As co-founder of property.xyz, Robert Jones has been investing in property for more than 15 years and creating data led content with Property Investments UK for over 8 years. As a member of Geovation, Robert explains how his company has been utilising OS data with the aim of building the world’s most intelligent property platform…
Carly Florina, ex-CEO of Hewlett Packard once said, “the goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight”, and she couldn’t be more right.
Because while collectively we are gathering data at a greater scale than ever before, the usefulness of it all remains largely elusive.
As such, lying before us, at the beginning of the data revolution, are vistas of untapped potential. Companies possessing a vision of how to transform the information at our disposal into something useful find themselves empowered to make a meaningful difference in their respective industries like never before.
As the Technical Director at Cadcorp, Martin Daly has written this week’s #OSDeveloper guest blog to share his experience of the new OS Data Hub and desktop GIS…
At Cadcorp, we have, for the best part of 30 years, endeavoured to ensure that our Cadcorp SIS – Spatial Information System® suite of GIS software supports all of the wide variety of Ordnance Survey data products, in all of the wide variety of data supply formats, in as simple and effective a way as possible.
We’ve worked very hard over those years to allow end-users to, for example, drag-and drop file-based data in the format supplied by OS. That capability began all the way back with Land-Line NTF in the 1990s:
Here at OS, we have an array of addressing products which can be utilised based on specific customer requirements. We have designed an interactive StoryMap that gives users an introduction to Code-Point, Code-Point with Polygons, Code-Point Open and AddressBase products.
This resource explains some key points regarding these addressing and location datasets. As well as answering some of our most asked questions, we have included two case studies (which focus on insurance and navigation) to highlight where certain datasets might be more appropriate to use.
In case you missed our big news, back in July we launched the OS Data Hub. As our new data platform, the OS Data Hub is transforming the way people access, share, and innovate with location data.
DataIQ connects, educates and supports people in data and analytics. The platform focuses on the needs of data and analytics professionals from global, FTSE 100, large and mid-market organisations.
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As part of our developer series, we recently discussed the benefits of vector tiles in one of our previous blog posts.
OS Open Zoomstack and the OS Vector Tile API already offer some amazing mapping which can be used as the basis for overlaying other information. There are various ways to add data overlays to your base map including data received from Web Feature Services (WFS) such as the OS Features API or simply GeoJSON files which are stored on your web server.
Although both these options are perfect for smaller volumes of data (in terms of number of features and/or geometric complexity), sometimes it makes more sense to take advantage tiled vector data which can enable data of any size to be quickly rendered in your browser.
The OS Vector Tile API already offers a selection of data overlays but, with the right tooling and a bit of data processing, it is relatively straight-forward to generate your own.
In this blog, we are going to look at the steps involved in creating your own vector tile overlay using the parliamentary constituency polygons from the Boundary-Line dataset. Although we are using the parliamentary constituencies in this example, it is possible to swap in any of the administrative and electoral boundaries (or alternatively the entire dataset as demonstrated here).
As a Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland, Chris Fleet oversees the historical maps website https://maps.nls.uk. In this week’s #OSDeveloper blog, Chris offers us insight into his experience of the new OS Data Hub in the form of a guest blog…
We were keen to get our hands on the new OS Data Hub maps API layers when these were launched on 1 July. For the last ten years, the NLS has been happily using OS OpenData as a modern map layer in our maps website viewers, but the new OS Maps API layers have a number of advantages over these.
Data can be incredibly useful. By analysing or interpreting the information contained in data, better decisions can be made.
Ordnance Survey is one of the world’s oldest data organisations. We have gathered information about Great Britain since 1791, organising, analysing and disseminating maps and other information. As information technologies have evolved from tables and charts and pen-and-paper calculations to databases, vector graphics and sophisticated machine learning algorithms, OS has been a leader in adopting and innovating new ways to capture, store, process and share valuable location information.
The challenge – managing data
Ordnance Survey has a rich cartographic history – we have been mapping the Great British landscape for 229 years! From navigating the countryside on foot to helping utility companies manage and track their assets underfoot, our maps offer a range of functions. As a result, our cartographers make lots of intricate design decisions to ensure that our maps meet the needs of each of our different users.
Our paper maps (and their digital raster data equivalents) carry their own beautiful cartography which is well established and well understood. A great example of this is our OS Explorer Maps. For many, these maps have a sentimental or nostalgic value – they can evoke memories of adventure and can connect the map reader to locations. Cartography is a powerful form of visual communication.
Fast, customisable, versatile web maps
Web mapping has come a long way since the first map server was built in 1993 at the famed Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Since then, users have come to expect intuitive, beautiful and instant maps on their desktop and mobile devices.
The typical modern map user accesses map data on devices that usually don’t have the storage capacity for high resolution maps of the entire world. Instead, apps and websites show mapping data that is served as needed over the web.
When a web map is loaded, it is set to a zoom level and extent, which defines the level of detail and the area that will be visible in the viewer. A map server sends grid sections of the map, called “tiles”, to the user, where they are arranged in the right configuration to appear as a map. As the user pans and zoom in and out, requests for the correct tiles are sent, and the response is used to update the screen.
Since last autumn we’ve been asking people to trial our new OS Data Hub and our new APIs. A big thank-you to everyone who took part, we’ve had over 700 people sign up for the trial, use our APIs and download data. Since October last year we’ve seen:
- 14,448 OS OpenData downloads
- 15.5 million map tile requests for our OS Maps API
- 1.5 million OS Features API requests
- 1,464 API Projects created
All of this has helped us to shape the OS Data Hub and APIs through customer testing and feedback. We’ve already seen some innovative uses of our APIs, including a community support tool for people shielding from Coronavirus and stunning 3D visualisations of the Scottish Highlands. We look forward to seeing more creative applications in the near future.