Announcing the end of an addressing era

AddressBasePlus_4Guest blog by Chris Chambers, Senior Product Manager

You might not know it, but Ordnance Survey’s legacy address products have been used in providing many services to you over the last 18 years. Be it the supply of council services such as waste collection, getting emergency vehicles to your location, supply of utility services, or getting a more accurate home insurance premium – many of these have been using Ordnance Survey’s ADDRESS-POINT, OS MasterMap Address Layer or OS MasterMap Address Layer 2 products.  Continue reading “Announcing the end of an addressing era”

Britain’s spookiest place names

In case you hadn’t realised, it’s Halloween today and we thought we’d have a dig around on OS getamap and find some of Britain’s spookiest place names. We’ve picked out our seven spooky favourites – but let us know yours too – post them on the blog.

1. In first place, representing the huge number of places with ‘Devil’ in their name, it’s the Devil’s Pulpit, perched high in the Wye Valley, near Tintern Abbey. Legend has it that the devil used the ‘pulpit’ to try to entice the monks toiling below to come and join him!

halloween-devils-pulpit Continue reading “Britain’s spookiest place names”

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”

Enabling people to live in better places

The latest GeoVation Challenge, calling for ideas to enable people in Britain to live in better places, has been running for a month now. We officially launched the challenge on Monday 15 September 2014 at The Building Centre during the London Design Festival.

Ordnance Survey, together with Land Registry,  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; Best use of Assets.

During the launch event speakers such as Finn Williams, Founder of Common Office and Andrew Van Doorn, Deputy Chief Executive of HACT, spoke in support of the GeoVation Housing Challenge.

Watch the video to find out more:

Continue reading “Enabling people to live in better places”

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”

St Kilda – on the map


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.

Continue reading “St Kilda – on the map”

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:

Continue reading “Launching the GeoVation Housing Challenge”

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.

Continue reading “Proposed changes to latitude and longitude representation on paper maps – tell us your thoughts”