By

Cartographic Design team

13
Apr
2017
1

Enter the BCS Awards

We’re pleased to announce that The British Cartographic Society (BCS) are collecting entries for their 2017 awards. Their range of award categories aims to recognize the very best cartographic work and scholarship from around the globe and entries are welcomed from all areas of the mapping community.

We provide the BCS with an award to encourage excellence in cartographic design and the innovative and exciting use of OS OpenData. Over the years, we have had some excellent entries including this winning entry from Ashley Clough at Parallel in 2013.

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6
Apr
2017
2

Map your London

Our GeoDataViz team took part in the ‘Late at the library: you are here’ event hosted by the British Library, with demos and displays by OS and the Geovation Hub, amongst other mappy delights. Find out what happened at the event.

Hosting ‘Map Your London’, we came equipped with sharpies and an (almost) blank canvas of London. Our aim was to understand how those living in London visualise their city. How do they navigate? How would they depict Big Ben or 30 St Mary Axe? What names do they use to describe historic and modern landmarks? So, armed with a pen we let them get to work…

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2
Mar
2017
3

Enter the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017

A fantastic way to inspire a love of cartography at an early age, have you heard of the  Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017? Barbara was a leading cartographer whose work related to children. In her memory, the International Cartographic Association holds a biennial competition.

2015 overall winner: The world in our hands by Pan Sin Yi (aged 15)

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20
Feb
2017
5

Carto tips: Using blend modes and opacity levels

Colour is one of the main graphic elements that a cartographer uses to make their map clear to read. Amongst other things we use colour to create familiarity, to differentiate features and to create a clear visual hierarchy. There are many things we can do to the features on our maps to change their appearance and many techniques we can apply to adjust the colours. Adjusting opacity levels and applying blend modes are the two techniques that we will explore in this post and we will look at some examples of how we can use them together to create effective visualisations.

all-images

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7
Dec
2016
1

Better Mapping: Map Challenge Winner

Recently we wrote about a British Cartographic Society (BCS) event hosted at our head office, ‘Better Mapping with QGIS’. The one day event saw a mixture of presentations and an afternoon workshop, led by cartographic and industry experts. The culmination of the workshop was a map challenge and we are now pleased to announce the winner!

Congratulations to Steve Richardson who produced this excellent map showing Indices of Multiple Deprivation in Southampton:

Steve-winner

Click the image to see a larger version as a PDF

The challenge was to use open data that had been supplied to create a suitable basemap, and then introduce an additional layer from another open source. Mary Spence MBE had earlier introduced the principles of cartographic design and delegates were encouraged to put these into practice when creating their maps. Read More

17
Nov
2016
3

Adding value and removing friction in our flagship mobile app, OS Maps

The second in our new series of blogs from the teams behind our apps, maps and services, sharing their experiences in software engineering, cartographic design, user experience and more. Chris Hall, based at our London Geovation Hub, shares his experience on updating OS Maps’ route ratings. 

Whilst I was using our OS Maps app to find a new route, I stumbled upon a frustrating experience with the route discovery process in OS Maps. Through some research and visual exploration, I was able to solve the problem.

Friction

OS Maps allows users to find and follow routes all over the country. Users can plot their own routes, and share them with the community publicly. To aid the discovery process we allow users to grade their route out of three options to reflect its difficulty. Routes are currently displayed as a pin on the map with a gradient indicator: Green for leisurely; orange for moderate; and red for challenging. This has created a great spread of the types of routes we get in the app, which for the most part works really well. However, one day I discovered this route:
old_pins

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15
Nov
2016
1

Better Mapping with QGIS

We recently hosted a British Cartographic Society (BCS) event at our head office, ‘Better Mapping with QGIS’. It was a one day event that introduced the fundamentals of cartographic design and culminated in a hands-on QGIS workshop.

We were thrilled to have a packed lecture theatre and the day kicked off with Alex Kent, President of the BCS, welcoming everyone and introducing the agenda for the day. Brief presentations about open data and open source software followed before Mary Spence MBE, past president of the BCS, discussed the fundamentals of cartographic design. Mary took the audience on a tour through great maps and what makes them work, balanced against examples of poor maps and why they don’t before introducing the basic design principles that should be considered. Read More

9
Nov
2016
4

App development: Pie chart cluster markers

The first in a new series of blogs from the teams behind many of our apps, maps and services, sharing their experiences in software engineering, cartographic design, user experience and more. We start with a tale of collaboration, a rapid feedback process and pies! 

It’s never good to be faced with a new problem deep into a project, but it is very satisfying when an effective solution is developed swiftly. During a recent app development sprint, one of our software engineers hit upon one such problem.

The problem

The app in question allows the user to select a group of properties which are rendered as point features on the map. Following standard web map convention, these points are aggregated, or clustered, as the user zooms out. This is to make the map more legible and to improve performance; it saves rendering potentially thousands of points in a single map view. Clustering is a fantastic and much-used technique in web mapping applications. Lots of effort has been put into developing slick clustering behaviour and designing effective markers. It works perfectly well if your points are all representing the same phenomena – and that’s where we ran into a problem.

The app we’re developing splits the point features into four discrete categories, therefore, if we apply standard clustering behaviour, we are effectively grouping these categories into one and hiding a level of information from the user. The user will still see a total value to show how many points are aggregated into each cluster – but in this instance they are also interested in how that total is split amongst the four categories.

standard-clusters

Standard clustering behaviour

Cue an informal meeting between software engineer, cartographic designer and UX designer; a mini brainstorm…

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11
Oct
2016
1

Over half-way – Benali’s Big Race

BRR4We blogged about mapping out the route for Benali’s Big Race a couple of weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to spend a day with Franny Benali on his challenge. Find out more…

Former Southampton FC legend Francis Benali is now over half-way through his amazing challenge to visit all 44 Premier League and Championship grounds in 14 days. As you read this he will have visited 26 stadiums and covered 800 gruelling miles all in aid of raising £1 million for Cancer Research UK. Read More

7
Oct
2016
1

YHA Castleton map

We recently collaborated with YHA to create a stunning new display for their Youth Hostel in Castleton. The display offers visitors a variety of routes to help them #GetOutside and explore the stunning countryside that surrounds the hostel.

At the centre of the display is a large 3D contour map of the area which contains some topographic detail and local points of interest. There are six routes shown on the map using coloured pins and string which makes for a really striking, tactile display.

Image-3

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