Migrating to a customisable OS mapping dataset

If you haven’t come across it before, OS VectorMap Local is the most detailed of our backdrop mapping data products and covers the whole of Great Britain. Designed for creating graphical contextual mapping, you’ll see the shapes of individual houses, the line of garden fences and more detailed outlines of larger buildings. It gives you clear, street-level maps so that you can display information such as planning proposals or the location of local amenities. This makes it ideal for GIS analysis, your website and printing for public consultations.   OS VectorMap Local is being used by a wide range of people for reasons ranging from simple backdrop mapping through to analysis affecting people’s lives and business decisions.

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OS at Digital Shoreditch #ds15

The Digital Shoreditch event being held at Shoreditch Town Hall has been a great opportunity to showcase our innovations. As a founder partner, we have been involved with the festival for some time and are using it to help explain that there’s more to us than paper maps…

With a number of initiatives developed for the event, we had a good chance to talk to a new and varied audience.

Simulator in use - pic

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A capital idea

Recently @catweg wondered on Twitter what the map would like if Winchester had remained as the nation’s capital and grown over the years as London has.

Well, @catweg, wonder no more. For here is just what such a map might look like:

London's urban sprawl recentred on Winchester

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St Kilda – on the map


Being remote and uninhabited is not reason enough for Ordnance Survey to cease worrying about St Kilda. It is part of Great Britain, visited by researchers and tourists, and it contains the echo of population in buildings which still exist on the island. St Kilda has had a bigger effect on our data than it would initially seem from first glance. The islands and the unique practices of its former inhabitants has yielded its own lexicon – cleits – which feature in the surveyor bible known as the Data Capture and Edit Guide.

            Cleit – A dry stone structure, usually with a turfed roof, used for storage. Unique to the St Kilda archipelago.

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It’s a surveyor’s life…

We currently have 250 field surveyors who contribute to the 10,000 changes taking place every day in our database. Thanks to them our master map of Great Britain is constantly, subtly shifting and changing. Luckily, the country is nothing if not varied, and not all of our surveyors are pounding concrete and worrying about urban canyons (the phenomena of being in an area so built up that satellite signals – can’t reach their GNSS kit). Some spend their days surrounded by sheep, not Starbucks. One such surveyor is Guy Rodger who looks after Shetland. Guy’s worked for OS for 30 years and spends an average of four weeks in Shetland every year and has to carefully plan his work to maximise his time there. I caught up with him recently to ask him some questions.


Guy at the Bird Observatory back in 2010

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Have you entered the AGI Awards yet?

AGI Awards imageWith just under a month until the deadline (30 September 2014), there is still time to submit your entry to the AGI’s prestigious annual awards ceremony recognising the very best achievements in the field of Geographic Information throughout the year. This year sees a new format and ten new awards showcasing high impact projects, innovation and commitment to the GI industry and in GI Education.

Along with Ordnance Survey, other key industry players such as ESRI, 1spatial, Informed Solutions and GIStandards are sponsoring awards to help recognise excellence, innovation and best practice within the sector.

Ordnance Survey is delighted to be sponsoring the AGI Award for the Best Use of Geospatial for Business Benefit and we are looking forward to seeing entries illustrating how geospatial has become a core tool in the business arena helping to improve decision making, making cost savings and support efficiencies. With this award, we hope that examples of geospatial being used as a mainstream business tool to deliver intelligence can lead the way for future business and economic growth. Read More


Win £35k in the Connected Cities contest

Connected Cities

After the success of the Digital Innovation Contest – Data, Ordnance Survey is pleased to continue its partnership with IC Tomorrow with the Connected Cities Innovation contest.

Digital start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can secure up to £35k funding each in a new IC tomorrow contest that aims to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of urbanisation.

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GeoVation Alumni event a great success

GeoVation thrives on the collaboration, networking and feedback of its participants and other stakeholders – and GeoVation challenges and the challenge process are developed from that feedback. Indeed, this alumni network is based on just such feedback. Our objective is to better support our finalists’ and winners’ ventures to grow beyond participation in just the challenge process itself.

As part of this, we are delighted to work with the Impact Hub Westminster to provide all our finalists and winners (wherever, they live) access to the Hub Connection virtual network; its support, knowledge, skills, experience and wider membership. Based on feedback we have put together an interesting mix of requested workshops, discussions, hands-on time and of course, opportunities to network.

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Global Geospatial Event launches

A brand new global geospatial event is taking place in London next week and as you might expect Ordnance Survey are going to be there.

Over 2,000 people with interests in gathering, storing, processing and delivering geospatial information from the international geospatial industry are expected to attend some of the conference sessions, workshops and free exhibition.

GeoBusiness 2014 is taking place at the Business Design Centre in London over 2 days (28/29 May) and there is a packed conference programme with around 50 speakers including presentations by our acting Director General Neil Ackroyd talking about Innovation and beyond as well as Dr John Goodwin talking about Linked Data and Debbie Wilson sharing our experience of working internationally.

The exhibition features more than 80 free product and service workshops attending-workshops/ from a range of companies including one on how OS OpenData and geospatial information are driving innovation and supporting business growth.

Those attending the exhibition will learn how the content in the Gazetteer of Great Britain can be used to search for settlements, roads and postcodes as well as hear about our new thinking about improvements to OS Street View.

We will also be running special Land and Property sessions on our stand, so if you’d like to hear the latest on BIM or asset management, do drop along to the stand to say hello!

To find out more and to register, visit


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