The Year of Engineering launched at Allenby Primary School in Southall, Ealing last week and our surveyor and air camera operator Roger Nock was on hand to inspire the children. The Minister of State at the Department for Transport, John Hayes CBE MP was at the Primary Futures event along with volunteers from the world of engineering, aiming to showcase the vast range of exciting roles within the sector.
Guest blog by Niraj Saraf, Urban Innovation Lead, Innovate UK
Innovate UK’s mission is to help the UK economy grow by inspiring and supporting pioneering UK businesses to create the industries of the future. We do this through funding risky innovation projects and through connecting innovators to opportunities and resources, and my role within the organisation is very much about helping businesses develop new solutions to the complex challenges facing cities.
Like Ordnance Survey and Geovation, we recognise that good ideas and data to help cities overcome their challenges do not exist solely in one organisation, but in many different places. This is why we are very pleased to be collaborating with Geovation to seek ideas that can help give us smarter, greener communities.
We’ve been working with Glasgow City Council (GCC) since 2013, supporting their journey to become a world-leading smart city following funding through Innovate UK. Throughout, we’ve been demonstrating the power of location data in the technologies and decision-making needed to create a smart city. Our data, provided through the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) has played an integral role in delivering services to both citizens and business, including during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
To build a truly smart city, Glasgow needed to maximise the value of data and make it widely available. GCC identified over 1,000 datasets which it wanted to release to support innovators, SMEs and partners delivering smart solutions. Working together with GCC to make this happen not only supported Glasgow’s smart city ambitions, but also shaped how OS data has become more usable, more open and more accessible. The early work with GCC has also enabled greater data sharing to support smart city development across Great Britain.
Whether it’s people buying the essential maps and outdoor equipment to help them enjoy the great outdoors, or searching for the perfect gift, our online store is attracting shoppers from around the world. The shop, which opened in 1999, has sold items to people in 40 countries, including Panama, Madagascar, Mexico, Sierra Leone and Guatemala. That’s around 20% of the countries around the world!
The green shading denotes the countries who have bought from the OS shop this year
Ordnance Survey International (OSI) is working with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and the World Bank to build the geospatial capacity of Tanzania. You can find out more about it in our recent news release.
We recently held two high-level geospatial policy seminars to explore the benefits and nature of national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) policies. These seminars brought together senior delegates from across government departments in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to consider the particular cross-government challenges facing them. Disaster response, revenue generation and environmental management are three examples that would benefit from cross-cutting geospatial policies. In both seminars, principles to underpin policies were determined and agreed by delegates. Most importantly all attendees want NSDI policies and intend to work together to help write them.
Training in Zanzibar
By Iain Goodwin, OS Relationship Manager across all government sectors
At a time when there’s an appetite for making better use of data to improve services, I’ve been thinking…
If we recognise the value of the output (a map as an evidence base to underpin decision making), what can be done to improve the input (the data)?
The answer, I believe, is unique geographic keys.
Data visualisation is absolutely crucial in helping public sector organisations work smarter and underpinning policy making. It helps to make sense of population characteristics, understand the needs of communities, and target resources effectively.
Examples of individual unique keys are scattered across the public sector: Healthcare has the NHS Number. HMRC has the National Insurance Number. The DVLA links us to our vehicle registrations with a Unique Driver Licence Number. But these organisations are concerned with their own characteristics. So, how can departments ensure these unique keys describe the same people?
The answer is to link them to the unique geographic keys that describe places. And in most cases, this will be property. Unlike unique keys for citizens, there is one version of the truth for property – the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).
Sunny day? Head to the coast to enjoy the British beaches. Need to de-stress? Head to the coast and have a walk, listen to the waves crashing and smelling the sea air. Picturing your perfect holiday home? Chances are it’s on the coast. It’s safe to say that most Britons are fans of the coast and there’s a good chance that you’re aware of coastal change to some degree. Whether it’s investment in coastal defences, cliff falls or erosion impacting landowners, coastal change often hits the news.
Great Britain has tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline, which is a key resource and home to communities, businesses and infrastructure – as well as being a great place to holiday. Looking at Scotland, around 20% of the population live within 1km of the coast, that’s around 1 million people. Yet 19% of the coast is erodible or ‘soft’.
What does that mean for the coast? According to Dynamic Coast it means that thousands of assets are at risk. Within just 50m of the Scottish coast lie 34,000 buildings, of which 72% are residential properties. You also have 1,300km of roads, 100km of rail networks and 600 natural heritage sites.
By Richard Martin, GIS Analyst at the National Trust
As keen followers of the OS blog, we found the ‘trodden paths’ post in August of particular interest. The National Trust (NT) is a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. We were therefore interested in discovering how much NT land currently occupies the most popular OS 1km map tiles that contain the largest number of public routes going through them. We were delighted to find that within the OS top 20 tiles (2,000ha) the NT looks after 924ha (46%), showing a very strong correlation with the places that OS Maps subscribers most like to walk.
By Jeremy Morley, Chief Geospatial Scientist
‘Digital Twin’ is the new ‘Smart City’. It’s a term that has little consensus on its meaning, but critical importance for those who understand its significance and role in a prosperous future for the UK.
Earlier this month, at the Digital Twin Data Challenge, we saw academics and professionals compete to create a digital model of Bristol: a virtual ‘echo’ or projection of the city, created in digital form.
This isn’t a new concept. From the interwoven narratives of Lewis Carroll’s “Sylvie and Bruno” in 1893, to the 1982 cult classic action of “TRON” bringing software programs to life in an abstract digital landscape, we can fast-forward to 1999 and see Neo ‘living’ in an almost perfect simulation of the real world in “The Matrix”. Dystopian? Perhaps. But that was nearly 30 years ago. Today, this notion of creating parallel worlds is more than a possibility. It’s a reality – and a necessity.
We all know that getting outside for a walk is great for both our physical and mental well-being, but did you know that having a good belly-laugh can provide another boost to wellness? We’re supporting Solent Mind as our corporate charity, raising funds to support better mental health, so the prospect of a charity comedy gig with a map theme during #NationalMapReadingWeek was irresistible.
Comedy performer Helen Wood came to our attention this summer, when she was performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as Helen’s show explored one of her passions, OS maps. The eight performances of ‘The OS Map Fan Club’, were sold out at Edinburgh.
Helen is performing her solo show at our Southampton head office on Monday 16 October at 7pm. Space is limited, so booking is necessary, and attendees are asked to make a minimum donation of £5 on the night to gain access. To reserve your place email email@example.com.