Celebrating Christmas across Great Britain – competition

FullSizeRenderWe thought we’d celebrate Christmas with a fun competition – and give you the amazing opportunity to win a limited edition OS MasterMap tie too.

There are some fabulous Christmas place names around Great Britain and we’ve put a small selection of them below. You can travel to Christmas Cross in Shropshire, but if you want to hang up your Stocking, you should head to Herefordshire and pop by Mistletoe Oak while you’re there. If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, then Snow Falls in North Yorkshire could be your best bet. You could navigate via the light of a Star (Somerset) – although you may like to use a good map instead.

But if your Christmassy travels brought you to Bethlehem (shown bottom right) – which county would you be in? Send in your answers on the blog by midday on Friday 19 December. We’ll pick a correct answer at random to win the mappy tie. Continue reading “Celebrating Christmas across Great Britain – competition”

Ordnance Survey sponsored MSc programme

Since 2001, we’ve sponsored over 100 students from more than 25 universities in our MSc dissertation programme. We look out for those doing research that fits in with our research strategy and where we will have an in-house ‘expert’ that can supervise alongside the student’s university supervisor. We provide advice, data where required and if available, and then sponsorship of up to £1000 on completion of their dissertation.

At least five students who completed a sponsored MSc with us then went on to be supported by us in their PhD too. Some of our research is outsourced and often achieved through our doctoral and postdoctoral research collaborations. Our support can range from providing industrial partner letters of support to contracting short-term pieces of work, and most things in between so there are opportunities at all levels. You can find out more about our PhD support on our websiteContinue reading “Ordnance Survey sponsored MSc programme”

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – a legacy of geospatial support?

Guest blog by Duncan Moss, Duncan is our Major Event Practice Lead 

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games gave Britain a lasting sporting and cultural legacy – if you visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (formerly known as the Olympic Park) this winter you can join the crowds enjoying a wide range of world-class sporting events. Whether cheering on the England women’s netball team as they take on Malawi or supporting London’s only professional basketball team in the Copper Box Arena, it’s easy to forget that such events are made possible thanks to our reputation for delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable environment as was experienced during London 2012.

Customised map of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park we produced with the Institute of Civil Engineers

Continue reading “The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – a legacy of geospatial support?”

Drive me to the moon…

Following the government’s recent announcements around investing in roads and infrastructure across Britain, we decided to take a dip into our database and investigate some of the 460 million features in there. We make over 10,000 changes a day to the geographic database of Great Britain and are already looking forward to capturing the details of any new roads, as well as changes to existing ones.

Take a look at some of the figures we’ve pulled out from our database.


Using machine learning to build the future of 3D mapping


Earlier this year we made the alpha release of our building height attributes available to our existing OS MasterMap Topography Layer customers. Almost 20 million building heights across Great Britain were released as an early step in our migration to enhanced 3D geometry and we’ve been gathering feedback ever since.

One of the most common themes being fed into our OS Insight programme has been around the shapes of roofs, as this can help our customers make planning decisions, create realistic views and model sunlight and telephone signals around buildings. Our Research team have started to look into this for the future development of our product.

Currently, our building heights define the bottom of the building, and the top and bottom of the roof. Isabel Sargent and David Holland in our Research team have been working on a small project to see whether it’s possible to automatically extract the shape class of each roof and whether buildings that don’t fit simple height data can be identified.

Continue reading “Using machine learning to build the future of 3D mapping”

Confirmation on changes to latitude and longitude shown on our paper maps

Back in September we asked you to tell us your thoughts on proposed changes to the way we show latitude and longitude on our paper maps (currently as shown below). .. and the results are in!


Thank you to the 710 of you who completed the short survey (plus those of you commenting here on the blog) for taking the time to consider the question and let us know your thoughts. An overwhelming majority of respondents supported the proposed change (combining the answers saying it would improve or make no difference to their use of OS paper maps). Continue reading “Confirmation on changes to latitude and longitude shown on our paper maps”

Digimap for Schools reaches 2000 subscribers

The Digimap for Schools service has hit a milestone with 2,000 primary and secondary schools now signed up. This gives hundreds of thousands of pupils access to the latest Ordnance Survey digital data, including our most detailed maps, OS MasterMap.


The fantastic service, developed by EDINA at the University of Edinburgh, is available to all schools in Great Britain. The key resource ensures that teachers and students can access the Ordnance Survey maps as defined in the National Curriculum. As well as our famous OS Explorer mapping at 1:25,000 scale, which is ideal for outdoor activities, there is a new historic map layer, extending its potential for use in schools across a wider spectrum of the national curriculum.  Continue reading “Digimap for Schools reaches 2000 subscribers”

Test your knowledge with a map symbol quiz

We thought it was about time to test your knowledge with a map symbols quiz. When you’re out and about using our well-known OS Landranger and OS Explorer Maps – do you know what all of the symbols mean? They’re there to give you valuable information about the environment you’re in.

Aside from highlighting tourist and leisure information, map symbols also provide vital information to let map readers know what to expect on the terrain they’re crossing. Information ranges from the kind of vegetation you can expect to encounter to detail on roads, public rights of way and even different rock features. If you would like to know more about map symbols, try the Simon King and Ordnance Survey video on understanding map symbols. It’s one of a series of short videos explaining the basics on using maps.

In the meantime though, have a go at our quiz and post your answers on the blog. We’ll be revealing the answers later…

GeoVation winners launch their Medal Routes App

Medal Routes WEB VERSIONGeoVation winners Ramblers Scotland launched their Medal Routes App this week. The team developed their free app using Ordnance Survey data to inspire people to be more active in their daily lives, fitting the GeoVation challenge to encourage active lifestyles in Great Britain.

The Medal Routes App identifies and maps short circular walks at three different levels, gold, silver and bronze. These walking challenges encourage people throughout Scotland to integrate walking into their daily life. They can progress from short 15 minute walks (bronze) to walking for up to an hour (gold). Wherever people are they will have hundreds of walks at their fingertips and, through the games and challenges in the app, incentives to walk and add and map their own routes. Continue reading “GeoVation winners launch their Medal Routes App”

What happens to old football grounds?

On my drive to work each day, I pass the ‘old’ Ordnance Survey site. We moved out of our former head office in 2010 and the buildings have long since been demolished, with the Compass Point housing estate emerging in its place. As you read this article, hundreds of changes will be taking place across Great Britain. We live in a world that is constantly evolving, from news-worthy changes such as the demolition of the towers at Didcot power station, to the more subtle as a building changes use from a pub into a convenience store.


Ordnance Survey’s former head office

Our master map of the country contains an amazing 460,000,000 features and the database processes around 10,000 changes a day. Our surveyors and our Flying Unit are constantly travelling the length and breadth of Britain to capture these changes and ensure they’re on the map.

One of the less frequent changes that they capture, but that often leads to a huge redevelopment, can be from the sites of vacated football grounds. West Ham are due to move into the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford in 2016 – and they’re just the latest in a series of clubs that have been rebuilding or relocating in the last 20 or so years. Continue reading “What happens to old football grounds?”