Top tips for using OS getamap

OS getamap features

Home screen

Silverlight viewer

When you start OS getamap for the first time, it checks whether you have the Microsoft Silverlight browser plugin installed. If you don’t have it already you’re prompted to install it.



Type in the names of places, postcodes, attractions, other points of interest, and landscape features – OS getamap will take you to the point on the map. Continue reading “Top tips for using OS getamap”

Why are maps still so powerful? BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival

We were delighted to have been invited along to participate in BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival last weekend at Sage Gateshead.

Sage Gateshead is an iconic building, which opened in 2004, on the south bank of the River Tyne and hosts a range of musical education workshops, performances and conferences. It was a fitting venue to some of the country’s leading thinkers over a weekend which promised provocative debate, new ideas, music and performance.

Sage Gateshead Photo credit Mark Savag

Sage Gateshead Photo credit Mark Savag

Our Director General Vanessa Lawrence was invited to be on the panel for a session entitled ‘Why are maps still so powerful?’ along with author and academic Jerry Brotton – author of ‘A History of the World in 12 Maps’. Presented by BBC’s Rana Mitter, the radio interview was recorded in front of a live audience of around 200 map users.

Discussions are recorded for BBC Radio 3 and broadcast over the next three weeks or available to download.

Continue reading “Why are maps still so powerful? BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival”

Digital Shoreditch festival 2013 – hear how we’re involved!

Digital Shoreditch Logo

This week from Monday through to Sunday you’ll find us at the Digital Shoreditch festival, an event that attracts hundreds of speakers from the most innovative and successful companies and organisations across creative, technical, start-up tech and digital spaces and beyond. During the week, we’ll be exhibiting, speaking and promoting our digital products and services amongst some of Tech City’s most talented digital and technical creative individuals.

The festival has a different theme each day, comprising of panel sessions, key note speeches and discussions – kicking off with today’s “What Tech City” theme. During the day, festival goers will collectively explore the many companies and organisations that make Tech City what it is, focusing on developing new ways to exploit the potential for growing global engagement and improving our digital economy and society.

Continue reading “Digital Shoreditch festival 2013 – hear how we’re involved!”

Ordnance Survey maps online for free

OS Getamap - OS Maps on a PCOS getamap provides OS Landranger maps and OS Explorer maps for free. This online service enables outdoor enthusiasts to use a zoomable view of our highly detailed mapping, create, share and find routes in the local area, and search for points of interest. Register for free access to Ordnance Survey maps online, or choose one of our low cost subscriptions for the full suite of route planning tools and unlimited A4 map printing..
Continue reading “Ordnance Survey maps online for free”

BETT …you love Digimap for Schools!

Last week (and over the weekend) our Education team have been manning an exhibition stand at Olympia in London, taking the opportunity to talk to teachers about geography, mapping, GI and our Digimap for Schools application which provides access to a wide range of mapping and tools to pupils in schools across Great Britain.

BETT is the leading event for education technology, giving up to 30,000 visitors the opportunity to try out the technology and bringing together some of the teaching community for four days of discussions and testing!

This year, the show was opened by Michael Gove making an important announcement about ‘radically revamping’ the ICT curriculum which received widespread media coverage so there was a buzz around the exhibition stands as technology development was clearly an important government focus.

Continue reading “BETT …you love Digimap for Schools!”

Getting ready for a Mappy Christmas!

What will you buy the map lover in your life this Christmas?

What will you buy the map lover in your life this Christmas?

Today on the Ordnance Survey blog we’re getting you ready for Christmas. At about this time last year we provided you with some ideas on what to buy the map lover in your life for Christmas.  We thought that we’d have another scout around and see what gifts are available this Christmas.

So let’s start with the obvious option from us – Ordnance Survey maps! In particular we have our OS Select maps that you can site centre on any location you like within Great Britain and then personalise the cover with your own message. We also have OS getamap where for just £30 you can subscribe for one year and have unlimited access to Ordnance Survey mapping, download authored routes and print A4 extracts of mapping at home.

If you’re looking for something slightly different – here are our top five map related Christmas gift options:

  1. Relax after your long walks with this compass cushion – just make sure that it’s always pointing in the right direction!
  2. How well do you know your local area? Get an OS Landranger Map jigsaw of your local area and see how quickly you can put your neighborhood back together!
  3. It’s a small world – and these are bite sized ones! These chocolate globes are perfect for a snack on your post Christmas lunch walk!
  4. Learn more about the history of your house with my house history portfolio – contains map extracts and documents pertaining to the history of your house.
  5. Keep hold of your money in this map wallet – made in part from recycled milk and water containers.

What other map related gifts have you seen this Christmas?

Photo: ryter89 via Flickr

Lost? Follow that satellite dish!

I read a great article on the BBC recently that was giving tips on finding your way in a city. Did you know that most UK satellite dishes (all belonging to the same provider) point roughly south east? They’re pointing at the same geostationary satellite, fixed at the same point over Earth. 

We’re all becoming increasingly reliant on having a GPS signal to know our location – whether it’s to find your nearest cinema/petrol station/restaurant on a mobile phone, following the soothing tones of your satnav, or plotting a route for your next countryside walk. But what happens when you lose your GPS signal, or your battery dies on the device you’re using? 

Continue reading “Lost? Follow that satellite dish!”

Play spot the difference with our Cartography team

Have you ever wondered how our dedicated team of cartographers find the changes that they need to update on a piece of mapping data? When our 300 or so surveyors are out on the ground (or in the air) capturing changes to the landscape, it isn’t only the updated information that is supplied to the cartographers, they have to check an entire ‘chunk’ of data to find any changes.

Our cartographers manipulate and enhance the core data provided by our collection teams to produce our paper maps and small-scale data products. I’m sure you can imagine that it takes a fairly specific set of skills to do this – so do you think you’re up to the task?

Have a look at our before and after shots below. The top set has only one change, but the bottom set has six changes.

Can you find them all? Leave a comment saying where you think the changes are and we’ll reveal the answers later today.

The original

Spot any differences?

Continue reading “Play spot the difference with our Cartography team”

Moving on

On 17 July 2006 I stared at Ordnance Survey when my family and I relocated to the Isle of Wight from London. Yes, it was a culture shock! I remember it was a hot summer that year and the novelty of being able to walk along the beach and commuting by ferry was still exciting.

Today I leave Ordnance Survey after five and a bit years and in that time I have learnt many things, made friends and tried to become the best Civil Servant I could. There have been many projects I have worked on within the consumer space most notably being involved in the creation of the map shop and Ordnance Survey’s foray into the social media space.

Map shop
On the map shop; the team and I have taken the map shop from strength to strength, adjusting and creating new way to help customers buy the right maps for their adventures. The team consisted of colleagues from Information Services, Finance, the Customer Service Centre and Supply Chain. Matt, Sophie and I, over the last couple of years, have tried out different ways of engaging with the public and I would say this time was the time I am most proud of. Continue reading “Moving on”

Street maps on Kindle using OS OpenData

Maps on your KindleWe think this is pretty cool, and it’s an example of a company creating commercial value from open data.

Lovell Johns, a company that has been providing traditional mapping products for the private and public sectors for 45 years, has created a range of Street Map Guides for Amazon’s Kindle.

Mapping on Kindle isn’t actually unique, but this is the best interface I’ve seen that manages to overcome the Kindle’s basic navigation functionality.

Downloadable within seconds, the guides contain OS Street View mapping covering the central area of each city – with London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Cardiff and Edinburgh available so far.

Users then navigate about the map using the traditional page turning buttons, plus on page click-to-navigate tools. Personally I think this is one of the more innovative commercial uses of OS OpenData I’ve seen.

Kindle Map Guides can be found on the Amazon website.