Ordnance Survey sponsored MSc programme

Since 2001, we’ve sponsored over 100 students from more than 25 universities in our MSc dissertation programme. We look out for those doing research that fits in with our research strategy and where we will have an in-house ‘expert’ that can supervise alongside the student’s university supervisor. We provide advice, data where required and if available, and then sponsorship of up to £1000 on completion of their dissertation.

At least five students who completed a sponsored MSc with us then went on to be supported by us in their PhD too. Some of our research is outsourced and often achieved through our doctoral and postdoctoral research collaborations. Our support can range from providing industrial partner letters of support to contracting short-term pieces of work, and most things in between so there are opportunities at all levels. You can find out more about our PhD support on our website

Two of our recent sponsorships were Heidi El-Hosaini and Marcus B Humphrey. They’ve taken the time to share details of their work with us.

Heidi El-Hosaini, UNIGIS UK (the UK base of an international network of universities providing online, distance-learning, postgraduate education in GIS)

My dissertation, ‘Locating and positioning solar panels in a 3D city model – a case study of Newcastle, UK’, was awarded 1st prize for the 2014 UNIGIS International Academic Excellence Prize and I’ll be presenting my work at the GI Forum 2015 in Salzburg.

The OS Research team supplied a developmental 3D city model of Newcastle. The model comprised thousands of wall and roof surfaces, resulting in distinctive building structures that in many cases were highly complex. The thesis aimed to ‘locate’ optimal surfaces for solar panel installations, and to optimise their ‘position’ upon a given surface. I examined a range of attributes which could then be combined using a conventional multi-criteria evaluation approach to locate optimal surfaces for solar panel installations at the city scale.

My dissertation demonstrated potential applications and techniques using Ordnance Survey’s 3D dataset. These could be further explored, expanded on a larger scale, and/or researched with respect to their potential business value. In this case, potential customers would include solar panel companies and installers, urban planners, householders and other decision-makers in the solar energy industry.

A fundamental precept of this research was that all investigations were conducted using the 3D city model provided by the OS Research team. The dissertation would not have been possible without either OS’ contribution or the support of Mark Pendlington and Dave Capstick of the OS Research team.


Figure 1: Mean percentages of direct sunshine received during daylight hours (i.e. non-shaded).

Marcus B Humphrey, Kingston University

I gained the Ordnance Survey Award in 2014 after graduating from Kingston University with a degree in Geographical Information Systems, gaining a 2.1. It was an honour and privilege to receive the award for my BSc dissertation and something that I wasn’t expecting to receive.

I gained the prize for my dissertation which was titled “Analysis of The Scout Association’s Censuses from 2014 to 2013, at a District and County Level”. This was taking data which is already analysed at a national level and to some extent at a local level, but one that hasn’t used GIS to analyse the data over a period of time. I used Tutfte’s small multiple idea to present the data and used what they already analysed nationally, but took this to a local level. My dissertation involved collecting all the data from the census and running calculations on this as well as creating boundaries for Districts and Counties from postcode data, some of which had to be collected. This was then analysed compared to objectives that the data was already analysed against, but did this through time and space. This data is in use by The Scout Association in their own analysis of the census.

In my wider degree I studied demographics to 3D visualisation as well as doing GIS in the field and even going abroad to Malta. My degree focused largely on different applications of GIS, whether it was hazards, crime or planning, which all interested me massively. I also enjoyed being able to geovisualisation during the course and enjoyed the different applications and having the chance to be able to cover a wide range of topics and areas.

Since completing my degree I have quickly found a job, first at BP and now at QC Data as a GIS Technician working on UK Power Networks data. I am also doing some GIS related work with The Scout Association at local and national levels.

If you’re interested in teaming up with us for your MSc dissertation, visit our website to find out more.

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