3
Dec
2020

OS graduate wins award for colour blind friendly mapping

Photo of Jessica BakerHosted by the Royal Geographical Society, on 11 November 2020 the second Geography in Government (GiG) awards took place. Here, our outstanding graduate Jessica Baker details the work that won her the Contribution to the Profession award…

The GiG awards aim to celebrate and recognise the work of members of the geography profession across the civil, crown, and public sector. In January 2020 I submitted my work on colour blind accessible mapping for the Contribution to the Profession category and I was delighted to be shortlisted and go on to win. Read More

1
Dec
2020

DfT project explores potential for residential electric vehicle charging

Tamsin Forbes, a data scientist at the Department for Transport (DfT), explains how she has used OS and aerial photography data available through the Geospatial Commission’s public sector contracts to support infrastructure planning for electric vehicle charge points.

Working with the Environment Statistics team within the DfT, I’m involved in helping to plan for the future provision of electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the UK.

In a future where vehicles are fully or partially electric, all vehicle users will require adequate access to charge points. The demand on the electricity grid is an important consideration, and to mitigate this the majority of charging should take place at night outside peak hours of electricity consumption. To achieve this it is likely that many charge points will need to be located very close to the property of the vehicle owner, making it important to understand parking availability.

The challenge is that there is no definitive existing dataset that quantifies residential parking availability for the UK. Although various datasets exist which include some information, more research needs to be done to support the planning process. Read More

24
Nov
2020

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

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.

Read More

16
Nov
2020

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?

Read More

27
Oct
2020

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

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

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