Geovation is holding a series of hands-on introductory workshops to teach attendees the principles of visualising with geographic data. As all tickets were snapped up for both our London HQ and Edinburgh sessions, we’ve decided to run four more events around GB over the next few weeks. Disclaimer – these events are FREE to attend!
Citing his inspiration as our post that reimagined Winchester as the nation’s capital, we recently published a guest blog by John Murray. Following the episode of Channel 4’s Britain’s Most Historic Towns, John replicated our technique to reimagine Chester (Britain’s most Roman town) as the capital.
Out of curiosity, we thought it could be interesting to see what other cities would look like if they were the capital. As with Winchester, many cities have backstories which historically make them viable capital candidates. We got our Graduate Consultant Data Scientist, Jacob Rainbow, involved and, as with the Winchester map, he applied the same process.
Have you heard of Microsoft HoloLens? No, nor me. However, I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of our technology lab engineers Layla Gordon to find out more.
While VR (virtual reality) headsets and AR (augmented reality) apps were once pioneering, Microsoft HoloLens utilises an even more cutting-edge mixed reality technology.
VR headsets have been the latest visualisation trend and are mostly well known for their popularity in the gaming industry. As I am sure many of you know, VR headsets simulate entirely virtual worlds and require both a console and controller. The product has no association with reality and as such, creates an immersive experience for the user.
To understand AR, the example Layla offered was the Pokémon Go app. So, while visuals are placed seemingly in to reality, they do not interact with it or its geospatial (locational) information – hence why PokéStops have controversially led people to collect Pokéballs at both Auschwitz and the 9/11 Memorial Pool.
In a way combining the benefits of AR and VR, the Microsoft HoloLens offers what is termed a mixed reality. It offers a virtual world that is both integrated with and impacted by reality. Essentially, it is a headset for viewing and interacting with holograms within the world around you.
The HoloLens interface interactions include gaze, gestures and voice input. Simple gestures are required to open apps as well as select, size, drag and drop holograms in your world. Sensors are built in to allow users to use their gaze to move the cursor around. Voice commands are used to navigate, select, open, command and control the apps.
Here at OS, we capture and build 3D models from various sources. More recently as part of the CityVerve project, new 3D data has been captured using drones. The data is just as detailed as before however, it is much better for visualisation as the roof shapes and geometric shapes are much more preserved. The example below is a clip of Layla exploring Manchester University using HoloLens technology in what we’ve termed a geo immersive reality.
In our app, spatial mapping and understanding are being used for correct placement of holograms in relation to environmental considerations such as furniture. Our app benefits from the TapToPlace feature. This means that the model hologram can be pinned to the surface mesh rather than hovering in mid-air like a Pokémon.
The scope for HoloLens is so vast in terms of industry, with Microsoft’s specific YouTube account demonstrating its use within product design as well as crime scenes. In terms of mapping, OS have multiple directions we can go in. A good example is how this technology could be used to improve mountain rescues or cityscapes and everything in between. While our geospatial information is used already, the HoloLens map app would be able to offer a quick insight in to elements such as mountain height and underground pipes. It would also be helpful in terms of flooding or coast erosion, such as simulating what could happen to a city following a natural disaster or an accurate depiction of what our coasts will look like 30 years down the line. In addition, we could explore BIM (Building Information Modelling) further to map everything from windows to electrical sockets within buildings.
At OS, we are very excited about using this technology to improve our insight and services. While we are still ironing out some creases in our app, we couldn’t help but share the news even at development stage!
Find out more about our work with augmented reality.
For the last two months we’ve been promoting our OS OpenData product trial. A big thank-you to everyone who has got involved so far, we’ve had an impressive 5,500 website visits and 333GB of opendata downloaded. While most participants are based in Great Britain, the map below shows the trial has gone worldwide reaching more than 20 countries!
If you haven’t heard about the trial, it’s been created to improve your experience. Since the launch of OS OpenData in 2010, we’ve supplied our data in a GML and/or SHP format. However, our users have been telling us that they sometimes struggle to work with these formats. We wanted to explore exporting our data in a range of different formats to find a format that works best for the masses.
We chose nine OS OpenData products for you to test. As you can see, OS Open Roads has had the most trial formats downloaded so far.Thank-you to everyone who has got involved so far and, for those who haven’t, there is still time left! We need you to help us improve the products you use.
Access the trial here by the 18 May 2018 deadline and send us your feedback: http://data-format-trial-osonline.opendata.arcgis.com/
You may know about our trig pillars, but did you know that there are more nostalgic reminders of how we used to map Great Britain?
Have you ever seen one of these while you’ve been out and about? If so, it is highly likely you have spotted one of our renowned benchmarks. 2018 marks 25 years since the last traditionally-cut arrow style benchmark was carved on a milestone located outside The Fountain pub in Loughton.
Technical Director of our partners centremapslive.com and this week’s guest blogger, Andrew Terry reports on the topic of rainwater and the SuDS legislation.
Over the last few months, I’ve been watching a new housing development being built near my home. It’s always interesting to see new communities appearing in previously open land and in this case, close to wetland areas and flood plains around Tewkesbury.
While I admire the civil engineering techniques used to create the housing infrastructure, it prompts me to think about the impact of surface water on this development, especially as it is overlooking the floodplain.
Inspired by a previous blog post that re-imagined Winchester as the nation’s capital through mapping, guest blogger John Murray applied this technique to Chester.
There has been much speculation amongst historians and archaeologists on whether Roman Chester (Deva) was intended to be the capital of Britannia.
During an archaeological dig in 1939, the remains of a substantial elliptical building were discovered immediately to the dextral rear (north west) of the headquarters building (Principia).
The map below shows the approximate location of these buildings. The elliptical building would have been approximately where the present-day Chester Market Hall is located.