Have you seen Crimewatch recently? Or maybe you were a fan of The Bill or the crime series Luther? If you have, then you may have spotted some Ordnance Survey mapping in the background.
Our Corporate Communications team supply mapping to be used in the background of TV series, amongst other media uses. While these are usually crime-based programmes, we have also supplied mapping extracts for Time Team for example. Very often, a map is the best way to illustrate a point or clearly show what happened and where and bring a story to life.
In these pictures from a Crimewatch programme and from the set of The Bill, OS Street View is being used to show where an attack took place and OS MasterMap Imagery Layer has been used to show the locations of two people’s houses. In the case of Crimewatch, this can help jog viewer’s memories about whether they were in the area and whether they may have been witnesses to some aspect of the crime.
Katie Bodinger, a researcher for Crimewatch told me about the important role maps play. “At a glance, maps allow us to establish the geography of the story and where specific events unfolded. Cases often involve multiple locations, which need to be shown in context and in relation to each other. This both enhances the audience’s viewing experience and significantly improves the likelihood of the appeal being successful.”
Of course, in real life, the emergency services also use our data to help them. When responding to an emergency call-out, police teams need to know the exact location of the incident. Sending officers to the wrong site wastes precious time, prolonging a crime and even risking lives. Giving command and control officers digital mapping tools at their fingertips means that a caller’s detailed location can be pinpointed and passed to officers verbally or through their in-vehicle navigation systems.
It’s always worth bearing in mind that the quickest route to an incident is not necessarily the shortest one. With the intelligence provided by our OS MasterMap road network information, the best route can be identified quickly, taking into consideration road restrictions and known congestion areas.
As well as all that, integrated geographic data can provide intelligence regarding patterns of crime and other incidents for reports and periodic analysis, helping to inform resource planning and incident prediction.
So, next time you see some mapping on the TV, see whether you can spot the Ordnance Survey logo. And when you see our emergency services out and about, think how our data is underpinning the work they do to help them deliver the best service they can.