Map reading is an essential skill for any explorer or outdoor enthusiast, but can seem really daunting if you haven’t looked at an OS map since your Geography GCSE! To help you to get the most out of your map, and to #GetOutside to explore the Great British countryside, we’ve teamed up with Steve Backshall and recorded a series of videos. They take you through the basics step by step and we’ll be showcasing Steve’s top tips to help you feel confident with your map.
Over the next six weeks we’ll cover:
- Which map is right for you
- Understanding map symbols
- Making sense of contour lines
- How to read a grid reference, both four-figure and six-figure versions
- Knowing your compass and how to take a compass bearing
- Understanding magnetic north
Last week we released a virtual Ben Nevis to explore on Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. Our development team created versions in Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. David Haynes was one of the two developers in our OS Labs team who worked on the virtual reality Ben Nevis. We caught up with him to find out more about virtual reality and where it could be taking us…
David – where do you think VR is heading short, medium and long term?
Short – gaming, architectural visualisation, immersive experiences (cinema, tours, etc).
Medium – shared collaboration environments. Possible remote work for dangerous/high risk environments.
Not content with turning OS data into a Minecraft world, our OS Labs team have now created a virtual Ben Nevis to explore on Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. In Oculus Rift, our developers have created a game where players race against the clock to find a hidden trig pillar. For those of us without access to Oculus Rift, our dev team have built a virtual reality tour of Ben Nevis. You can try it out on iOS and Android along with Google Cardboard to experience the virtual reality 3D affect.
Guest blog by OS Partner Rob Smith from Away Team Software
Twenty years ago, photography was an expensive hobby which needed specialist kit. Then some bright spark had the idea of putting a digital camera into a mobile phone, and suddenly taking photos became cheap, easy and accessible to all. It was revolutionary.
Location tracking is undergoing a similar metamorphosis with the advent of apps like Trkd™ (pron. tracked). Using our space industry experience, Away Team has designed a GPS app perfectly tailored to mobile devices, to make the most of the limited resources available. It’s easy to use, small enough for budget phones, and supported by the free Maps service on our website to show users their tracks on OS Open Data maps and satellite images.
It’s not every day that you can connect a geography lesson to Premier League football, but we’ve had a few questions along those lines recently. We hear that some teachers have been challenging their students to plot the locations of Britain’s Premier League teams on a map. Are you up to the challenge, could you create a map of Premier League football clubs?
Our Carto Design team have put together a couple of options to help you out (and an answer sheet). Whether you’re a geography teacher looking for a set of resources, a student needing help with your homework, or just fancy a challenge, give it a go here.
Mapping the Premier League – hard option
We’ve created an outline map of Britain – you just need to add the 20 Premier League teams in the right spots. Click on the image to download a PDF of the map that you can print.
Mapping the Premier League – easier option
Fantastic news for Digimap for Schools users – a second historic map layer has been added in. Teachers and students using the popular online map service can now directly compare maps of the 1890s, the 1950s and the present day.
The new historic 1950s map layer covers the whole of Great Britain and can be viewed on its own, or overlaid onto the 1890s or current mapping. You can make the most recent map on view translucent to easily see how the landscape has changed.
We took a look at a few areas around Britain to see how development, changes in industry, and changes in land use have affected them.
Basingstoke has seen huge growth as we track it from the 1950s to present day. Basingstoke market was mentioned in the Domesday Book and remained a small market town until the 1950s, when rapid development began to deal with the London ‘overspill’.
We took on an unusual mapping challenge recently by supporting Hyundai’s ‘A Streetcar Named Hyundai’ campaign. They are driving, photographing and filming all 2005 miles of central London’s streets as defined by the world-famous cabbie ‘Knowledge’ in a car that emits nothing but water.
Our very own Simon Willcocks created the London route, as one of our geospatial technicians who had worked on the 2012 Olympic torch route. Simon’s plotted a route weaving its way through one of the busiest cities in the world, resulting in a continuous 50 day drive starting from Charing Cross and covering every road within a 6 miles radius.
We’ve talked about our history a number of times in 2015. Earlier this month, the history of OS was covered in BBC4’s fantastic Timeshift programme. And back in February we launched the OS brand refresh and looked back at what we’ve achieved in our 224 years as Britain’s mapping agency.
We’ve just released the September 2015 update of OS VectorMap District. This free open data product is a versatile, customisable backdrop map for you to pinpoint particular locations, show boundaries and shaded-in areas.
Our latest release offers enhanced functionality and greater consistency with our other OS OpenData products, including OS Open Map – Local (released in April 2015).
The most significant change is the introduction of Functional Sites. These are areas of land which hold specific functions, such as air transport, education facility – school and higher, medical care, road transport and police station. You can see the location of these sites as point information in the example below.