National Allotment Week kicked off yesterday, celebrating the hard work that volunteers, councils and organisations put in on all of the sites across the country. To mark the week, allotment groups are opening their gates and holding barbecues, plant and produce sales, allotment tours, competitions and exhibitions, coffee mornings and afternoon teas – many of them raising funds to support local charities.
Allotments are a fantastic way to #GetOutside and enjoy some fresh air, meet new people, and grow your own fruit and vegetables. The National Allotment Society say that 30 minutes of gardening on your allotment can burn around 150 calories, the same as doing low impact aerobics. Plus, allotments provide essential habitats for wildlife. Just 1 square metre of land can support hundreds of different species.
Did you know?
Did you know that our Partner A-Z Maps is also the official mapping partner for the National Trails of England and Wales? They reproduce our 1:25,000 data (as used in our own OS Explorer maps) to cover the 16 long distance paths that are official National Trails. Ideal if you have a long distance summer adventure planned!
Their A-Z Adventure Series is in a convenient book format with an index to places of interest, towns, villages and features. Their books cover nearly all the 15 National Trails, and they’re aiming to complete the set by autumn 2017. Latest releases include the Norfolk Coast Path and the Yorkshire Wolds Way.
Keeping the family entertained during summer holidays 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. And a fantastic competition to win some books to help you with the entertainment…
Download our 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. If you or your family are Minecraft devotees, why not try our geographically-accurate Minecraft map of Britain?
A big thank you to everyone who came along to the #DataMash at our Southampton head office. The data- and geography-themed unconference was a collaboration between OS and Defra, with around 150 attendees from across the Defra Group, alongside representatives from some of Defra data suppliers, data users, and IT providers.
Defra works with 33 organisations and 22,000 people (such as Environment Agency, Natural England, Rural Payments Agency, Animal and Plant Health, Forestry Commission) and a huge user of OS data as around 80% of the Defra group’s work has a geospatial element.
The overall theme of #DataMash was transformation towards being data driven, connecting geospatial data to government policy development and the implementation and monitoring of policy/citizen services
Opening tomorrow, during National Parks Week 2017, is The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland National Park. Our surveyor Richard Bennett was on site recently to ensure the building was added to the map.
The Sill is the result of a partnership between the National Park and YHA England and Wales, including space for exhibitions, a café, a Youth Hostel, a rural business hub, and a shop specialising in local crafts and produce.
Richard was on hand to measure every aspect of the site and add the featured to 550 million in our geospatial database. His GNSS receiver locks on to several satellites and a series of ground stations (that’s right, no trig pillars required!) and the calculations are accurate to within a few centimetres.
If you tuned in to BBC’s Countryfile on Sunday, you’ll have seen Roger Nock from our Flying Unit talking to Adam Henson at his Cotswold farm. We were talking about how the aerial imagery we fly in our planes has been used to map hedgerows for the Rural Payments Agency, and help work out subsidies for farmers. We showed an example of how 3D data can be captured and displayed over Adam’s farm.
After the programme, we received a tweet asking where the LiDAR camera was in our plane. The answer is simply that we don’t fly LiDAR (3D laser scanning of the ground) and our planes are surveying aerial imagery (taking a photo with a high-resolution camera on-board the plane). We are treating this imagery in a similar way to how others would work with LiDAR data though.
3D mesh of Adam’s farm, with attributes attached to the data
So, what were you seeing on Countryfile?
Yes, there are 607 OS paper maps of Great Britain for you to choose from, but did you know there are also infinite Custom Made maps you can order? Tens of thousands of you have already put your Custom Made map orders in, creating enough map areas to cover the moon three times, an amazing 111.5 million km2 of Britain printed on your maps.
OS Open Greenspace launches today, becoming the latest free product available as OS OpenData. The new open dataset will help communities, businesses and developers to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.
A Government initiative to make it easier for people to locate and access greenspaces launched with the release of our open dataset and maps every publicly accessible recreational and leisure greenspace in Great Britain.
You can access the data, covering all of Britain’s urban greenspaces, through our OS OpenData download page. OS Open Greenspace contains data from us and other sources, and you can also see it immediately through our free OS Maps service and app.
If you’re a regular blog reader, it will be no surprise to hear us talking about safety. We launched National Map Reading Week last year and talk about safety tips every single year. So you can imagine how dismayed we were to read this:
When you also know that Mountain Rescue England & Wales (MREW) attended 1,812 callouts last year, up 170 on 2015, and that 500 of those callouts were avoidable, and reasons include people getting lost…then you can see why we keep talking about safety.
We’ve teamed up with MREW to make the great outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe for all, by encouraging everyone to be more mindful and better prepared when heading outside. Why? Because MREW’s 2016 callout figures showed incidents to be up for the fourth year running. And our own survey of 2,000 outdoors enthusiasts revealed 76% of British recreational walkers and hikers do not properly plan their route or what to pack in preparation of their walk/hike.