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Research at Ordnance Survey

  • Improving efficiency and expanding the use of GI

We have a very active research programme aimed at improving the organisations capability and efficiency, as well as helping to develop and expand the use of geographic information in Great Britain.

We conduct research through internal research teams as well as supporting university research at all levels.

Research at Ordnance Survey falls under these four main areas:


Geography is central to our business and this research area investigates how geography forms an important aspect of so many activities, and how it can be translated into the development of meaningful and appropriate geographic information.

Data acquisition

Traditionally Ordnance Survey has collected the vast majority of its data itself, or done so through contractors and with the aim of producing high quality digital mapping. Whilst this remains at the heart of what we do, we increasingly take other data to enrich our content and go beyond the requirements of a basic topographic map. To fully realise this aim we need to investigate new sensors, data sources and processing methods.

GeoData engineering

Enriching our data can be achieved through the addition of data capture from new sources or sensors, this is the aim of the Data Acquisition research. But our data can also be enriched through analysis, inference and deduction, and detailed data can be generalised. These are the aims of the GeoData Engineering research stream.

Technical infrastructure

In a world where things, including geographical things, can have physical or virtual web identifiers, and these things have explicit or implicit relationships with other things, Technical Infrastructure Research needs to consider the best data modelling, storage solutions, delivery and services to exploit the intelligence inherent in our interconnected world.


Read some of our research which is published at conferences or in journals and books.

Contact us

For more information:

Contact: Anne Patrick, Research Project Coordinator

Email: universityenquiries@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Related information

We welcome contact from Higher Education institutions, individual researchers and students. A range of services are available to provide digital map data for the purposes of academic research.

Work with us on your MSc dissertation. A range of research areas are available.

Some Ordnance Survey research is outsourced through our doctoral and postdoctoral research collaborations. We have supported a number of PhDs, CASE studentships, EngDs and KTPs.

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