Journey down the Thames with Minecraft

One month on from our launch of the GB Minecraft map 2.0, we’re thrilled to see thousands of you have been busy downloading and trying it out. The 83 billion blocks were built using real-world geographic data from our free-to-use OS OpenData, including OS VectorMap District and OS Terrain 50. The map shows roads, water features, forests, woodlands and even houses – you can see where you live in the Minecraft world.

London show in our Minecraft map

London shown in our Minecraft map

We produced a couple of videos last month, taking you through Snowdonia and re-imagining the Eastenders opening sequence (for a bit of variety!) and they’ve gone down a storm. So, our pioneering Minecraft mapper Joseph Braybrook has filmed a new video exploring the world he created. Continue reading “Journey down the Thames with Minecraft”

Running advice from Mara Yamauchi

run englandWe’re a fairly friendly bunch at Ordnance Survey and have a huge range of community groups from volleyball to chess and photography to cycling being represented. The OS Running Group has recently achieved a fantastic coup and arranged a visit from Mara Yamauchi, the British long-distance track and road running athlete.

Mara is the holder of the second fastest marathon time for a British woman and has represented Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games. Mara won the 2008 Osaka Marathon and was runner-up in the 2009 London Marathon.  Continue reading “Running advice from Mara Yamauchi”

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”

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’.


Continue reading “Re-surveying Snowdon”

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.


Continue reading “10 fascinating facts”

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”

Congratulations to our winning team from the Dell Corporate Challenge

DellCCTeamThe weekend of 27-28 September saw a seven-strong OS team competing in the Dell Corporate Challenge, a two-day adventure race in the Brecon Beacons. It was a full-on weekend for the team with ten multi-discipline stages over 67 kilometres. John Horton was part of the OS team and explains about the event.

The team was drawn from various areas of the business and, although we all knew of each other (usually through sporting activities, including lunchtime runs), most of us had never worked together. The six competitors were: Team Captain John Horton (speciality: orienteering); Ian Smith (speciality: triathlon); Peat Allan (speciality: fell running); Naomi Stanley (speciality: kayaking); James Crawford (speciality: mountain biking) and Keith Spiers (speciality: stepping in at the last minute/running). All the stages had to be completed by the team of six competitors while our support, David Jones (speciality: always being in the right place with the camera) had the task of meeting us at stage finishes to resupply us with food, drink and moral support. Continue reading “Congratulations to our winning team from the Dell Corporate Challenge”

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?”

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”