St Kilda – on the map

Kilda

Being remote and uninhabited is not reason enough for Ordnance Survey to cease worrying about St Kilda. It is part of Great Britain, visited by researchers and tourists, and it contains the echo of population in buildings which still exist on the island. St Kilda has had a bigger effect on our data than it would initially seem from first glance. The islands and the unique practices of its former inhabitants has yielded its own lexicon – cleits – which feature in the surveyor bible known as the Data Capture and Edit Guide.

            Cleit – A dry stone structure, usually with a turfed roof, used for storage. Unique to the St Kilda archipelago.

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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:

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Proposed changes to latitude and longitude representation on paper maps – tell us your thoughts

We’re considering changing the overlay showing latitude and longitude markers on Ordnance Survey paper maps. This would mean moving towards the overlay showing latitude and longitude used on GPS devices, to help bring digital navigation devices and paper maps closer together and work more in harmony. We believe this would have little impact on the majority of users of our paper maps; however, we would like your opinions on this change to ensure we fully consider all options and impacts before we make a final decision.

We’d like you to read the information below, and, if you would like to share your thoughts on how this would affect you, complete our short survey by Friday 3 October.

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ResilienceDirect – making the UK a safer place

ResilienceDirect-lauraResilienceDirect™ is making fantastic strides in the emergency response service arena. It has been created specifically for “blue light” responders along with their public and private sector planning and response partners.

Luana Avagliano (pictured right), Head of the ResilienceDirect team in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat – Cabinet Office explains about the role of ResilienceDirect, “It’s quite simply to make the UK a safer place. ResilienceDirect is the UK’s secure platform for multi-agency partnerships to share information in both emergency response and in planning. It is essential that the Resilience Community have the best tools and services to support them in effective decision-making at the tactical and strategic levels”. Continue reading “ResilienceDirect – making the UK a safer place”

Putting Coronation Street on the map

Coronation Street surveyor - main shotOur surveyors roam the length and breadth of the country, but it’s not every day that they get to visit Britain’s most famous cobbled street. We’re always talking about making 10,000 changes a day to the master map of Great Britain and keeping the 460 million features in our database up-to-date – and our latest changes include the new set of Coronation Street!

The new map follows the recent move of the Coronation Street lot from ITV’s Quay Street studios to its new purpose built state-of-the-art home in Trafford. With updates ranging from changes in kerb lines to the addition of new roads, houses and retail properties, it’s not surprising to see the Street being captured in our most detailed mapping, OS MasterMap. Continue reading “Putting Coronation Street on the map”

Win £35k in the Connected Cities contest

Connected Cities

After the success of the Digital Innovation Contest – Data, Ordnance Survey is pleased to continue its partnership with IC Tomorrow with the Connected Cities Innovation contest.

Digital start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can secure up to £35k funding each in a new IC tomorrow contest that aims to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of urbanisation.

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British geology added to Ordnance Survey Minecraft map

It’s almost a year since one of summer interns, Joseph Braybook, built a Minecraft world using OS OpenData products, representing over 224,000 square kilometers of Great Britain and we made it available for you to download and explore. We’ve seen around 170,000 downloads since last September, and it seems particularly fitting, that as the one year anniversary draws near, the British Geological Survey (BGS) have gone one step further and recreated the geology of Great Britain beneath the surface. 

Drawing on inspiration from our map last year, the new BGS Minecraft map uses our surface data and adds in their own information on the rough position of real geology beneath, right down to the bedrock. BGS produced the Minecraft blocks using data from their parent material map. In the UK, parent materials provide the basic foundations and building blocks of the soil, influencing their texture, structure, drainage and chemistry.

By peeling away the surface OS map, BGS show the underlying geology beneath the Isle of Wight.

By peeling away the surface OS map, BGS show the underlying geology beneath the Isle of Wight.

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Could you find your way using a map and a compass?

We said a couple of weeks ago that we had wildlife and outdoors expert Simon King in our Southampton head office being interviewed on numerous radio stations about the importance of navigation and knowing where you are. Simon also filmed a short video for us that day. Filmed in the glorious New Forest, Simon and the camera crew interviewed a number of visitors to find out their navigation skills, before reminding us of the basics.

Watch the video below:

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Putting Doctor Who’s Tardis on the map

Tomorrow night will see the much-anticipated return of Doctor Who on our TV screens, with the new Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. We’ll be pleased to see the Tardis back on our screens because of its connection to our maps. As you may know know, the real-life function of those boxes that the Tardis has adopted, was as a telephone call box connecting you to your local police station.

Doctor Who Tardis map


In the early 20th century, hundreds of police call boxes (PCBs) sat on street corners waiting to be used. As phone boxes became more common place (first the famous red design and now the more modern glass version) and then home phones and mobiles phones took over, the PCBs fell out of use.

However, many of them still exist around the country – and for those in their original locations, they are still on our mapping data. Some 203 PCBs are still marked on our maps, although only a fraction of those are recognisable as the Tardis that we still know and love today.  Continue reading “Putting Doctor Who’s Tardis on the map”