Great Britain’s largest islands – poster now available

Disclaimer: please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the poster is temporarily unavailable.

If you loved our data visualisation showing Great Britain’s largest islands – great news, it’s now available to buy. In case you missed it at the time, our GeoDataViz team worked with Alasdair Rae at the University of Sheffield to explore Britain’s largest islands. They found that there are 82 English, Scottish and Welsh islands larger than 5km2 and created this beautiful poster to showcase their work.

We were overwhelmed with the fantastic response to the poster and inundated with hundreds of questions, many asking about missing islands. As we were only looking at Great Britain’s islands, this didn’t include Northern Ireland’s islands, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. You can see more about the difference between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and our Crown Dependencies in this blog. There are many more islands around Great Britain smaller than 5km2 – they’re just not included on the poster.

We also had a lot of requests for a printed poster, and our friends at the University of Sheffield have made this happen. There are a limited number of posters available, at A1 size which you can buy on their website for £15.
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Why speed data matters

Ordnance Survey (OS) Partner Basemap share their insights on speed data, why it matters and how their data is available via OS MasterMap Highways Network.

As autonomous vehicles develop around the world, we’re seeing a greater need for accurate data, both in live and static forms.

Live data enables dynamic routing, but it can be hard to pass the data from device to device quickly enough. A 5G network could help this issue, but it may take years to become a reality.

Static data is equally important as you need to have accurate base data which shows the difference between a road and a pavement, where a vehicle is allowed to drive, and any routing restrictions or speed limits. OS & GeoPlace have been working on this via the OS MasterMap Highways Network  product,  with Department for Transport investing £3 million pounds in its creation. Read More


Meet the team: Joe Harrison

Continuing our series to introduce some friendly faces from the people working at OS and showcase the wide variety of work we do, meet Joe Harrison. Joe joined OS on our graduate scheme in 2017 as a data scientist and has worked in a few areas of the business so far. If you’re a follower of the blog, you may recognise some of the project Joe’s worked on…

Hi, I’m Joe, one of the data science grads from the most recent graduate scheme. My first placement was an eight-month stay in the Consultancy & Technical Services team from September until the end of March. I then moved to the GeoDataViz team with Charley and Paul for a two-month placement.

Scottish Boundary Commission 

During my first week in the team, Charley was contacted by the Scottish Boundary Commission who wanted advice on how to visualise the new Scottish constituency boundaries and the changes. I created a couple of examples using QGIS. I improved the clarity of the maps by reducing the number of colours, and by adding shadows to emphasise areas of interest. Read More


Surveying the best buildings in Britain

The Royal Institute of British Architects is gathering tonight to preview the RIBA Stirling Prize 2018 shortlist. The annual awards celebrate the best buildings in the UK, the vast majority of which OS surveys and adds to the master map of Great Britain. We’re wondering if our surveyor Tim Glasswell will complete a hat trick and find he has surveyed the winning building once more…

Tim works in our East of England team and has surveyed two buildings in Cambridge which have previously won the national RIBA Stirling Prize – the Sainsbury’s Laboratory (at the University Botanic Garden) in 2012 and the Accordia development in 2008. From this year’s shortlist, Tim and colleague Howard Boyer, surveyed the Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery, University of Cambridge.

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Win a map for #GetOutsideDay

We want to get one million people across Great Britain active outdoors on Sunday 30 September for the first ever National GetOutside Day. It’s a part of ukactive’s European Week of Sport which sees a huge range of events taking place nationwide in a mission to improve the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often.

Throughout the day, free events are taking place all over Great Britain, including two organised walks led by OS GetOutside ambassadors Ben Fogle, Kenton Cool, Sean Conway and Mel Nicholls. Plus events hosted by OS GetOutside Champions, self-guided walks, or you can create your own events with our free pack.

It’s really important that everyone can get involved, whether you live in the town or the countryside. You can head to your local park, walk along the river, follow an urban sculpture train, try out a new cycle route, or whatever works for you. Read More


Geo work experience at OS

Elsa joined our Data Office in Southampton for work experience recently and shares her experience within the team.

I’m in year 12 studying Geography, Maths, Further Maths and English A-Levels in Devon. Once in the Data Office team I had the chance to work on my own project, which was on the archaeological sites of Dartmoor. This was ideal as I became interested in OS mapping from walking on the moors training for the Ten Tors challenge. Read More


OS welcomes UK government’s call for evidence to be a geospatial world leader

The Geospatial Commission, created by the UK government in November 2017, is inviting geospatial players and beyond to help shape the UK geospatial industry with its call for evidence to be a geospatial world leader. It is hoped the public consultation will help the industry support economic growth and unlock further value, which is estimated to be in the region of £11 billion a year. The geospatial call for evidence will play a significant role in setting the UK’s future geospatial vision. It will focus on innovation, enhancing geospatial assets and driving investment.

Neil Ackroyd, interim CEO of Ordnance Survey, said: “OS has been supporting Great Britain’s geospatial needs as its core task over its long history and we’ve seen first-hand the crucial role accurate geospatial can play. Whether it’s in national resilience, planning and critical infrastructure, or ensuring ambulances turn up at the correct location, geospatial has always been there. OS is pleased to be able to support  the Geospatial Commission and we welcome this public opportunity to shape our industry and recognise the challenge to adapt and enhance our combined capabilities.”

In the past decade, as new technologies and innovative ways of thinking have emerged, we have worked on many ground-breaking projects that are being enabled by geospatial data, delivering services and solutions to nations, cities and communities. The role that geospatial can play in emerging markets is of course key to this consultation covering a breadth of opportunity from connectivity for citizens, through environmental stewardship to the new digital infrastructure required for the UK.  The announcement of the geospatial strategy is very timely and this consultation is a significant event to build on the UK’s recognised position as a world leader in this field, putting geospatial at the heart of policy and government service delivery supporting  future economic growth.

Find out more about the consultation and take part:


Join our OS Open Zoomstack trial

Following our OS OpenData formats trial, we’re continuing to work to improve access to our opendata offerings. Our team have developed OS Open Zoomstack which makes elements of our opendata available as one map in one file to be used for GIS, web, mobile or offline use.

You can try out OS Open Zoomstack over the next three months. All we ask is for your feedback to shape its development for potential wider release. We believe that this will improve access to OS data and help current and future users to use our data in new ways. The trial is also a fantastic opportunity to test how we approach the development of Open MasterMap recently announced by the Geospatial Commission. This is an important step on the Open MasterMap implementation project highlighting our commitment to working with developers and the geospatial community to improve accessibility and usability of OS data.

What is OS Open Zoomstack?

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Britain’s largest islands

Disclaimer: please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the poster is temporarily unavailable.

UPDATE – buy the poster here:

Great Britain is an island in its own right, but aside from the mainland, there are hundreds of islands around the British coast, many uninhabited*. Inspired by David Garcia’s data visualisation of the Philippines, our GeoDataViz team worked with Alasdair Rae at the University of Sheffield to explore Britain’s largest islands.

They found that there are 82 English, Scottish and Welsh islands larger than 5km2. Scotland boasts the vast majority with 71, not surprising when you consider the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney and other beautiful islands off the coast. Wales had just 2 entries and England 9.

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