Inspired by our CEO Nigel Clifford’s interview with Civil Service World, we asked some of our senior team to share their highlights from the last 12 months and the challenges facing them in 2017. We’re starting with David Henderson, our Director of Products.
What was your highlight of 2016?
The growth and impact of our Geovation Hub in Clerkenwell, London has been a beacon of many things in 2016. It’s reflected our commitment to supporting the growth of new business opportunities whilst at the same time acting as a broader catalyst for greater collaboration across the more traditional geospatial sector. We’ve seen a growing number of partners getting involved and we’ve helped to kick start some exciting new businesses. The enthusiasm of participants for our Geovation Challenges continues to be overwhelming. And with the addition of the Geovation community we’re really excited about the outputs of the current Underground Assets challenge which will gather momentum at the start of 2017.
A fitting surveying article for this time of year, as people head out to do the Christmas shopping…Bruce Ford and Paul Fozard mapped out the Victoria Gate arcade in Leeds. Find out how they went about adding such a large development to the database.
Over 18 months, the 50m high and 200m long Victoria Gate shopping precinct has risen from a 5-acre reclaimed site. Sandwiched between Leeds Bus Station and ‘The Headrow’, the new John Lewis department store, 800-bay multi-storey car park and sophisticated retail ‘street style’ arcade was constructed by Hammerson and cost £165 million. Field surveyors Bruce and Paul from our West Yorkshire team took up the inner-city prestige site task, armed with their GNSS equipment.
As we get closer to the end of 2016, we decided to take a look back at the blogs you liked the most over the year. We were pleased to see that the popular topics covered off our 225th anniversary and the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar as well as many other topics in between. Read your top ten:
The planet Mars became the latest subject in our long line of iconic OS paper maps. The one-off OS Mars map, created using NASA open data and made to a 1:4,000,000 scale, was made to see if our style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions. You can also order a copy for your wall in the OS shop.
You may have heard us saying that there are over 500,000 routes in our OS Maps service…well, we analysed all of that data to look at which areas you most like to #GetOutside and explore. We compiled a list of the 20 most popular grid squares in Britain, using 10 years of public routing data created in OS Maps and its predecessors.
Guest blogger Nicholas White explains how photography and opendata go hand in hand…
I began my photography career shooting digitally. Digital was commonplace, both on consumer and professional levels. It seemed to be the go-to medium for financial viability, instant gratification and provided the photographer with the ability to produce large quantities of imagery without breaking the bank. This is by no means a bad thing, I’m all for embracing change. Change is good, it keeps us on our toes, opens doors to new methods of image-making and challenges us to think about how we align with the current trends in photography. Instagram and smartphone photography has added an extra dimension to this rapidly shape-shifting medium, with an average of 70 million photos per day being shared in 2015.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been sharing unusual surveying stories with you – from mapping chalk figures to lifeboat stations to the aftermath of a flood. All of these tasks form a part of the 10,000 changes a day taking place in our database of Great Britain. The variety of jobs faced by our 250+ surveyors is unending. We’ve compiled three of our recent favourites to share this week.
Surveying The Queen Mother
A new statue of The Queen Mother was unveiled as the centrepiece of Queen Mother Square, in Poundbury, Dorchester. The Poundbury development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. It’s an urban extension to Dorchester, built on the principles of architecture and urban planning as advocated by The Prince of Wales in ‘A Vision of Britain’. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall all visited on 27 October to unveil the new statue – already expertly mapped by OS surveyor Roger Lewis.
Putting a new Coastguard base on the map
With just over two weeks to go until Christmas, we started thinking about our favourite Christmas place names around Great Britain. Take a look and let us know of any others we should add to the list…
From Cold Christmas (Hertfordshire) and Christmas Cross (Shropshire) to Holly Green (Worcestershire) and Ivy Tree (Cumbria), there are places scattered across the country where it feels like Christmas all year round – even if only in name.
Guest blog by surveyor Bill Cranna
As surveyors, we’re used to working in all aspects of the landscape, but a request from Registers of Scotland (RoS) was a little more unusual. Last winter saw enormous flooding along the River Dee, at Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire. The floods resulted in devastation along the length of the river and in particular, the town of Ballater. The local caravan park was completely swamped and over 30 mobile homes and their contents washed away. RoS asked us to survey 5km of riverbank to check the effects of the flooding.
It’s December, so we feel safe mentioning the ‘C’ word and sharing our 5 favourite Christmas gifts for the map lover in your life. Grab some inspiration here:
1. The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain
Relax this Christmas and take an immersive colouring trip across the country, from coasts and forests to our iconic cities and landmarks. The latest addition to the colouring-in craze puts the intricate detail our maps on the page, ready for you either restore them to their original colour scheme – or add your own abstract creative touch! Practice some mindfulness and colour in or simply pore over the maps: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/great-british-colouring-book.html
2. OS Custom Made
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one of our Custom Made maps tells a story. You can put your memories – where you were born, where you met, where you live –at the centre of one of our maps. You can choose a folded map at OS Explorer or OS Landranger map scale, add your own photo and title and centre it wherever you like. Or pick a unique flat map that can be framed and hung on the wall – still with your own title and centred where you choose. For the first time this year, we’re also offering a canvas version for you to hang on your wall. Custom Made map prices start at £16.99, take a look: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/custom-made-maps.html
3. OS clothing collection
Cabin crew doors to manual and seat belts signs switched off…the 2016 flying season is complete. Jean Martin and her team explain why the season has come to an end and what they’re planning next.
It’s been another busy year for the OS Flying Unit, working from our East Midlands Airport base and taking to the skies in the two Cessna 404s. Flying from Lands’ End to Orkney, we’ve covered some 54,203 square kms of GB and taken over 141,700 aerial photographs along the way.
Did you watch ITV’s Countrywise on Friday night? If you tuned in, you’ll have seen Ben Fogle being an honorary surveyor as it became Scafell Pike’s turn for a re-measure. It marked the finale of the re-measurement of Scotland, Wales and England’s famous three mountain highs – Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike.