Unveiled today – London like you’ve never seen it before – thanks to an OS treasure trove

Guest blog by David Roberts, Ordnance Survey’s Land and Property Strategic Relationship Manager 

The tens of thousands of pieces of geographical data and knowledge about London, which OS capture every year, have been brought to life in a unique way. The largest ever model of London, commissioned by New London Architecture and sponsored by OS, has been unveiled today on the London Stand at MIPIM, the annual get together of the most influential international property players in the world in the most elegant of French locations – Cannes.

Model pictured at Pipers' Ashford offices

Model pictured at Pipers’ Ashford offices

Continue reading “Unveiled today – London like you’ve never seen it before – thanks to an OS treasure trove”

Happy 10th birthday to Geograph

If you haven’t come across it before, the Geograph website is collecting photos for every grid square in Great Britain and Ireland. The website launched in March 2005, with the first photo being submitted on 6 March by Helena Downton, for grid square SO8001, showing Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire (worth a visit by the way if you’re in the area).

Woodchester Mansion photo by Helena Downton

Woodchester Mansion photo by Helena Downton

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Explore literary Britain on World Book Day

Wolf HallDid you know today is World Book Day 2015? The imagination is a powerful thing and there’s nothing like a good book to transport you away into another life, another place or even another world. Sometimes authors illustrate their literary locations with maps, showcasing the fantasy worlds they are creating, such as in The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. At other times, you’ll be reading a book and feel a little thrill as some local spot or well-loved holiday memory is brought alive as it is woven into the book you are reading.

In other cases, places or buildings actually become synonymous with a book or author. Who can visit Stratford-Upon-Avon without thinking of William Shakespeare? Or visit London’s Kings Cross Station without wondering if there’s a platform 9 3/4 (there is now), thanks to the phenomenon of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books? From Thomas Hardy’s Dorset to Jane Austen’s Bath, there are dozens if not hundreds of places around Britain that have a literary connection.

We’ve put together eight maps, using our OS VectorMap products, showing places that are connected with a book or author – can you names them all? We’ve started you off with an easy one…post your answers on the blog. Continue reading “Explore literary Britain on World Book Day”

3 reasons why OS maps are the perfect companion for urban exploration

Described as the ‘pure enjoyment of exploring places that most wouldn’t go, maneuvering mazes and obstacles of days gone by’, urban exploration is a growing trend amongst adventure and photography enthusiasts taking outdoor pursuits from the countryside into the urban landscape.

Here at Ordnance Survey we offer all of the mapping information you need to get involved with this exciting new craze, and here’s why we’re the perfect partners to do so… Continue reading “3 reasons why OS maps are the perfect companion for urban exploration”

Check out some of the great entries we’ve had so far for #OSPhotofit – keep them coming!

We’re three weeks into our new photo competition – #OSPhotofit – and we are over the moon with the response we’ve had so far! We’ve currently received a whopping 5,900 entries and we’re hugely impressed with all of the photos that have been submitted! Take a look at a selection of some of the entries that have caught our eye so far, below.

Tim Boden’s adventurous take on a hike in the Lake District

Tim Boden’s adventurous take on a hike in the Lake District

A beautifully serene snap of the Peak District from Carol Schoen

A beautifully serene snap of the Peak District from Carol Schoen

Continue reading “Check out some of the great entries we’ve had so far for #OSPhotofit – keep them coming!”

A history of paper maps

We’ve recently launched our OS Photofit competition, giving you the chance to see your photos on the latest covers of our paper map ranges. This isn’t the first change we’ve made to our map covers, you can chart their history in this short video:

Our most iconic maps, the pink OS Landrangers and the orange OS Explorers, have been used by walkers, cyclists, climbers and many more for decades – but maybe not for as long as you would think. Continue reading “A history of paper maps”

Talking maps, beautiful Britain and #OSPhotofit with Bonita Norris

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Bonita taking part in a TV interview at OS head office

We were thrilled to have Bonita Norris in our head office last week, helping us launch the #OSPhotofit competition. In 2010, at the age of 22, Bonita became the youngest British woman to reach the summit of Everest. Her next challenge is taking her back to the Himalayas and she also squeezes in time to present for Red Bull on extreme sports. So, abseiling down our head office and taking part in dozens of radio and TV interviews on launch day must have seemed like a walk in the park. In between all of the interviews, and filming videos for us on how to enter OS Photofit and how to fold a paper map, we also caught up with Bonita to ask a few questions…


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What can an Ordnance Survey paper map help you discover on your next outdoor adventure? We ask Nick Lindsay, product manager of OS paper maps

triathlon1-nickIn light of our new competition – OS Photofit we interviewed Nick Lindsay, paper maps product manager here at Ordnance Survey on what makes paper maps great! Here’s what he had to say…

Can you tell us about the history behind Ordnance Survey’s paper maps?

Ordnance Survey is Britain’s mapping agency and what we do is connect all of the mapping data needed for publication of mapping products and services covering all 250,000 square kilometers of Great Britain. We’ve been doing this since 1791, with our first map produced in 1801 and our Outdoor Leisure maps materialising in the 1970s!

To see for yourself how our paper maps have changed in the last 200 years, check out this short video. Continue reading “What can an Ordnance Survey paper map help you discover on your next outdoor adventure? We ask Nick Lindsay, product manager of OS paper maps”

How to capture a great landscape photo

Naturalist and film-maker Simon King was the perfect choice to join the judging panel for our OS Photofit competition as we look for landscape photos to feature on our maps. If you’re thinking of entering and capturing some stunning snaps of Britain, read Simon’s tips. 

Capturing a still image that tells a story is the Holy Grail for many photographers. For a picture to reveal more than just a moment in time takes careful planning, an eye for detail and a good dose of luck.

Ordnance Survey have always sought to adorn the covers of their maps with images that capture both a sense of place and a flavour of the unique character that defines that place.

Landscape photography is a discipline that on the surface appears simple and yet, like so many things, requires careful consideration before executing it.  It helps if you know the lie of the land you intend to capture, and a great place to start is by carefully studying… yep you guessed it…an OS map!  You should be able to locate viewpoints and features of interest before setting foot outside.

Use a map to find the best spot to take a photo (photo by Paul Shaw)

Use a map to find the best spot to take a photo (photo by Paul Shaw)

Continue reading “How to capture a great landscape photo”