1
Dec
2016
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Top 5 mappy Christmas gifts

It’s December, so we feel safe mentioning the ‘C’ word and sharing our 5 favourite Christmas gifts for the map lover in your life. Grab some inspiration here:

1. The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain

CBRelax this Christmas and take an immersive colouring trip across the country, from coasts and forests to our iconic cities and landmarks. The latest addition to the colouring-in craze puts the intricate detail our maps on the page, ready for you either restore them to their original colour scheme – or add your own abstract creative touch! Practice some mindfulness and colour in or simply pore over the maps: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-colouring-book.html

2. OS Custom Made

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one of our Custom Made maps tells a story. You can put your memories – where you were born, where you met, where you live –at the centre of one of our maps. You can choose a folded map at OS Explorer or OS Landranger map scale, add your own photo and title and centre it wherever you like. Or pick a unique flat map that can be framed and hung on the wall – still with your own title and centred where you choose. For the first time this year, we’re also offering a canvas version for you to hang on your wall. Custom Made map prices start at £16.99, take a look: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/custom-made-maps.html

3. OS clothing collection

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30
Nov
2016
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The Flying Unit has landed…

Cabin crew doors to manual and seat belts signs switched off…the 2016 flying season is complete. Jean Martin and her team explain why the season has come to an end and what they’re planning next.

Aerial imagery showing St Peter’s Square, Manchester

Aerial imagery showing St Peter’s Square, Manchester

It’s been another busy year for the OS Flying Unit, working from our East Midlands Airport base and taking to the skies in the two Cessna 404s. Flying from Lands’ End to Orkney, we’ve covered some 54,203 square kms of GB and taken over 141,700 aerial photographs along the way. Read More

23
Nov
2016
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Birthday celebrations with two new Nuttalls

G&J Surveys, the team that has made a hobby of measuring the heights of hills and mountains, is ten years old.  And the Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH) celebrates its 15th birthday this year.  John Barnard from G&J Surveys tells us why the two are linked and how they’ve been celebrating.

DoBIH was founded by Graham Jackson and Chris Crocker as a personal tool to help them log their own hill ascents. However, over the years DoBIH evolved into something much bigger with six editors and many hillwalkers supplying data. DoBIH log ten-figure grid references for the summits of hills and found that summit positions are not always so clearly known to warrant this level of accuracy. So G&J Surveys came into existence.

GJ1

You’re thinking OS already measure the hills and mountains aren’t you?  And they do. In moorland and mountain areas, OS generally use aerial photographs which measures heights to an accuracy of +/-3m. This means that the maps that are superbly fit for purpose if you’re out walking or climbing or cycling, but it can result in Corbetts suddenly becoming Munros!  With the increasing popularity of hill bagging, the accuracy of hill lists was becoming more important. Read More

21
Nov
2016
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Mapping the new St Davids Lifeboat Station

StDavids1Guest blog by Steve Jones, Production Manager Wales

Over the last few years, the RNLI have been replacing their current lifeboats with the new larger Tamar class. In some cases, this has meant new lifeboat stations being built to accommodate the new craft. And, in turn, this has affected us at OS, as our surveyors need to put the new buildings on the map. This summer was the turn of the St Davids LBS in Pembrokeshire, located to the west of the city at St Justinian – the departure point for Ramsey Island.

The St Davids Lifeboat has been in operation since 1869, with 330 lives saved and 4 of the brave crew lost in that time. In 1912 the current station was built to house the first motorised lifeboat and it has become one of Pembrokeshires iconic buildings. Nonetheless the new Tamar class proved too big to house, so a new station was built alongside. Read More

17
Nov
2016
3

Adding value and removing friction in our flagship mobile app, OS Maps

The second in our new series of blogs from the teams behind our apps, maps and services, sharing their experiences in software engineering, cartographic design, user experience and more. Chris Hall, based at our London Geovation Hub, shares his experience on updating OS Maps’ route ratings. 

Whilst I was using our OS Maps app to find a new route, I stumbled upon a frustrating experience with the route discovery process in OS Maps. Through some research and visual exploration, I was able to solve the problem.

Friction

OS Maps allows users to find and follow routes all over the country. Users can plot their own routes, and share them with the community publicly. To aid the discovery process we allow users to grade their route out of three options to reflect its difficulty. Routes are currently displayed as a pin on the map with a gradient indicator: Green for leisurely; orange for moderate; and red for challenging. This has created a great spread of the types of routes we get in the app, which for the most part works really well. However, one day I discovered this route:
old_pins

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15
Nov
2016
1

Better Mapping with QGIS

We recently hosted a British Cartographic Society (BCS) event at our head office, ‘Better Mapping with QGIS’. It was a one day event that introduced the fundamentals of cartographic design and culminated in a hands-on QGIS workshop.

We were thrilled to have a packed lecture theatre and the day kicked off with Alex Kent, President of the BCS, welcoming everyone and introducing the agenda for the day. Brief presentations about open data and open source software followed before Mary Spence MBE, past president of the BCS, discussed the fundamentals of cartographic design. Mary took the audience on a tour through great maps and what makes them work, balanced against examples of poor maps and why they don’t before introducing the basic design principles that should be considered. Read More

11
Nov
2016
0

Surveying a badge to honour

Our surveying team are working across Britain on a daily basis, capturing all of the changes to our country. From new roads and housing estates to hospitals and shopping centres, the team map it all out. Our surveyor Keith Lanham was asked to survey a more unusual site recently, with particular significance on Remembrance Day.

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Fovant Badges in Wiltshire. If you haven’t come across them before, they are regimental badges that were carved into the chalk downs above the village of Fovant by the soldiers of those regiments.

New centenary badge shown at centre

New centenary badge shown at centre

To mark the anniversary, the Fovant Badges Society, the voluntary organisation which maintains the badges, commissioned the addition of a centenary badge to mark 100 years of the Fovant Badges, and securing their long term future. Read More

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