire British Isles tattooed on her back. Think that’s odd? You say what you will about my Gran, but you always knew where you were with her.” – Harry Hill

Don’t worry – getting inked hasn’t made our list of fun uses for maps in your home. While they’ve been guiding us for centuries, paper maps can be more than just tools for exploration. Here are a few ideas of ways you could chart your adventures in your humble abode… Continue reading “Fun uses for maps around your home”

Top 10 paper maps

SnowdonAs we said earlier this year, we’re committed to maintaining our paper map production, and we sold almost 2 million maps last year alone. That’s a pretty impressive number with the rapid growth of GPS and more people using digital data – including with our own apps like OS MapFinder.

Our paper maps cover the whole of Great Britain, with 403 OS Explorer Maps and 204 OS Landranger Maps.  However, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s our Outdoor Leisure (OL) range, covering the main tourist areas in the country which continue to prove the most popular. Continue reading “Top 10 paper maps”