As 2011 draws to a close we thought we’d share with you our top ten most popular blog stories from the year. If you’re new to the blog, get a feel for the things we talk about; and if you’re a regular blog-reader, remind yourself of what we’ve been talking about this year.
And if there’s anything you’d like to see more of or any questions you’d like answered on the blog – let us know.
10. Know your grid references – for those of you who aren’t sure of how to take a grid reference – here’s a step by step guide.
9. All of a Twitter about mapping – a two week period of tweeting by our surveyors gave you a flavour of the work they do every day.
8. Mapping applications for your phone – location based applications are big business in the Smartphone market and none more so than apps using Ordnance Survey data.
We’ve enjoyed writing quizzes and finding images to test your mapping knowledge this year – so whether you’re sat at home and feeling too full to move after the festive feasting or at work and wishing you weren’t, have a go at some of the geo-fun from 2011.
Try our map symbol game – simply swap one map symbol with an adjacent one to create a line of three or more identical symbols horizontally or vertically.
Do you know your map symbols? – How well do you think you know the symbols that appear on our OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps?
A location challenge when addressing fraud – do you recognise these well-known places on a map?
Play spot the difference with our Cartography team – have you got what it takes to be a cartographer?
OS Openspace was launched on January 31 2008, to enable developers to produce exciting and innovative ways of displaying information using our maps.
Amidst the joy of our Christmas celebrations this year, staff at Ordnance Survey will be remembering the contribution made to the national mapping agency by Brigadier Martin Hotine CMG CBE RE.
Brigadier Hotine served in the Royal Engineers for many years and saw active service in both the First and Second World Wars. However, it was during 1934–1939 when he worked at Ordnance Survey heading up the catchily-titled ‘Trigonometrical and Levelling division’ when he made the contribution which we’ll be remembering.
Hotine was the person responsible for the design, planning and implementation of the re-triangulation of Great Britain on which Ordnance Survey maps are still based. During this inter-war period, he designed the iconic and much-loved Trig Pillar which is still found now on many hilltops and in the countryside across Great Britain.
Guest blog by Graham E Little
So there I was on 8 December 2011, in my best suit and new tie, drinking champagne in the grandest of surroundings and shaking hands with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh – not an everyday occurrence!
It all started with a tip off from Vanessa Lawrence, our Chief Executive, that I might be receiving an interesting royal invitation. A royal crested invitation card duly arrived from The Master of the Household who had ‘received Her Majesty’s command to invite Mr Graham Little to a reception to be given at Buckingham Palace for those involved in Exploration and Adventure’. The reception marked the centenary of Captain Robert Scott’s final expedition to the South Pole.
Although well over 45 years of loyal service to Ordnance Survey must count for something, my invitation was no doubt in recognition of a similar number of years of climbing and mountaineering around the world with a respectable number of first ascents in remote places.
It was not quite a personal audience as I was but one of about 400 invited to Buckingham Palace, with all aspects of adventure and exploration and the great and the good of geography represented.
This week was the prestigious Insurance Times Awards and a couple of the Ordnance Survey team were lucky enough to go along to meet up with some of our key customers and industry contacts. Attended by over 1400 insurance industry professionals, it’s one of the largest events in the Insurance industry’s calendar. We’ve been supporting the awards, which celebrates and recognises the best of the best in the industry for two years now by sponsoring the award with the highest accolade – the Chief Executive of the year as recognised by their peers, fellow Chief Executives.
As the winter weather is finally starting to hit Great Britain and we’re seeing snow in Scotland and the north of England, we’ll also start seeing more grit on the roads.
Nottinghamshire County Council will be spending £2.79 million this year gritting 1,800 km of road or 35 percent of the county’s road network, filling grit bins and clearing snow.
They are one of many local authorities that now publish a map of gritting routes. The Council grits A and B roads and major bus routes during the winter weather, which accounts for about a third of the county’s road network, and some additional routes during severe weather.
Back by popular demand…welcome to the second edition of our map symbols quiz. In the past tree symbols were hand drawn by our cartographers, later symbols were ‘stuck’ to the map by hand and now, of course, the symbols are added by our cartographers via computer systems.
When you’re out and about using our well-known OS Landranger and OS Explorer Maps – do you know what all of the symbols mean? They’re there to give you valuable information about the environment you’re in.
A few months ago, we told you about the work we have been doing with The Osmington White Horse restoration team to help them to restore the figure to its original form. So, as the winter sets in and the team are no longer on the hill, I thought you might like to hear about how it’s gone and what’s happening next.
The Osmington White Horse is a figure cut into the hill just outside Weymouth Bay. The figure of George III on his horse was originally created in 1808 and is enormous at 85 metres long and nearly 100 metres high. It’s on a very steep slope which can be seen from Weymouth Bay which will host the sailing element of the Olympics in 2012.
Although there have been a number of spasmodic maintenance and restoration projects over the years (including Challenge Anneka in the 1980s) the figure had deteriorated badly and the original figure had become overgrown and ill-defined over time.
The project to restore the figure started in 2009 by The Osmington Society – an amazing group of local people with a desire to improve the heritage in their area. They enlisted the support of Natural England, English Heritage and Ordnance Survey to help identify the original outline.
In Great Britain we’re blessed with 10 000 miles of traffic free cycle routes and today we’re going to share our top five locations with you.
Traffic free cycle routes are shown on Ordnance Survey maps in one of two ways – first there is a trail of orange circles and the other is a red number in a clear box – denoting that it is part of the national cycle network.