Chocks away – tales from Ordnance Survey’s Flying Unit

Every so often we receive a tweet from one of our followers saying that they’ve seen an Ordnance Survey plane overhead. Or someone will tweet us a picture like the one below and ask us what we’re up to. The simple answer is that we’re capturing aerial imagery of Britain, as part of our role as the national mapping authority.


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New election maps website

Ahead of the local and European elections last month, and the recent Newark by election, we launched a new election maps website. It replaced our previous election maps website, which for many years provided a free service to help candidates and party workers as they prepare for elections.


The election maps website lets users overlay the official boundaries of constituencies and wards on Ordnance Survey maps at various scales.  This is particularly useful at street level, where canvassers working for local candidates need to know which side of the street to cover; or how far along the street to go. Continue reading “New election maps website”

How to create models of towns with building heights

Today’s guest blog is from Cristina Savian at Autodesk. If you were at last week’s GEO Business 2014 event, you may have seen our Acting Director General, Neil Ackroyd give his keynote and feature the image below, an infraworks model of Shrewsbury which was created using our new building height dataset. Cristina created the model and tells us how.


Customers using Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap Topography Layer can now access information on the heights of almost 20 million buildings across Great Britain with the alpha release of building height attributes. Released on 17 March, OS MasterMap Topography Layer – Building Height Attribute is a product enhancement to OS MasterMap Topography Layer, and available to licence holders at no additional cost. Continue reading “How to create models of towns with building heights”

Happy birthday to Ordnance Survey Linked Data

Today’s guest blog discusses the value of Linked Data and its applications by Steve Peters at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Congratulations and many happy returns Ordnance Survey on the first anniversary of your LinkedData Service. Continue reading “Happy birthday to Ordnance Survey Linked Data”

Maps on screen

What do BBC2’s The Secret Life of the Cat, BBC1’s Luther and Channel 4’s Kirstie’s Best of Both Worlds have in common? Answer – all three programmes use Ordnance Survey maps on screen.

Our Brand team supply maps to be used on screen (and in print) from paper maps used as a prop, to extracts of our digital map products to use as a backdrop. A map is often the best way to illustrate a point, clearly show what happened and where or just bring a story to life.

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Railway station map quiz

Our last few railway station quizzes proved very popular, so as many of you may be jumping on trains to head away for the Bank Holiday weekend, or head home from your half term trips, we thought we’d run another. We’re making 10,000 changes a day to our database holding the vast master map of Great Britain and changes to the rail network and railway stations themselves form a part of that.

We’ve found out a few facts about our railway network too, did you know:

  • The longest railway tunnel in Britain (other than the Channel Tunnel) is the Severn Tunnel which links England and Wales and is 4.5 miles long. And it’s also the lowest point on the network, at 144 feet below sea level. Continue reading “Railway station map quiz”

Can you complete our OS MasterMap game?

If you’ve got that Friday feeling and would like some geo-fun, why not give our map slider game a go? I ‘m sure most of us played one of these games as children (some of us in ‘real life’ with plastic sliders, others of you on screen!). Simply move the blocks around the screen until you get the picture displayed in the correct order, showing a place in Britain using our OS MasterMap Topography Layer.

If you know where it is, let us know on the blog…and if you need a bit of help completing the puzzle, the image you’re trying to complete is down at the bottom of the page.

Continue reading “Can you complete our OS MasterMap game?”

Over 75% of the public sector using AddressBase

Chris Chambers, our AddressBase Product Manager gives us an update on how AddressBase is being used, two and a half years on from its launch.

Address data has always been important for the public sector and commercial companies. The vision and value of a single spatial addressing infrastructure that underpins key service provision and enables better location data collaboration is starting to deliver results for all our customers.

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Supporting innovation at the BlueLightCamp 2014

On 10 and 11 May 2014, we’re hosting BlueLightCamp at our Southampton head office. The unconference and hackathon for blue light services is in its third year. The event see attendees bring challenges they’d like help overcoming, ideas they’d like to explore, and many bring along their skills and expertise to help others. Christine Townsend from MusterPoint, tells us about her BlueLightCamp experience.


Image courtesy of BlueLightCamp

The first BlueLightCamp in 2012 was my first experience of an unconference and a hackathon. As part of my background in police communication, and with the ever-increasing need to use social media, I wanted to see what it was about and if it could benefit my role in any way. Continue reading “Supporting innovation at the BlueLightCamp 2014″

Historic maps layer now available in Digimap for Schools

School children using DigimapIf you hadn’t heard about it before, Digimap for Schools is a fantastic service available to all schools in Great Britain, giving teachers and pupils access to a wide range of our maps, from our most detailed dataset, OS MasterMap, to the famous OS Explorer mapping at 1:25,000 scale which is ideal for outdoor activity. Now Digimap for Schools has added a new historic map layer, extending its potential for use in schools across a wider spectrum of the national curriculum.

The new historic map layer features our maps from the 1890s and covers the whole of Great Britain. Teachers and pupils can overlay the historic maps over current mapping and compare changes in the landscape in their areas and beyond, including changes like those in Sandbanks, shown below. Continue reading “Historic maps layer now available in Digimap for Schools”