As expert map readers will know, when you’re out and about navigating with a compass, there is a difference between magnetic north (where the compass points) and grid north (the vertical blue grid lines shown on OS maps). And if you’re exploring in the west of Great Britain, there is a change to be aware of…
The difference between magnetic north and grid north is often referred to as grid magnetic angle and it not only varies from place to place, but changes with time too, and needs to be taken into account when navigating with a map and compass.
In 2014 there was a significant event in the changing direction of magnetic north relative to grid north on OS maps. For the first time in Great Britain since the 1660s, magnetic north moved from being to the west of grid north to the east. The change started in the very south west corner of Britain, currently affects the areas to the west of the line on our map, and will slowly progress across the whole country over the next 12 to 13 years.
By Andrew Cooling, Strategic Development Manager (Government Relationships Team)
There’s a growing body of research showing a connection between greenspaces and human health and wellbeing.
So much so, areas of green – including parks, public gardens and open spaces – are now a key consideration in the design and structure of towns, cities and communities.
Research into this field comes from all sectors, including social, medical, transport, recreation, housing and planning.
One independent study by land management charity The Land Trust looked at the value of greenspaces and their impact on society. The Value of Greenspaces report reveals that they play a positive part in 90% of people’s wellbeing. Those living near these spaces felt more encouraged to stay fit and healthy, and believed that green areas helped make their communities more desirable (leading to economic uplift).
Greenspaces also improve air quality, reduce the likelihood of flooding, mitigate climate change and are havens for wildlife.
‘Green space should be accessible to as many people as possible. People are more likely to visit green space if they do not have to travel far to reach it, and the most frequent visitors report the greatest benefits to their mental wellbeing.’
There are economic benefits, too. According to the Office for National Statistics’ Natural Capital Accounts, the value associated with living near a green space is estimated to be just over £130 billion in the UK.
With this in mind, further research has been happening in the geospatial arena. What kind of greenspace? Where exactly is it? And how accessible? More insight is being applied to greenspaces to make them more ‘quantifiable’.
By Iain Goodwin and Kat Harrington
During the last year, OS has been working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to improve our joint understanding of high streets. Since the Government’s £675 million Future High Streets Fund budget announcement, our collaborative government project has become increasingly more significant.
The importance of high streets has also been acknowledged by Public Health England through their Healthy High Streets research, published at the beginning of 2018, highlights how a healthy high street provides “Accessible, safe, communal spaces foster social interaction and strong local economies and can be used to create healthier, safer and more cohesive local communities”. It also drew the conclusion that the “unequal distribution of healthy and unhealthy high streets is likely to contribute to health inequalities”.
This is a view echoed by retailer, Sir John Timpson, who speaking last December to the BBC about high streets said: “It’s not just about shopping. It’s about communities and creating a hub for entertainment, medical facilities, housing.”
So how can OS help?
We asked ourselves some questions. Where does a high street start and end? What is their geography, and how do they compare? High streets up and down the country have no obvious physical boundaries, and not knowing the exact geography of our high streets makes it difficult to identify and analyse them.
Our OS Maps users created over 300,000 public routes across Great Britain in 2018 (covering some 2,950,000 miles…) and we were curious to see where you most (and least) enjoy exploring. Our Data Scientist Andrew Radburn set to work analysing the data before our Data Visualisation expert Charley Glynn set to work to showcase the results.
Analysing OS Maps route data
Guest blog by Registers of Scotland.
Registers of Scotland is a non-ministerial government department that looks after registers relating to land, property and other legal matters. Two years ago Scotland’s land information service (ScotLIS) was set up to transform our services and make land and property data more accessible to all.
Since then, the service has truly evolved. From early development through to launch, the ScotLIS team has very much focused on a customer-centric approach. An example of this is the initial user workshops held with a range of stakeholders, with customer collaboration continuing throughout the development lifecycle.
OL17, our OS Explorer map for Snowdon is being launched today with a brand new cover, following a photo competition to be on the cover of the map. Amy Pennington from Cheltenham took the winning photo which now features on our best-selling map.
Our Snowdon map is consistently a top-seller and the area often features as the area with the most routes plotted in OS Maps too. With Wales’ tallest mountain to scale and the stunning Snowdonia National Park surrounding it, it’s easy to see why the area is so popular. The National Park was the third created in Great Britain, in 1951, following the National Parks Act in 1949, 70 years ago.
We decided to replace the map cover as it was due for a reprint, and after the success of our huge OS Photofit map cover competition in 2015, decided to open it up to the public and GetOutside fans again. We had a tough job choosing the winner, but Amy’s photo really captured the year-round beauty of the mountains.
OS Open Zoomstack is now available as a fully supported open data product. Thanks to the 1200 people who took part in our trial and gave us feedback and helped bring this product to life.
What is OS Open Zoomstack?
A comprehensive vector basemap of Great Britain, it’s fast and easy to use and takes you from national to local in one scroll of the mouse or pinch of the screen. It’s highly customisable and can be used in apps, on websites and even offline. Available as one file (in two different formats) our latest open data offering comes with styles, a simple data schema and guides to get you started.
Do you want to know more about OS data, how to make then most of it and partnering with OS? Why not come along to our technical showcase to find out more and meet our Inside Sales team.
Inside Sales work closely with the majority of OS’s SME Partner Community. We assist the start-ups and new business ventures. Working closely with the Geovation Hub based in London, we guide Geovation members and entrepreneurs that come to us direct, through the process of becoming an OS Partner.
The team has a range of experience from within OS and from working in the public sector, in sales, customer service and GIS expertise. We offer support from the very beginning of your journey to becoming a Partner, explaining what being an OS Partner entails, how our pricing and licensing works, advice on contracts how to calculate any royalties that may be due, and of course, we can help you with product enquiries.
If you have trialled our data (under the Data Exploration Licence) or you are simply ready to go to market using our data or our APIs with a commercial product, our team will take the time to really understand what it is that you are looking to achieve and walk you through the contracts and licensing journey.
Please come along to the technical showcase to have a chance of meeting the team and letting them help you to explore how to use GIS data to meet your business need. If you are unable to attend please speak to our team, you can call us on 023 80 055991 or email: email@example.com.
Join us in Southampton on Thursday 7 February for a technical showcase. Our Product and Consultancy teams will lead the day with a mix of practical workshops, 1-2-1 discussions and information stands.
A huge thank you to everyone who has visited the OS blog over the last 12 months and been keeping up to date on all things maps and data. We’ve totted up the figures to work out your favourite blogs from 2018…so take a look and catch up on any you missed first time around.
Great Britain’s largest islands
The stunning poster created by Joe Harrison in our GeoDataViz team, working with the University of Sheffield, showcases the 82 islands of Great Britain which are larger than 5km2. It also created wide debate about what was and wasn’t an island and even what is Great Britain!