24
Nov
2020
1

Mapping a personal journey with OS OpenData

As part of our #OSDeveloper series, we’re bringing you a guest blog by Liam Mason, spatial analyst and cartographer for the Scottish Government.

A LEGO representation of author (made by author)After months living and working at home, I decided to stretch my legs and walk the West Highland Way, a long distance route from Milngavie to Fort William and one of Scotland’s Great Trails.

Following 96 miles of ancient paths such as drovers’ and military roads, the route passes from the suburbs of Scotland’s largest city, along the shores of the UK’s largest lake, crossing the remains of a supervolcano, before arriving at the UK’s largest peak.

Inspiration

To commemorate my walk, I wanted to make a map. I’d tracked my efforts using a GPS watch, so I had a wealth of data. Points, tracks, distance, pace, heart rate, elevation… So much data it was a bit overwhelming. What was important for the narrative? What style was I looking for? Read More

17
Nov
2020
0

Three months of the OS Data Hub

Since we released the OS Data Hub in July, as part of the new Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA), we’ve been tracking use and eagerly watching to see how our customers, old and new, will use the platform and APIs.

Three months on and we’re delighted with what we’ve seen. After crunching the numbers of registered users, we’ve identified of the 2,355 users who have registered for the OS Data Hub, 1,845 are new to OS. The majority (76%) of users have registered for the OS OpenData Plan, and across both that and the Premium Plan, customers have carried out over 40 million transactions, with a 100% month-on-month increase in transactions.

Pie chart of OS Data Hub user stats.

Data as of 1 October.

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16
Nov
2020
1

Data visualisation

In the nineteenth century, it was believed that cholera was transmitted and spread by miasma (a theory that claimed epidemics were caused by bad odours emanating from rotting organic matter). In 1854 a major outbreak of cholera reached the district of Soho, London. A lack of proper sanitary services and poor drainage meant that the outbreak hit hard.

John Snow was an English physician and a sceptic of the miasma theory. By visually representing the location of each cholera case on a map, Snow was able to show evidence of a connection between the Broad Street water pump and the number of cholera cases in the immediate vicinity.

John Snow's cholera map.

John Snow’s cholera map.

This map presented the data visually and geographically, allowing us to see a pattern and correlation between the water pump and location of cases. Not only did this insight ultimately lead to the discovery of the source of the outbreak, it forever changed how we interpret our world.

What is data visualisation?

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27
Oct
2020
2

Using OS data to accurately identify environmental risk to a property

Balkerne enables property owners and insurers to prevent losses from manmade and natural events through predictive, actionable, and location-based intelligence. As co-founder, Harish Pesala is using OS data to develop products that help insurers, brokers, and property owners to act before things go wrong. How? Harish tells us more…

Seeing images in the media of businesses and families severely affected by storms in the UK, we asked ourselves: “Why doesn’t the right information get to the right people at the right time to prevent this from happening?”. From this question, the concept of Balkerne was born.

Given the latest technological advancements and the amount of data available nowadays, we started wondering why a solution that could stop such tremendous losses from happening had not been developed yet. We saw a huge opportunity to make businesses and society more resilient, and decided it was time to act.Depiction of services Balkerne offers. Read More

21
Oct
2020
1

OS Flying Team keep mapping Britain’s changes

As Britain’s mapping agency we’re keeping track of half a billion geospatial features across the country and making tens of thousands of changes daily. We have over 200 surveyors on the ground and aircraft who survey from the skies to ensure we have the latest data ready for our customers. Our Flying Team were already prepared for some changes in 2020 as they were moving base and flying in new aircraft with new cameras, but Covid-19 had a bigger impact. Find out how the team have been working in 2020.

Aerial view of London with Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Thames

London from the air during lockdown in 2020

The Flying Team are usually in the skies above Britain from March to early November each year, using the aircraft and high-resolution cameras to survey about a third of Britain, that’s  around 80,000 km2 of imagery data and over 100,000 individual images.

New base and aircraft

For the 2020 season, the team are flying from a new base, Retford (Gamston) Airport in Nottinghamshire. It’s a great location to fly to both the North of Scotland and down to the South West of Britain, and quite a change from working at our previous base in East Midlands Airport which is a large cargo hub and holiday gateway. Read More

13
Oct
2020
4

OS Data Hub to canvas: bring your favourite GB locations to life

Software: ArcGIS Pro 2.5
Data: OS Open Zoomstack

There are currently a number of examples in the geospatial industry of people using various different styles to create interesting and artistic outputs. The brilliant John Nelson recently wrote a blog on paper terrain styles which inspired me to create my own map using OS OpenData that I could then print on to canvas.

This blog post will outline the steps I took to obtain and process the data to create the final output. I used Esri ArcGIS Pro for this project, but similar styles and tutorials exist for other GIS software.

Canvas print

Final canvas print.

Step 1

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6
Oct
2020
4

Space, maps and the vulnerable – how integrated spatial data can help society

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been supporting the country’s response with our data. In April, we announced the release of an additional Covid-19 licence (extended until March 2021). This enables organisations, developers and individuals to use OS data, free at the point of use, for the specific purpose of supporting the UK response to Covid-19.

4EI Heat Hazard Postcode Data over London with Satellite Imagery and OS Greenspace vectors.

Heat Hazard Postcode Data over London with Satellite Imagery and OS Greenspace vectors (*copyright and database right information in caption below).

Since using our Covid-19 licence, we’ve welcomed 4 Earth Intelligence (4EI) as an OS partner! For this week’s OS Developer blog, their Chief Technology Officer Richard Flemmings explains how OS data is enabling their work to address climate change…

Air, surface and soil temperatures in cities are higher than their surrounding rural areas, predominantly due to the modification of land cover. The compact design of cities and the lack of vegetation and green spaces means that heat gets trapped within the urban area from both natural and waste heat energy. This is created from everyday life such as heat escaping from insulated buildings and is known as the urban heat island effect.

Satellite data analysis is complex and most people think it’s beyond their skill to understand and use it. However, that’s what we do and it’s 4EI’s core mission – we take complex science and distil it into information and insights that are valuable to our customers – at its simplest, this includes making maps.

Heat mapping

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