Have you tried our GB Minecraft 2.0 map?

Joseph Braybrook and the GB Minecraft 2 mapOne year on from the release of GB Minecraft, we launched GB Minecraft 2.0. This free-to-download Minecraft map offers gamers a much more natural-looking and detailed version of Great Britain.

Last summer our intern Joseph Braybrook created the original Minecraft map, which, at the time, with its 22 billion blocks, was thought to be the largest Minecraft map in existence built using real-world geographic data. This year Joseph, who recently re-joined us full-time as a member of our graduate scheme, has improved upon his previous work by using a staggering 83 billion blocks to create a new map of Great Britain. Continue reading “Have you tried our GB Minecraft 2.0 map?”

Five activities to try on an autumn Sunday

Autumn day outEven though the nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and the prospect of long days at the beach have to be packed away until next year, autumn is still a favourite season for many Brits. There’s something about coppery trees, fresh mornings and turning your collar up against the breeze that holds real appeal.

For all the bracing majesty of autumn, though, it can often feel as though there isn’t much to do that hasn’t already been done. Summer holidays and day trips with the family can sometimes leave the feeling that anything worth doing within a reasonable distance has already been covered.

This needn’t be the case, however, as there are numerous activities that are at their best when done in autumn. Here are five such examples that are indeed more autumnal than casseroles, halloween and mittens. Continue reading “Five activities to try on an autumn Sunday”

It’s a surveyor’s life…

We currently have 250 field surveyors who contribute to the 10,000 changes taking place every day in our database. Thanks to them our master map of Great Britain is constantly, subtly shifting and changing. Luckily, the country is nothing if not varied, and not all of our surveyors are pounding concrete and worrying about urban canyons (the phenomena of being in an area so built up that satellite signals – can’t reach their GNSS kit). Some spend their days surrounded by sheep, not Starbucks. One such surveyor is Guy Rodger who looks after Shetland. Guy’s worked for OS for 30 years and spends an average of four weeks in Shetland every year and has to carefully plan his work to maximise his time there. I caught up with him recently to ask him some questions.


Guy at the Bird Observatory back in 2010

Continue reading “It’s a surveyor’s life…”

Summer interns get to grips with OS OpenSpace and open data – part two

Catch up on part two of our posts about the experiences of four of our summer interns, working in the Research team.

Each year we recruit a number of paid interns to come and work with various teams around our business over the summer period. This year, four of our interns went to work in our Research team and were tasked with investigating how maps could bring data to life. They each set up an OS OpenSpace map on a website, using some of the wealth of open data out there to overlay on the maps and give users a new map experience.

This week, find out how Caroline and Fred got on. Note that the maps are currently hosted internally using a test API, so we can’t share them with you, but we’ve used screen shots to illustrate the story.

Caroline Janes from University of Stirling

“When I came to Ordnance Survey 6 weeks ago I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the organisation and its fame for map-making but not much else. After working here for a while I’ve realised that collection and exchange of high quality data is really important to the company. The maps, apps and other media are just an interface for some of this data.

Tony, our friendly Cornish supervisor, briefed us on our project: data collection and analysis of 3rd party data. For this I then found sources in English Heritage and the Defence of Britain Archive.


Continue reading “Summer interns get to grips with OS OpenSpace and open data – part two”

Does walking really improve your creativity?

Walking“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

So observed eminent philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in his book ‘Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophise with a Hammer’. Whilst Nietzsche’s comments were recorded more than 125 years ago, they’ve been backed up much more recently by researchers from America’s Stanford University in an article published in the ‘Journal of Experimental Psychology’.

When comparing walking with sitting, the group found the former to boost creative output by up to 60 per cent. This, analysts have claimed, is also the reason why technology progressors Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg regularly held meetings on foot.

So why are so many people of the view that walking boosts creativity, and what evidence is there to prove that the views of both Friedrich Nietzsche and Stanford researchers are right? Continue reading “Does walking really improve your creativity?”

11 of Great Britain’s best views

Great Britain has breathtaking, historic and awe-inspiring views around every corner. The likes of William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, John Constable and Charles Dickens were all indebted to the British countryside for some of their most lauded works.

Whether it’s stunning cityscapes, majestic mountains or charming coastlines, there are plenty of views that can stop you dead in your tracks. Here are 11 of our favourites…

St Ives Harbour

Chris White © - St Ives Harbour

© Chris White – St Ives Harbour

Continue reading “11 of Great Britain’s best views”

Sign up for our free OS OpenData masterclasses

Last week we launched the latest GeoVation Challenge in partnership with Land Registry, asking for solutions on ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’ We are looking for great ideas which use geography, technology and good design, with entrants having the opportunity to win a share of £101,000 in funding to bring their ideas to reality. All entrants to the GeoVation Housing Challenge must use Ordnance Survey open or paid for data and Land Registry licensable data in their business ventures.

To support the latest GeoVation Challenge and to help people gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques to use open datasets, we’re hosting a further series of our free opendata masterclasses, at five locations across England and Wales.

OSOpenData masterclass icon Continue reading “Sign up for our free OS OpenData masterclasses”

Working Internationally

Posted by: Steven Ramage

SkylineOver the last 20 years I’ve worked with Ordnance Survey as a partner, supplier and collaborator through various roles. In August 2012 I eventually became an employee, joining to create the new overseas business of Ordnance Survey International. The last couple of years have flown past and when I look back at what I started with just myself and Carsten Roensdorf, who is based out in Dubai, I have to say it has been an exciting ride.

Ordnance Survey International is now a good-sized team, working with organisations in various parts of the world and everyday facing interesting and challenging business demands. We set out with the initial goal of advising other nations of the value of geographic information and to help them understand how to build on this. Ordnance Survey has invested extensively over the last 12-15 years, learning many lessons along the way, and our role is to share those lessons and provide guidance to assist other nations to develop their capabilities quickly and sustainably.

One of those lessons is international geospatial standards. The most advanced mapping organisations promote, support and endorse the use of international geospatial standards, which allow interoperability of geospatial information, devices, applications, services and networks. Ordnance Survey makes an important contribution to international geospatial standards, the recent paper co-authored by myself and Gerardo Esparza from INEGI Mexico: http://ggim.un.org/docs/meetings/GGIM4/National%20Mapping%20Authority%20Perspective%20-%20International%20Geospatial%20Standards.pdf provides detail on the importance of geospatial standards from the national mapping perspective.

In addition to international geospatial standards development, Ordnance Survey International provides advice on business planning, policy development, pricing and licensing and technology acquisition – based on the real progress Ordnance Survey has made in these areas.

Our ability to guide nations in developing their own national mapping capability through alignment of business strategy and vision and addressing operational capacity and capability enforces Ordnance Survey as a very well-respected and high-quality brand, not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world.

How do you make sense of the disparate, exponential explosion of data?

The city of LondonHarnessing the power of big data presents businesses with a phenomenal business opportunity. The question is, are they ready for it? McKinsey in their recent report on big data, assert that it will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus, with personal navigation data alone being worth $800bn worldwide during the current decade. The business value to be derived from big data comes from finding new insights, what is termed predictive analytics, and the process efficiencies that flow from using new tools and techniques for information management, manipulation and visualisation.

At its simplest level, big data refers to a mass of information held digitally, that is so large, making it difficult to analyse, search and process. Businesses already hold vast amounts of data, but now they can gather even more from new sources such as GPS-enabled devices, social media postings and CCTV footage.  Continue reading “How do you make sense of the disparate, exponential explosion of data?”

Launching the GeoVation Housing Challenge

We’ve teamed up with Land Registry to launch the latest GeoVation Challenge ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’

We 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; Assets (best use of).

Watch the video below to find out more:

Continue reading “Launching the GeoVation Housing Challenge”