We were thrilled that HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was able to come and officially open Explorer House last week. Having been involved in the organisation of the visit, I’m relieved that it all went so smoothly (well almost – if you don’t include the panic when we heard the royal party was going to arrive fifteen minutes early). It had been quite an undertaking, with over 100 VIP guests coming for lunch, the tightened security and everyone hoping to get the opportunity to meet The Duke.
On the day, I was part of the small team looking after the media – including film crews from BBC South and ITV Meridian as well as our friends at The Southern Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent. We received some brilliant media coverage that day with everyone highlighting how much the technology and our organisation had changed in the 42 years since The Duke’s last visit.
Some of our staff were also doing unusual things with some roped in to play behind the scenes roles, from car park attendants to meeting and greeting to making presentations showing how our data is used.
Lots of people played important roles including one of our security team successfully apprehended a very growly and persistent Jack Russell who came strolling over the grass from nowhere at exactly the moment The Duke turned up. He obviously wanted to see what was going on, although as he didn’t have any ID or an invitation we couldn’t let him in!!One of my personal highlights was the children from Explorers nursery, situated on Adanac Park, coming over to wave their flags and school pupils from St Marks Primary School in Southampton coming in to show visitors how they use Digimap for Schools.
All in all it was an exhausting, but satisfying day which went off smoothly and I think everyone was pleased that Ordnance Survey made such a good impression on The Duke and all the VIPs.
If you want to know more about the visit, you might like to watch this video covering the whole day.