Back in January we advertised our 2016 map trade-in scheme, encouraging you to return your old and out-dated maps to us and in return, our Map Shop sent out vouchers for money off any new map purchases. It was a phenomenal success – and our Customer Service team are still processing returns – but we think we’ll have received around 35,000 maps! That compares to 10,000 returned in a similar scheme in 2014.
We knew that outdoors enthusiasts could build up impressive collections of OS maps (did you see the chap on the Timeshift documentary last year with thousands of maps?), but we have been overwhelmed with the number being returned.
If the onset of Spring, or even the Easter holidays are making you want to #GetOutside more, make sure you brush up on your map reading skills first.
Map reading is an essential skill for any explorer or outdoor enthusiast, but can seem really daunting if you haven’t looked at an OS map since your Geography GCSE. To help you to get the most out of your map, and to explore the British countryside, we teamed up with Steve Backshall for a series of videos. They take you through the basics of map reading step by step to help you feel confident with your map.
Watch the full video playlist on map reading skills here:
More map reading advice
We launched the Geovation water challenge last December with support from Southern Water, United Utilities, the Environment Agency and Defra, asking developers and start-ups for sustainable ideas that improve how Britain manages its water use.
The Challenge attracted over 50 great ideas, from which 10 finalists were invited to pitch their ideas to secure support and funding through the Geovation Programme.
Hear from the Geovation water challenge winners
Refillable Cities: Natalie Fee, Olivia Drake, Thomas Bell and Gus Hoyt aim to reduce dependency on plastic bottled water with a nationwide roll out of an app that pinpoints users to free tap water refill points. The app will capture data and encourage behaviour change through rewards and points that can be exchanged for money off vouchers.
We’re still best known for our iconic paper maps, but in actual fact, over 90% of our business comes from digital data. Data that supports Britain’s economy and is used by government and business across the country and beyond. To collect, produce and deliver this digital data, we’ve built a talented team of people, from the more traditional OS roles of surveyors collecting location information and cartographers who produce our maps; to software engineers, designers, product managers, user experience architects, data managers and more. We were thrilled to see one of our teams recognised recently in the Real IT Awards Operational Efficiency Category Shortlist. We caught up with Keith Watson, Agile Delivery Manager, to find out more.
— Matthew Skelton (@matthewpskelton) 11 February 2016
It’s not every day that our surveyors have the chance to climb Ben Nevis with all of their kit and resurvey the mountain. But they did recently and found that Great Britain’s tallest mountain is taller than we thought. Our new paper and digital maps will show the height as 1,345m and not 1,344m.
The latest Ben Nevis map showing the new height of 1345
The Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) is a collective agreement between OS and the government. Its licence lets public sector organisations in England and Wales access and share OS digital mapping. With the news this week that our Public Sector Mapping Agreement now has over 4,000 members, we went back through the archives to find out first member, Cambridgeshire County Council. Denis Payne at CCC tells us why they were so keen to be involved and how GI has benefited them over the last five years.
CCC became the first member of the PSMA, why do you think that was?
We signed up straight away in April 2011, for us it was a no-brainer. The PSMA is a collective agreement that covers all government, is free at the point of use, gives access to all of the OS data we need and has the scope to work with contractors, other Local Government members and Central Government/Public Sector departments as we need. I think most councils got involved pretty quickly.
Rugby is in the forefront of many fans minds at the moment with the Six Nations Championship well underway. It’s following just months after the hugely successful Rugby World Cup 2015 which was hosted by England, and an event at which we at OS can claim to have had a hand in its safe and secure running.
Events like the Rugby World Cup 2015, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking place in Great Britain, require a huge amount of contingency planning by our security services and the Government (UK and Devolved), often starting years ahead of the events themselves. Through our Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), we provide a consistent national framework of geospatial data for the public sector. The analytical capability of our data means our Government customers can combine it with their own data and integrate it into event specific products and solutions to make a real difference to their work.
Last year we launched the Geovation Hub in London. The collaborative workspace is aimed at providing entrepreneurs, developers and innovators unparalleled access to geospatial data and expertise, as well as a place to exchange ideas, innovate and get inspired. The Hub has grown to almost 500 members, the team have their first Geovation Programme well underway (and are recruiting for the second intake) and have run the Geovation water challenge, producing three winning teams to support further.
We’ve also updated our developer licence terms and launched the new look terms as the Data Exploration Licence at the Geovation Hub, as a trial before rolling it out across the OS licence framework. The Data Exploration Licence gives Hub members free access to OS data for 12 months (or 3 months for any OS data products which contain third party data). Members can access all of the data while they’re at the Hub to research and evaluate ideas, build prototypes and identify commercial opportunities for their business ideas.
When we heard from Steve Morley at the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust last year and he told us about his Kent2 Challenge, we knew we had to be involved in some way. Steve is the Property Asset Manager at the charity and had a fantastic fundraising idea, to run, cycle or walk across, or into, every kilometre grid square within the County of Kent by the end of 2016.
Since launching our OS Mars map a few weeks ago, we’ve had interest from far and wide. We’ve heard from map lovers and space fans in their droves, but we didn’t expect to hear from a world-record holding Olympian. American decathlete Ashton Eaton was inspired to enter the competition to design a map symbol for Mars. Ashton tells us how curiosity and the desire to explore have helped drive his athletic success.
My life has been defined by athletics, so far. However it has been governed by something else; curiosity. Since I can remember I’ve had the involuntary urge to know “what’s over there?” In my younger years the daily foray into the backyard or neighboring woods was enough to satisfy the urge. But as we grow, so do our appetites. I hungered for greater undiscovered things. Around the same time I began to realize that there was so much stuff out in the world; so much to know. Since then I’ve wanted to know everything! “Why?” and “How?” sit in my mind like twin Jabba the Hut’s constantly wanting to be fed and entertained. They are only satiated by the low-error, high-scrutiny, no artificial solutions diet that is science. My natural tendencies led me to fall in love with exploration and science!