Change matters – OS MasterMap over 7 years

Our surveyors rely on receiving accurate satellite information.

There are around 250 Ordnance Survey surveyors based across Britain.

I’ve been asked a few times whether there really are enough changes to the landscape to warrant an army of 250 surveyors and 2 aircraft mapping them. My answer is always to think of your own town (or one nearby) and the changes that happen there over the course of a year. New buildings appear whilst others are pulled down, the road layout changes and new footpaths are laid.

Change is everywhere.

Now think about all those changes multiplied across the entire country and you start to get the picture.

But like all constant and gradual change, it’s still easy to miss. It’s only when you’re reminded of how things were that you can see how far you’ve come.

So that’s why we’ve built a visualisation showing all the change that has occurred in the north-west of Swindon over the last 7 years. It’s been made by archiving every change made to OS MasterMap Topography Layer since October 2004.

The scale and scope of the transformation is quite astonishing.

But remember that the physical changes only reveal only some of the story. When you watch the video think about all the questions it raises.

What kind of underground infrastructure would need to be put in place? What planning would need to go into providing local services like rubbish collection and public transport? Are there enough schools or GPs to cover the new population? With the loss of green spaces, would you want to model the impact on surface water in case of flooding? Will the roads cope with the increase in congestion?  It goes on and on.

And if you think again about that multiplied across the entire country, you start to realise the incredibly important role that geographic information plays in everyone’s lives.

So next time someone asks me if there really is that much change, I’m just going to show them this…

To find out more about how we keep mapping data up-to-date, you might like to this post on a day in the life of a surveyor, or how we use aerial imagery.

Changes to the OS OpenData licence

opendata2From today, anyone who visits the OS OpenData site, where they can download a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping for free, will notice something a little different.

That’s because we’ve incorporated the Open Government Licence, the new government wide licence, developed by The National Archives, which enables easy access to public sector information.

The Open Government Licence is a key element of the Government’s commitment to greater transparency. It is the licence used by and provides a single set of terms and conditions for anyone wishing to use or license freely available government information.

The licence is designed so that developers and entrepreneurs wishing to use government data to create new applications will no longer need to formally apply for permission. And, the new licence is interoperable with other internationally recognised licensing models, such as Creative Commons.

Continue reading “Changes to the OS OpenData licence”