Boundary-Line statement

Following a number of queries about our Boundary-Line OS OpenData product, please read our statement.

Boundary-Line is an OS OpenData product which we release under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Our production cycle for Boundary-Line sees us release updates in May and October each year.

The primary purpose of Boundary-Line is to show the current operative administrative and voting boundaries within Great Britain.  New boundaries are determined in accordance with Statutory Instruments and Community Governance Orders, which typically come into effect when elections are held (usually in May).  Our product update cycle for the May release aligns with the dates that the changes to electoral and administrative boundaries become operative.

To maintain and update Boundary-Line, we need to process data received at different times, from many third parties, in differing formats within the production cycle. If we released Boundary-Line data ahead of schedule, the data would not have the benefit of going through the production processes which are in place to ensure that the data is accurate and reflects all of the available changes to the boundaries that we receive from local authorities. Read More


Going underground with the Geovation Challenge 2016

Over the last few months, Geovation has worked with the utility industry to identify their biggest challenges in managing our underground assets. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an innovator or a developer we’re now inviting you to come up with solutions to tackle these real-world problems using location data.  

gv3As a result of consultations with senior figures from utility companies, the owners of underground pipe and cable networks, and those responsible for their maintenance, 55 problem areas have been brought to the surface. These have been grouped into 4 themes: Asset Location, Asset Management & MaintenanceStakeholder Impact and Predicting Asset Future.

It is thought that through improved asset management and operations and the digitisation of records, production could be increased by 15% and profitability by 20-30%. Also revealed was the value of sharing data between utility companies and innovators to effectively resolve problems. Read More


Rededicating the OS war memorial

Guest blog by Amber Turner

Our original head office in Southampton was one of thousands of buildings that suffered terrible damage during the Southampton blitz on 1 December 1940. The bombing of the site sadly killed a mixture of hard-working civilians and Royal Engineers working for us at the time.

Members of Ordnance Survey, the Royal Engineers and the Ministry of Justice at the war memorial on 1 December 2015

Members of Ordnance Survey, the Royal Engineers and the Ministry of Justice at the war memorial on 1 December 2015

On this same day seventy five years later, we took part in a service dedicated to those who lost their lives during the world wars. After our move to Explorer House, the old memorial statue from Romsey Road has been renovated and moved to the Ministry of Justice, close to the original head office on London Road during the air raid. Read More


#GetOutside by #WalkingHomeForChristmas

WHFC pack contents (002)We are delighted to announce a new partnership with military charity Walking With The Wounded to back its Walking Home For Christmas campaign in support of veterans who don’t have a home to walk to.

We’ve managed to secure 150 entry packs for this amazing festive outdoor challenge. To show our appreciation for the hundreds of people who have made a pledge to GetOutside we are offering them the first chance to secure a place. Read More


Working Internationally

Posted by: Steven Ramage

SkylineOver the last 20 years I’ve worked with Ordnance Survey as a partner, supplier and collaborator through various roles. In August 2012 I eventually became an employee, joining to create the new overseas business of Ordnance Survey International. The last couple of years have flown past and when I look back at what I started with just myself and Carsten Roensdorf, who is based out in Dubai, I have to say it has been an exciting ride.

Ordnance Survey International is now a good-sized team, working with organisations in various parts of the world and everyday facing interesting and challenging business demands. We set out with the initial goal of advising other nations of the value of geographic information and to help them understand how to build on this. Ordnance Survey has invested extensively over the last 12-15 years, learning many lessons along the way, and our role is to share those lessons and provide guidance to assist other nations to develop their capabilities quickly and sustainably.

One of those lessons is international geospatial standards. The most advanced mapping organisations promote, support and endorse the use of international geospatial standards, which allow interoperability of geospatial information, devices, applications, services and networks. Ordnance Survey makes an important contribution to international geospatial standards, the recent paper co-authored by myself and Gerardo Esparza from INEGI Mexico: provides detail on the importance of geospatial standards from the national mapping perspective.

In addition to international geospatial standards development, Ordnance Survey International provides advice on business planning, policy development, pricing and licensing and technology acquisition – based on the real progress Ordnance Survey has made in these areas.

Our ability to guide nations in developing their own national mapping capability through alignment of business strategy and vision and addressing operational capacity and capability enforces Ordnance Survey as a very well-respected and high-quality brand, not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world.


New OS OpenSpace SDK for iOS set to transform your apps with our maps

We’re excited to be helping developers of mobile applications with our latest launch of our mapping software development kit (SDK), OS OpenSpace SDK for iOS devices.

It’s free and allows developers to quickly and easily add detailed Ordnance Survey maps to their apps on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It gives them access to the range of high quality datasets available within both the OS OpenSpace and OS OpenSpace Pro API.

Developers access OS Openspace through the new SDK and can easily select which products are displayed within their applications. These products include overview mapping for Great Britain, street level mapping featuring detailed building property boundaries and accurate road networks, vector based mid-scale mapping and the popular, and trusted, outdoor mapping product, OS Landranger Maps (1: 50 000), featuring national parks, tracks, paths and fields.

Read More


Bringing Geographic Authority to Information – day 1 at the Cambridge Conference 2013

Over 150 senior leaders from mapping and cadastral organisations have gathered in Cambridge for the 2013 Cambridge Conference. Delegates arrived at Churchill College, Cambridge on Sunday and were greeted by glorious sunshine, making it one of the hottest conferences in its 85-year history. With the sun shining it made it the perfect afternoon for delegates to catch-up with international colleagues from around the globe and also provided an opportunity to meet new delegates in the grounds of the picturesque college.

A busy Monday began with our Director General and Chief Executive, Vanessa Lawrence CB, opening the 2013 Cambridge Conference. Vanessa welcomed the delegates to the conference and outlined the plans for the week. Vanessa expressed her delight in having this year’s Cambridge Conference coupled with the Third Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM3), which will be held from 24 to 26 July 2013, at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge City Centre.

Our Director General and CEO, Vanessa Lawrence CB

Vanessa was followed on the stage by two keynote speakers; first up was Janet Williams QPM, Chair of Interpol’s Protection and Security International Experts Group and National Security Advisor for the Qatar World Cup 2022. Janet’s fascinating presentation looked at the need for detailed planning, diverse expert help, flexibility, creativity and humour when preparing for worldwide international events. Janet used a selection of great case studies from several high profile events including the Royal Wedding and 2012 Olympic Games. Next up was Executive Head and Chief Meteorologist, Paul Davies, from the Met Office. Paul discussed the challenges of forecasting in a changing world and the important role that authoritative geospatial information plays in forecasting and helping to prepare for extreme weather conditions. He was also able to give delegates an accurate weather forecast for the coming week in Cambridge!

Following the excellent keynote presentation the delegates had the opportunity to look around the exhibition area made up of our seven sponsors – 1Spatial, DigitalGlobe, esri, Infotech, Trimble, Hexagon and Oracle.

Read More


Medical cartography exhibition opens

In 1854 a severe outbreak of cholera swept through the Soho district of London, resulting in the death of hundreds of people. Many believed the cause of deaths were linked to ‘bad air’, however a physician named John Snow was determined to get to the bottom of the devastating outbreak.

John Snow strongly believed that the deaths were linked to the local areas water supply and began to mark the locations of each death as a dot on a map centred on Bond Street (now Broadwick Street). The map highlighted large clusters of fatalities in the vicinity of the Bond Street pump, from where residents used to get their water from. Snow suspected that this water pump was the source of the outbreak.

In order to add more proof to his theory Snow added a further line to his map – an irregular shaped loop that marked the boundary between the Broad Street pump and other water pumps in the area. The new boundary line showed the residents and workers who could access the Broad Street pump the quickest.

The map now clearly displayed that the majority of deaths had occurred within the drawn boundary, reinforcing the fact that the Broad Street pump was the source. This map became the central piece of evidence that convinced the authorities of cholera’s waterborne transmission and of their need to improve the sewer system.

Image from Wikipedia

Read More


Last chance for GeoVators

Budding GeoVators only have 24 hours to submit their innovative ideas for our latest GeoVation Challenge – ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path’.

The exciting challenge has seen a steady flow of ideas being submitted all aiming to better connect communities, businesses and visitors through the application of geography, mapping, innovation and expertise. However, it is not too late for some last minute ideas and a chance for creative thinkers, developers and entrepreneurs to win a share of a £125,000 funding prize.

We’ve even mapped out where the ideas are coming from on the GeoVation blog. Some interesting ideas which have already been submitted include:

Walkers alert companion

This idea looks at providing distressed visitors along the coastal path with instant support and assistance. It involves creating a smart phone App, with an associated website, to provide real-time solutions to people requiring assistance along the path, for example first aiders, first aid support from volunteer networks or help guiding people to the nearest medical support centre.

Wales Coastal Path Ultra-Endurance Race

This idea aims to create a new endurance challenge along the Wales Coast Path. The intention is to have the challenge regarded with the same respect as the Trans-Alpine, Tour de Geants, Marathon de Sables (MDS) etc. The race will attract an international audience, can be split into sections and can have ‘spin-off’ shorter distances to make it accessible to a wider audience. By having the race in sections like the Trans-Alpine and the MDS it will engage coastal communities and bring in external revenue.

Mobile Treasure Hunt Game with Augmented Reality

Another fun idea to attract new visitors to the coastal path is to develop a mobile application, linked to a central web interface, allowing partners to create challenges and learning games. The games would follow the format of Treasure hunts and orienteering exercises targeting young people.

So if you have an idea of how people who live and work along, or visit the Wales Coast Path can use digital technology to benefit from this ‘world first’ for Wales then please visit


Changing the way businesses and government use maps

Back in September 2009, at the annual AGI conference, we launched our first new vector product for over three yearsOS VectorMap Local.  Fast forward two years and we are seeing the product deliver important efficiency and service delivery benefits to business and government users across the country. These include leading global insurers RSA and Aviva, the Welsh Assembly Government, West Dorset District Council, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service and North Devon District Council. All government users have free access to the product under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement.

OS VectorMap Local provides an alternative to traditional raster mapping products, allowing users to completely customise the content, style and colour of the mapping to meet their own needs. Users can highlight and display specific features on the map as well as overlaying their own information, displaying exactly what they want. It is an ideal product to create bespoke mapping for any project or for web applications.  Read More