Our Mapping for Emergencies (MfE) service supports the resilience community and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year at no cost to the user. Quick access to reactive geospatial support at any time, including outside normal working-hours is a key feature of MfE.
We’ve been running MfE for over twenty years and been called into action many times over that period. We’re often supporting localised responses to major incidents which occur at very short notice and are generally short-term. Recent examples include Toddbrook Reservoir and heavy snowfall in Cumbria.
We’ve all seen the photos of oversized vehicles, from HGVs to double-decker buses, who have struck low bridges and often caused traffic chaos in the surrounding areas. These strikes often happen multiple times in the same locations, despite signage noting the heights. To tackle this challenge, we’ve been working with TfL help reduce unnecessary traffic disruption from vehicles striking bridges across London. Yesterday, a free-to-use dataset to help combat bridge strikes was released by TfL. It will give freight and fleet operators access to detailed height restrictions on bridges and tunnels across the capital.
The height data was extracted from our detailed road network dataset, OS MasterMap Highways Network, with TfL manually including additional information to our data. We then worked with TfL through our Presumption to Publish process, available to all our Public Sector customers, to release the new dataset. Permission to release the data was obtained through our Presumption to Publish process, which is available to all our Public Sector customers.
Most of us are aware that Britain’s coastlines are constantly changing with erosion and landslides and we’ve blogged before about how our data is being used to predict future changes to the Scottish coastline. One challenge is capturing the changes quickly and ensuring our data reflects the current coastline.
A recent landslide on the Norfolk coast at Sidestrand demonstrated the benefit of drone use to capture change. Footage of the cliff fall was captured by a member of the public and James Morrison from our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) team, worked with our Norfolk–based surveyor Jez Hull, to respond quickly.
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Earlier this year the ‘Data Discoverability’ project, sponsored by the Geospatial Commission, took some really positive steps towards making it easier to find and access location-based information (or ‘geospatial’ data) on the web by:
- Publishing a standardised geospatial data catalogue on data.gov.uk for each of the Geo6* organisations, and;
- Making a number of user-research based recommendations for data publishers and search tool providers.
Last year the Government announced its plans to unlock its mapping and location data to boost the economy by £130m a year. Since then we’ve been working with the Geospatial Commission, the geospatial industry and our customers to make this a reality.
Chris Chambers is the OS lead on the Open MasterMap Programme and brings us up to date on progress so far.
What have we done so far Chris?
The Geospatial Commission and Ordnance Survey are working hard to deliver the government commitment to release Open MasterMap data. This is a large programme of work.
As you can see from the infographic above, the Open MasterMap Programme has a large number and wide variety of deliverables – ranging from clearer pricing & licensing information to introducing a whole new way of engaging with Ordnance Survey. We’re working with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the Open MasterMap deliverables best meet customer needs. I’d say that to date we’ve delivered in three main areas:
By Lucie Woellenstein, Graduate Data Scientist
Did you know that there are 50 motorways in Great Britain with over 8,300 km of roads and a whopping 666 junctions? How many junctions have you taken? Or will you be taking as you head off for the summer holidays? Ever tried to come off a motorway junction, only to find you’ve taken the wrong exit and are now heading in the wrong direction? Maybe you’ve driven through the famous ‘Spaghetti Junction’ in Birmingham, and wondered what it looks like from above? Or perhaps you’ve been perplexed at how the most complex of junctions somehow actually work?
Well here at Ordnance Survey, we’ve spent many hours over the years thinking about the interwoven laces of motorway junctions. Not from the perspective of a driver, but that of a cartographer. From data architects conceptually modelling how to capture data, to surveyors capturing the exact GPS locations of our roads, and to the cartographers that digitise the maps you use to travel along the motorways – a lot of thought goes into how to cartographically represent junctions in a way they make sense to the map reader.
Cartographically complex motorway junctions
The ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is the foremost collection of geographic information from around the globe. It includes maps, apps, and data layers from Esri’s authoritative community and the wider GIS world. A global audience accesses Esri’s curated set of data, which allows users to combine these multiple datasets with their own data to create new maps and applications. We’ve added OS Open Greenspace to test how the data is received and are keen for feedback from users who access it via Living Atlas.
Why was OS Open Greenspace selected?
Continuing our series to introduce you to the creative individuals within OS and share the variety of work we do, meet Hazel Hendley. As Interim HR Director, and currently recruiting for a Reward Manager to join OS, Hazel gives us a glimpse into her role and the HR team…
Tell us a bit about yourself Hazel
I have a background in Occupational Psychology and taking a strengths-based, positive approach is central to my HR philosophy. Helping business, teams and individuals meet their full potential is hugely rewarding for me.
Outside of work, I’m married and have a daughter. Both my husband and daughter are competitive triathletes and enjoy supporting their goals with good food and plenty of encouragement. In any spare moments I like spending time with friends and family and fitting the odd gym session in.
What’s been your personal highlight of working at OS?
There have been many highlights working here at OS, but one of my greatest memories was last September when the whole business participated in National Fitness Week with a day’s activity. We all got away from our desks, tried something new, got outside and had fun with our colleagues. It was a great privilege to be one of the sponsors of this.
Throughout July we’re running a series of OS API workshops around Britain to help you get to grips with OS data and understand how geospatial data can support clean energy initiatives.
The free two-hour sessions involve hands-on work with our OS Maps and OS Places APIs and you’ll be able to increase your geospatial skills and find out how to make the most of OS data. Our Geovation team will be hosting the events and will share how their customers and partners are using OS data and how the team can support SMEs. Our Consultancy and Technical team will lead the API workshops to share their expertise in using OS data.
We’ll use the workshop to focus on a specific problem space relating to clean energy, exploring solutions through the use of geospatial data and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which make data more accessible.
What the OS API workshop covers
- Learn more about APIs – introduction to APIs, why they are important, terminologies, how to use them
- Optimise the value of OS APIs
- Get hand on practical advice on using APIs – how they work
- What else OS is planning with APIs
- Understand a specific problem space which relates to clean energy
Our vision to deliver a single customer portal to provide easier access to OS products and services is continuing at pace. In the 12 months since work began on opening up OS MasterMap, we’ve been busy working with customers and testing the OS Data Hub. The design and build of the new developer portal is aimed at providing an easy to access service for our customers. It will replace our current OS OpenData download pages and the API shop, to give our customers:
- Access to free API services up to a threshold and allow users to purchase credit for further access
- A place to manage their accounts and view their data usage
- The option to download OS OpenData products
- Access to data in new and improved formats
- Feedback on errors and omissions in OS data
- A simple way to navigate to product information, an improved API document store, community support and help FAQs