When we were planning the move to our new head office, we had quite a dilemma over how to dispose of our excess furniture in as environmentally friendly a way as possible.
We were moving from a block purpose built for our needs in the 1960s, with space for over 3,500 people, to a new head office, planned and built for around 1,000 people. This meant we had excess racking and shelves, desk screens, filing cabinets, cupboards, desks, desk chairs, meeting chairs, plan chests, pedestals, soft seating, plants and much more. While some certainly seemed to be reusable, other items, once unbolted from walls and floors and moved, would be of little use to anyone.
Have you come across this problem in the past? How did you deal with it? We worked with a company called Go Green Reprocess Ltd to ensure our excess furniture was disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. As well as recycling every scrap of material they possibly can, Go Green Reprocess work to sell and donate reusable items in the local community. In total, they processed some 17 895 items for us, amounting to 484.6 tonnes – and not one piece of our furniture went to landfill.
In fact, around 20% of the furniture was either sold or donated for reuse. Some 30 organisations benefitted, most local to our Southampton head office, and a handful local to Go Green Reprocess’ base in Shropshire. The rest of the furniture was then stripped apart (often a painstaking task, I’m told) and recycled.
While we know a number of contacts at local schools and charities, Go Green Reprocess spread the net much wider and contacted 123 schools in the area as well as many local charitable groups. They arranged viewing of the items available and then collated lists of requested items and arranged collection times. Local organisations that received donations included Romsey District Scouts, Nursling and Rownhams Village Hall, Hounsdown School and Oakwood Primary School.
Go Green Reprocess have already had some great feedback:
There is no budget allowance for this type of equipment in schools at the moment, therefore the school really do appreciate the generosity of Ordnance Survey and Go Green. Thank you for your help.
Doreen Longman, Community Development Officer, Hounsdown School
Thank you so much for allowing us to collect items from the clearance at Ordnance Survey, we are extremely grateful. I attach our certificate of thanks…
David Sutton, Vice President, Romsey District Scouts
Last week, 1 April, saw the launch of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). This means that public sector organisations in England and Wales have access to most of Ordnance Survey’s mapping data under a single agreement for the first time.
The PSMA is open to the 750 public sector organisations previously covered by other agreements with us – such as the Pan Government and Mapping Services agreements – as well as 1,000s of others in the public sector. It covers local and central government organisations, as well as health bodies, town and parish councils, Welsh community councils, UK Search and Rescue organisations and many more.
We invited those public sector organisations already in agreements with us to sign up for the PSMA from February 2011. We were really pleased that 75% of organisations took up the opportunity. For everyone else, our new PSMA website went live on 1 April.
For the first time our public sector customers can now order and receive their data online. PSMA members can also contact each other through the new website and share ideas on the dedicated PSMA community forum.
By making it easier for PSMA members to contact each other and widening the access to data through the PSMA, this will help deliver significant cost savings for the public sector, and greater data sharing. And it’s not just about widening access.
The geographic data we provide, including our OS MasterMap products, will be free at the point of use for public sector bodies that join up. It will not be subject to limits on re-use when used internally within the public sector for public sector activities.
The new agreement also enables sharing of our data, and members’ derived data, with anyone to support delivery of the member’s public sector activity.
We’re hoping to see our data being used in new and innovative ways to improve efficiency, deliver cost savings and improve front-line services across England and Wales.
You can find more information on the PSMA and benefits for members on our website.
Following on from last week’s article on the wide range of work our cartographers cover, we started thinking about how cartography has changed over the years. We have a number of team members who have recently moved to our new head office at Adanac Park, and have also worked at our previous two Southampton bases, at Romsey Road and London Road, spanning more than 40 years. I caught up with John to find out a bit more… if you have any memories about cartography at Ordnance Survey, let us know.
“My time at Ordnance Survey started with a training course on 25 January 1966 with me earning the princely sum of £446 per annum. After a few weeks we moved from to the training drawing sections at London Road. The building had been caught in the blitz in 1941 and was a shadow of its former self. At this point in time it still felt like a military organisation with military personnel occupying all of the top management positions.
My cartography skills started with the ruling pen. We would draw a 7/1000 inch gauge line in black ink onto enamel. We were working on enamel coated zinc plates on which an image of the surveyor’s work had been printed in a light blue aniline die, at 1:1 250 map scale. Map symbols and text were added to the enamel and the finished article was used to make the printing plate At that point the zinc plate would be stripped of the old enamel image and re-enamelled to be used again.
If you missed last week’s blog, catch up now before finding out a little more about what goes on behind the scenes in our Cartography teams…
My next stop was with Jim in Landplan. His team of 20 are responsible for the revision and update of the 1:10 000 database. This covers OS Landplan, 1:10 000 Scale Colour Raster and 1:10 000 Scale Black and White Raster, OS Street View and more recently, OS VectorMap Local.
Jim told me that the Landplan vector editing system was developed in-house during the mid 1990s. The capture programme started in September 1996 and the 10 587 tiles in the initial database were completed in 2001. It was the first production system in Ordnance Survey to use auto generalising algorithms to do Cartographic generalising for a derived product.
Mention a cartographer and people will think of someone who draws maps. Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? Having spent a few hours talking to various members of our Cartography team though, I’m actually amazed at the breadth of areas they cover. So, if you’ve already read our ‘day in the life of a surveyor’ blogs, read on to find out what happens once that surveyed data gets inside the building.
Our Cartography team, which is really lots of separate teams with different specialisms, is led by Huw, and they are responsible for deriving and maintaining cartographic databases, and providing the finished data for Ordnance Survey national series paper and data products. They do this through the manipulation and enhancement of our core databases. But as well as this ‘core’ work, they work on lots of other projects from specialist maps to innovative work on the effects of colour vision deficiency on mapping.
Sandy leads the Explorer team. Unsurprisingly, they work on the design, editing and updating of databases for our very popular 1:25 000 OS Explorer Map. The team also work on the data for our OS Select bespoke product where customers can centre a map on an area of their choice and on our digital product, 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster.
When many people think of Ordnance Survey, they think of the lovely OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps. However, the vast majority of mapping, or data, that we send out to customers is actually on CD, DVD or hard drive. Last year we shipped 38 terabytes of data – or approximately 39,874,560 MB. These were produced on six robots and give our customers access to our OS MasterMap products and many more. The team responsible for producing the customer digital data orders and sending them out are the DPSC team and I caught up with Kelly Callawayto find out about a typical day in the life…
00.01 – OK, so we don’t start just after midnight but, on the first of every month, at this time our SAP system will start to create update orders for our robots. In fact, both our fulfilment systems run 24/7 and our robot, the Microtech XL Express with an 800 disk capacity, means that we can support unattended running even over the longest holiday.
What do River Cottage and the Royal Air Force have in common with us at Ordnance Survey? The A700 Rocket composter.
Huw and Gwen from Tidy Planet came in recently to do some training for our new industrial composter, so in the future we’ll be composting all our food waste. At our ‘tea points’ around the building there are compost bins and any food waste from our Restaurant will also be included. Before you know it, all our waste will become lovely compost to spread onto our grounds at Adanac Park.
UK Location launched the beta version of the Metadata Editor last week, built by us at Ordnance Survey. We built it using the GeoNetwork platform and have made the Metadata Editor available in two formats – a web-based on line version and an downloadable version. The UK Location Metadata Editor enables users to create, edit and validate UK Location compliant discovery metadata resources.
We’re one of many UK public bodies that produces data which falls within the scope of the Inspire Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe). The Directive aims to ensure that geographic information joins up between European countries. This can then help in major environmental disasters such as forest fires, floods and industrial explosions that do not respect national boundaries.
I was talking about how we capture our imagery recently and now we’re seeing it put to use by the emergency services, as Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) have purchased county coverage of the OS MasterMap Imagery Layer.
LFRS are going to be using the Imagery Layer in their two command support vehicles (CSVs). The CSVs are used for major county incidents and each have two computer terminals on board. These computers have geographical information systems (GIS) installed and can be used to analyse data of the incident area.
OS MasterMap is our flagship product family, but have you ever wondered how a photo taken by a plane makes it onto a computer screen as a piece of data? Photogrammetry is the science of measuring and interpreting objects from photographs to answer questions like how high is that feature?
Remote Sensing is the process of acquiring information without coming into physical contact with the subject under investigation. We use this process, in conjunction with ground-based revision by our field surveyors, to update our large-scale databases
We have a large contract in place with external suppliers to supplement our own flying and photogrammetric production.This gives us the capacity to have to 6 planes flying on our behalf at any one time, allowing us to make best use of good weather conditions and process 60 000 to 70 000 sq km (more than a quarter) of Great Britain each year.