The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – a legacy of geospatial support?

Guest blog by Duncan Moss, Duncan is our Major Event Practice Lead 

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games gave Britain a lasting sporting and cultural legacy – if you visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (formerly known as the Olympic Park) this winter you can join the crowds enjoying a wide range of world-class sporting events. Whether cheering on the England women’s netball team as they take on Malawi or supporting London’s only professional basketball team in the Copper Box Arena, it’s easy to forget that such events are made possible thanks to our reputation for delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable environment as was experienced during London 2012.

Customised map of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park we produced with the Institute of Civil Engineers

Continue reading “The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – a legacy of geospatial support?”

Drive me to the moon…

Following the government’s recent announcements around investing in roads and infrastructure across Britain, we decided to take a dip into our database and investigate some of the 460 million features in there. We make over 10,000 changes a day to the geographic database of Great Britain and are already looking forward to capturing the details of any new roads, as well as changes to existing ones.

Take a look at some of the figures we’ve pulled out from our database.


Using machine learning to build the future of 3D mapping


Earlier this year we made the alpha release of our building height attributes available to our existing OS MasterMap Topography Layer customers. Almost 20 million building heights across Great Britain were released as an early step in our migration to enhanced 3D geometry and we’ve been gathering feedback ever since.

One of the most common themes being fed into our OS Insight programme has been around the shapes of roofs, as this can help our customers make planning decisions, create realistic views and model sunlight and telephone signals around buildings. Our Research team have started to look into this for the future development of our product.

Currently, our building heights define the bottom of the building, and the top and bottom of the roof. Isabel Sargent and David Holland in our Research team have been working on a small project to see whether it’s possible to automatically extract the shape class of each roof and whether buildings that don’t fit simple height data can be identified.

Continue reading “Using machine learning to build the future of 3D mapping”

Confirmation on changes to latitude and longitude shown on our paper maps

Back in September we asked you to tell us your thoughts on proposed changes to the way we show latitude and longitude on our paper maps (currently as shown below). .. and the results are in!


Thank you to the 710 of you who completed the short survey (plus those of you commenting here on the blog) for taking the time to consider the question and let us know your thoughts. An overwhelming majority of respondents supported the proposed change (combining the answers saying it would improve or make no difference to their use of OS paper maps). Continue reading “Confirmation on changes to latitude and longitude shown on our paper maps”

Over 3000 new public sector organisations now signed up to map agreement

This month we’ve reached an important milestone as over 3000 new members have now joined the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). The latest members are all local councils, with Stourton, Tasley, Kingston and Devon & Horsington Parish Council joining the thousands of other public sector members.

Public sector case studies on tablet

We’re now three and a half years into the 10-year agreement between government and Ordnance Survey which allows public sector bodies in England and Wales to use our datasets. We’ve already seen the PSMA helping the public sector to improve service delivery in areas such as planning, transportation management, and education services making them more efficient and effective. As well as central government departments including local authorities, health organisations and ambulance trusts can all benefit. Public sector bodies in Scotland have a very similar agreement in the One Scotland Mapping Agreement. Continue reading “Over 3000 new public sector organisations now signed up to map agreement”

Recognising excellence at the AGI Awards

MinecraftWe were extremely pleased to see our own Minecraft project and one of our Partners recognised at the prestigious AGI Awards this month. Recognising the very best achievements in the field of geographic information throughout the year, the awards mark the climax of Geocom, AGI’s annual flagship conference event, which this year ran under the title ‘The Changing Face of Geo’.

We scooped a Best Geospatial Data Visualisation prize for our GB Minecraft map, collected on the evening by Joseph Braybrook (pictured, left), creator of the map. The award recognised the importance of the visual representation of geospatial data to convey a story or message, and the judges were looking for powerful methods of using geospatial data in visualising and communicating a message.  Continue reading “Recognising excellence at the AGI Awards”

Digimap for Schools reaches 2000 subscribers

The Digimap for Schools service has hit a milestone with 2,000 primary and secondary schools now signed up. This gives hundreds of thousands of pupils access to the latest Ordnance Survey digital data, including our most detailed maps, OS MasterMap.


The fantastic service, developed by EDINA at the University of Edinburgh, is available to all schools in Great Britain. The key resource ensures that teachers and students can access the Ordnance Survey maps as defined in the National Curriculum. As well as our famous OS Explorer mapping at 1:25,000 scale, which is ideal for outdoor activities, there is a new historic map layer, extending its potential for use in schools across a wider spectrum of the national curriculum.  Continue reading “Digimap for Schools reaches 2000 subscribers”

Test your knowledge with a map symbol quiz

We thought it was about time to test your knowledge with a map symbols quiz. When you’re out and about using our well-known OS Landranger and OS Explorer Maps – do you know what all of the symbols mean? They’re there to give you valuable information about the environment you’re in.

Aside from highlighting tourist and leisure information, map symbols also provide vital information to let map readers know what to expect on the terrain they’re crossing. Information ranges from the kind of vegetation you can expect to encounter to detail on roads, public rights of way and even different rock features. If you would like to know more about map symbols, try the Simon King and Ordnance Survey video on understanding map symbols. It’s one of a series of short videos explaining the basics on using maps.

In the meantime though, have a go at our quiz and post your answers on the blog. We’ll be revealing the answers later…

GeoVation winners launch their Medal Routes App

Medal Routes WEB VERSIONGeoVation winners Ramblers Scotland launched their Medal Routes App this week. The team developed their free app using Ordnance Survey data to inspire people to be more active in their daily lives, fitting the GeoVation challenge to encourage active lifestyles in Great Britain.

The Medal Routes App identifies and maps short circular walks at three different levels, gold, silver and bronze. These walking challenges encourage people throughout Scotland to integrate walking into their daily life. They can progress from short 15 minute walks (bronze) to walking for up to an hour (gold). Wherever people are they will have hundreds of walks at their fingertips and, through the games and challenges in the app, incentives to walk and add and map their own routes. Continue reading “GeoVation winners launch their Medal Routes App”

Putting nature back on the map

Guest post from Holly Barber at Simon King Wildlife

We need the natural world for our own survival. With the inexorable and rapid rise in human populations and our insatiable appetite for resources, has come an unsustainable drain on the life support systems upon which we all depend. This is reflected in many global crises, but can be witnessed close to home in the catastrophic loss of wildlife and wild places.

The Simon King Wildlife Project was born of a desire to turn the tide against the loss of natural habitats and begin a movement to reclaim land for the natural world.


The Simon King Wildlife Project founder – naturalist, broadcaster and author Simon King OBE – took the first positive step on this journey in 2010, when he bought a 10 acre plot of overworked pastureland in Somerset and set about converting it into a haven for wildlife. In four short years the changes have been miraculous, with the variety and volume of wild creatures and wild plants and flowers on the land increasing enormously. This success story convinced Simon that landscape scale projects of a similar nature were possible, and The Simon King Wildlife Project was born. Continue reading “Putting nature back on the map”