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”

Talking ‘Big Data’ at AGI

Guest post by Matthew White, Senior Data and Services Relationship Manager at Ordnance Survey

AGIBig5LogoAt the end of September over 160 delegates came together for a conference on big data and location at IBM’s client centre in London. The conference was organised by the Association for Geographic (AGI), who have been hosting a series of conferences in 2014 focussing on the big initiatives impacting upon the use of location data and technologies in the UK.  The big data and location conference was the fourth conference in this series, and we were involved as sponsors at the event. The conference brought together speakers from leading organisations including Deloitte, Marks and Spencer, Telefonica, Google and Capgemini.  Continue reading “Talking ‘Big Data’ at AGI”

How to plan a scavenger hunt

Finding a GeocacheFrom geocaching to Easter egg hunts around the house for the kids, we love a scavenger hunt. These games have everything: you have to be quick on the mental draw; you get a bit of exercise when you race from point to point, and you get to satisfy your competitive nature by being the first to collect all items being hunted.

A great scavenger hunt can provide hours of entertainment, improve team-work skills and get you out and about in nature, yet they don’t require much more than a well-thought-out plan. Here are a few tips to help you plan your own… Continue reading “How to plan a scavenger hunt”

Re-surveying Snowdon

Regular blog readers will have come across Myrddyn Phillips and his intrepid team of mountain measurers from G&J Surveys previously.Their latest challenge focused on Snowdon and on Tuesday 2 September, Myrddyn’s team and our own geodetic expert Mark Greaves, set off up Wales’ highest peak along with a film crew. The re-survey was being covered by ITV Wales as part of their programme ‘The Mountain’.


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Singing or walking in the rain? Wet weather gear guide

There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothingIf you spend any time outdoors in the UK, chances are that at some point it’s going to rain. Especially as we move into autumn and the wet days substantially increase.

However, this does not mean that you have to stay indoors. Having the right gear can turn walking in the rain from a sodden trudge into an adventure, as well as allowing you to plan longer walks all year round.

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10 fascinating facts

We have over 460 million geographic features in our database and make around 10,000 changes a day to the master map of Great Britain. We’ve been crunching the numbers and extracted some fascinating facts and figures from a range of Ordnance Survey data products – including freely available OS OpenData such as the Meridian 2 road and rail networks – our addressing and location datasets, and OS MasterMap Topography Layer.

Did you know there are 93,733 postbox locations stored in our data? Or that there are 29,105,155 residential addresses located in Great Britain? Check our infographic to see the 10 fascinating facts.


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The longest solo occupation of Rockall

nick-hancock-rockall23Today’s guest blog is by Nick Hancock

In June 2014, I landed for the second time on the remote Isle of Rockall which lies around 250 miles off the Outer Hebrides in the North Atlantic. I had already landed on Rockall in 2012 on a reconnaissance for Rockall Solo. The challenge was now for me to survive on the rock on my own in order to set two new endurance records: THE LONGEST SOLO OCCUPATION OF ROCKALL and THE LONGEST OCCUPATION OF ROCKALL IN HISTORY.

During my 45-day record-breaking occupation of the remote Isle of Rockall in order to help pass the extended time alone I measured and mapped the summit of Rockall and Hall’s Ledge, the only vaguely level area on the rock, where my shelter, the ‘RockPod’, was secured. In addition, in an attempt to update the current United Kingdom Hydrographical Office (UKHO) 1977 Doppler sourced records relating to the position and height of Rockall, I installed a fixed permanent survey marker on the summit plateau of the rock, from which on 13 June and 14 July I ran two 24-hour data collection sessions using the Leica GS10 GNSS receiver with AS10 antenna which had been loaned to me for the expedition by Leica Geosystems. Continue reading “The longest solo occupation of Rockall”

A beginner’s guide to trail running

Trail running mudIf you’ve been running off-road, through woodlands and footpaths that take you up gentle hills and down intermittent slopes, then whether you know it or not, you’ve been trail running.

According to several authorities, trail running takes place on softer, more cushioned terrain like grass and mud. It’s defined as ‘heading off the beaten track’ on routes that aren’t marked nor in some cases even actual paths at all. Some interchange ‘trail’ and ‘fell’ running, but the two concepts are quite different, with the latter acknowledged as far more ‘rugged, rocky and extreme’.

Is trail running, therefore, as simple as running on any surface that isn’t solid? Not exactly. It’s about leaving the hustle and bustle of leaving everyday life behind; it’s about feeling the breeze on your face, negotiating tree roots and being alert for overgrown branches. It’s about spotting wildlife (I actually encountered a deer on one of my recent runs) and enjoying nature. Essentially, it’s more fun than running on the road.

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St Kilda – on the map


Being remote and uninhabited is not reason enough for Ordnance Survey to cease worrying about St Kilda. It is part of Great Britain, visited by researchers and tourists, and it contains the echo of population in buildings which still exist on the island. St Kilda has had a bigger effect on our data than it would initially seem from first glance. The islands and the unique practices of its former inhabitants has yielded its own lexicon – cleits – which feature in the surveyor bible known as the Data Capture and Edit Guide.

            Cleit – A dry stone structure, usually with a turfed roof, used for storage. Unique to the St Kilda archipelago.

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