Guest blog by Myrddyn Phillips, Hill Data & Mountain Surveys
Calf Top (SD 664 856) is a rather unassuming hill which is approximately 6km south of Sedbergh in the Yorkshire Dales. It rises above the deep cleft of Barbondale to its east and Dentdale to its north, and although not the highest hill in the area it is quite prominent above its surroundings.
However, it isn’t the hill’s prominence that is of interest, it is its height, and being a mountain surveyor those hills that are given a 609m spot height on Ordnance Survey maps are particularly interesting, as this height equates to just under 2,000ft, with 609.6m the metric equivalent of this all important imperial height. All important, as 2,000ft is generally regarded as the benchmark height in England and in Wales for when a hill is promoted to the dizzying ranks of a mountain.
If you were watching BBC Breakfast this morning, you may have seen their reporter, Graham Satchell, heading out with our Flying Unit and finding out how we survey Britain from the skies.
We’ve actually been using aerial photography to carry out our surveys for almost 100 years. Originally, this had the advantage of capturing information from areas that surveyors found hard to visit on foot. Today, it means we can keep on top of the data capture process – making continuous revisions of the whole nation’s landscape.
Run An Empire were winners of the ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?’ Geovation Challenge. The Hoxton-based, PAN Studio were awarded £26,000 to develop their idea, an exercise strategy game on a smart phone app. Run An Empire uses GPS with OS data to record the paths players take and allows people to compete to capture and maintain control of as much territory as possible, using neighbourhoods as arenas for play. The more times people run or walk around their neighbourhood the more secure they can make it against ‘invasion’.
We have genuinely loved seeing all of the fantastic trig pillar photos that you’ve been sharing with us as we celebrate the 80th year of the trig. Across Twitter and Instagram you’ve sent in an amazing 1,656 entries of trigs across Britain. We highly recommend going and checking some of the entries out.
Our final winners have been picked and all of our T-shirts have now been given away. Check out the final winners below, and see all of the winners in our blog post.
Keeping everyone entertained over the summer holiday period can be a challenge, particularly if the British weather hits a damp spell. We’ve got five great activities, both indoor and outdoor, that will appeal to budding geographers and explorers.
1. Download the Minecraft map of Great Britain
Minecraft, the Swedish computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, remains hugely popular with users of all ages. With over 100 million copies sold, and more than 40 million unique Minecraft players each month, it’s grown into the Education sector and beyond. If you or your family are Minecraft devotees, why not try our geographically-accurate Minecraft map of Britain?
First released in 2013, following work by OS intern Joseph Braybrook, the map had 22 billion blocks representing the 224,000 square kilometres of our country. It even won us a Guinness World Record as the largest real-world place represented in Minecraft! We released an update in 2014 taking Britain’s Minecraft map to a staggering 83 billion blocks, perfect for a spot of gaming with geography combined. Download the GB Minecraft world and let us know how you get on.
2. Download our mappy colouring in sheets
If you dropped by the OS stand at the BBC Countryfile Live event last week, you could have found yourself chatting to our Consumer Marketing Manager Liz Beverley. We caught up with Liz before she packed up and headed to Oxfordshire to find out more about the maps you all use to explore the British countryside – be that paper or digital.
So Liz, who buys paper maps from OS these days?
Our paper maps are loved and relied on by hundreds and thousands of people each week. There’s something for everyone, from traditional walkers to people looking for a novel gift idea – such as our OS Custom Made map.
We introduced the Three Peaks Challenge map this summer, dedicated to those attempting this National challenge. It provides all the mapping you need to navigate the three routes of the peaks, plus an overview map which is really useful for driving between locations.
OS Partner Away Team Software have been on our blog previously, talking about their location tracking app, Trkd. Now they’re back with an out of this world adaptation…
Just before Christmas 2015, the UK was gripped by space fever as British ESA astronaut Tim Peake embarked on his six month Principia mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with live coverage from launch to docking. After witnessing the cheering crowds of children at London’s Science Museum, veteran cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space, said it rekindled his memories of the original human spaceflight programme from half a century ago.
By taking advantage of the intervening advances in technology, Tim has been able to engage his audience directly from space throughout his mission using digital photography, video and social media to inspire this generation and the next.
In the spirit of Principia, we decided to commemorate two of his iconic achievements in a fun and educational way by expanding our Trkd™ (pron. tracked) location tracking suite into space, which raised an important question: how do you track an astronaut?
Hands up if you’re looking for some free family activities over the summer holidays? We thought so…how about a spot of trig bagging to get the family outside? This year we’ve been celebrating the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar, those concrete pillars that are often found at the top of hills and create a handy photo opportunity.
Once a key part of our surveying network, and since superseded by GNSS, they stand tall and mark the summit of many a walk. With around 6,000 still standing around Britain you stand a fair chance of spotting one when you’re out exploring, and you can spot them on your map as the small blue triangle with a dot in the centre.
It’s not every day that we hear from one of our Licensed Partners that they’re about to appear on Dragon’s Den, pitching their map product to the panel. But David Overton of SplashMaps did just that, and we caught up with him last week, ahead of the broadcast. David couldn’t tell us the outcome at the time, but if you watched last night you’ll know that he put in a strong pitch, but sadly didn’t receive any funding. Find out more about SplashMaps and our Partner programme from David…
If you haven’t come across us before, SplashMaps makes wearable, washable, all-weather printed maps that can be customised for any part of Britain, and beyond. We set up in December 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea and used OS OpenData to print the first wearable maps of Britain’s National Parks.