Using OS data and expertise to fuel the map of the future

Guest blog by OS Partner Hexagon Geospatial

Maps represent a truly amazing leap forward in how human beings understood the world around them. The first map marked a watershed moment when we moved from indistinct, in-the-moment thinking about things as being “over there” to quantifying and visualising geographic relationships through a completely new lens, to giving spatial information a graphic form.

Hexagon Smart M.App

Hexagon Smart M.App

This form-giving is where human beings truly differentiate themselves. Our senses capture the elements of our environment and we must provide clarity, structure, and ultimately form in order that we may accurately convey that information to others. We are so skilled at identifying patterns that we have invented different ways of looking at data to make those patterns more obvious. Pie charts, bar graphs, histograms—all of these convey meaning through different visualisation principles.

Maps are good at illustrating obvious patterns, but less apparent patterns exist—patterns which help us do a better job of modelling the world. Changing the form in which the data is visualized can completely change the meaning that emerges from the data. To get a holistic view of the data, we need to build the Map of the Future.

It’s not a map, it’s an app

The map of the future may not be a map at all. Rather, it will be an app that creatively conveys the location-based information you need. We want to give you the flexibility to visualize your story in different ways, to find the lens that best illustrates the meaning in your data.

The Hexagon Smart M.App® is an example of the map of the future. It combines the visual power of a map with the ability to visualise relevant data in an entirely new, customisable dashboard view. It gives people the power to give meaningful form to the data and to tease out new patterns that can fundamentally change the way we understand our environment.

But in order to give form, we need data upon which to work. Hexagon Geospatial’s partnership with Ordnance Survey will provide access to an incredible storehouse waiting to be incorporated into an immense variety of new geospatial applications. In conjunction with OS, we can fuel the Hexagon Smart M.App with the data we need to build meaningful Smart M.Apps.

Powering the M.App with dynamic data

This ability to connect to data in near-real-time helps us overcome one of the most fundamental shortcomings of the traditional map: its static nature. At first, this was a benefit; it allowed us to capture, standardize, and disseminate information. This has been the de facto method of map-making for hundreds of years, but it is no longer enough.

Partnering Hexagon Geospatial’s platform and analytics with location-based information like that provided by OS is the fuel that will power the Map of the Future. In order to make well-informed decisions, we need to be able to examine our data from several different angles, to turn it about so the trends can elucidate our options to facilitate the decision-making process. OS has the data and expertise.

Harnessing that data into a dynamic dashboard that creatively and flexibly visualizes that data to make emerging patterns more obvious is what will help the geospatial community move beyond just mapping what was and what is and start accurately modelling what can be and what will be. And when we can do that, we will be making the map of the future, today.

Find out more about Hexagon Geospatial on their website.

Find out more about OS Partners on our website.

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2 Responses

  1. The link to OS Partners gave me this error, have others reported this?
    The certificate for this server is invalid. You might be connecting to a server that is pretending to be “www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk” which could put your confidential information at risk”

    1. Hi Andrew

      I’ve tried clicking through on some external devices not on the OS network and can’t replicate the problam at this time. I’ll pass this along to our IT department as feedback though so that they can double-check from our end.

      Thanks, Gemma

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