Behind the scenes


Meet the team: Joel Perren

Photo of Joel Perren.Did you know, we’re currently recruiting for our IT Trainee programme? Adding to our series introducing you to the talented people within OS, meet Joel Perren. As an Associate Technician on the IT Trainee programme, here he tells us more about his journey and life at OS…

Tell us a bit about yourself

After finishing my master’s degree in Geographical Information Systems, I worked for two years as a Transport Planner. I really enjoyed the programming I did at university and in my subsequent job, so I decided to start looking for roles in software engineering. As I didn’t have any formal education in computer science and only a small portfolio of programming-related work, I wanted an entry-level or trainee role where I could learn on the job.

Why OS?

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Top 10 blogs of 2020

A big thank you to all of our readers. It’s been a challenging year for everyone in the world and we know it’s been hard to think of anything other than Covid-19, so we hope our content has offered you some form of distraction even if for only a few minutes.

Publishing the content you want to read is important to us, so every December we find out the most read blogs from the past 12 months. This enables us to understand what we should focus more on and it will help inform many of 2021’s projects.

As chosen by you, here are your top 10 OS blogs of 2020…
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Meet the team: Sarah Driver

Photo of Sarah visiting the flying team.

Sarah visiting the flying team.

As part of our series to introduce you to the individuals within OS and share the variety of work we do, meet Sarah Driver. As a Senior Production Manager, she gives us a glimpse into her OS journey…

How long have you worked for OS?

After spending 3 years in the private sector as a land and building surveyor, I joined OS in July 2018 as a Field Surveyor. After completing the 2 months of training at the Southampton headquarters learning our capture techniques and specification, I joined the East Midlands team.

I got offered the opportunity to work with the specification team in July 2019 for 3 months. This brought me back to Southampton and allowed me the opportunity to widen my network while learning more about our vastly complex data capture specification.

This experience helped me secure a development opportunity as the Production Manager of London and Thames Estuary in January 2020. I managed this area while our National Cyclic Revision process was hitting the capital. It was a tough 3 months, but the team worked extremely hard to deliver the 4000+ site visits across the city all while maintaining our other work streams for our customers. Read More


OS Flying Team keep mapping Britain’s changes

As Britain’s mapping agency we’re keeping track of half a billion geospatial features across the country and making tens of thousands of changes daily. We have over 200 surveyors on the ground and aircraft who survey from the skies to ensure we have the latest data ready for our customers. Our Flying Team were already prepared for some changes in 2020 as they were moving base and flying in new aircraft with new cameras, but Covid-19 had a bigger impact. Find out how the team have been working in 2020.

Aerial view of London with Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Thames

London from the air during lockdown in 2020

The Flying Team are usually in the skies above Britain from March to early November each year, using the aircraft and high-resolution cameras to survey about a third of Britain, that’s  around 80,000 km2 of imagery data and over 100,000 individual images.

New base and aircraft

For the 2020 season, the team are flying from a new base, Retford (Gamston) Airport in Nottinghamshire. It’s a great location to fly to both the North of Scotland and down to the South West of Britain, and quite a change from working at our previous base in East Midlands Airport which is a large cargo hub and holiday gateway. Read More


Meet the team: Chris Jennings

Chris JenningsAs part of our series to introduce you to OS people and share the diversity of our employees, meet Chris Jennings. As an Associate Engineering Architect, he gives us a glimpse into his role here at OS and the LGBT+ employee network he leads…

How long have you worked for OS?

I joined the Geospatial Solution Architecture team at OS in September 2019 and, not long after joining, I founded and now chair the LGBT+ employee network at OS. Read More


Meet the team: Dean Paulley

Dean PaulleyContinuing our series to introduce you to the individuals within OS and share the variety of work we do, meet Dean Paulley. As an Product Manager, he gives us a glimpse into his very diverse role…

How long have you worked for OS?

I have been working for OS for 5 ½ years. I joined in August 2014 after spending just over 4 years working in a Local Authority GIS team.

I joined OS as a Technical Product Manager, working within the Location Portfolio mainly responsible for providing technical advice and guidance to the business when developing product enhancements and propositions. I was lucky enough to be able to help design the second iterations of the AddressBase products as well as help launch AddressBase Islands (an address product for Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man).

In April 2018, I took on the role of Product Manager principally responsible for the in-life management of the AddressBase products; one of the most used product portfolios in OS. This is a product set used by Government and commercial customers and is fundamental in supporting activities such as insurance, energy supply and risk mapping.

Can you describe your working day?

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Meet the team: Karen Connell

Karen ConnellDid you know, we currently have multiple vacancies in our engineering team? Adding to our series introducing you to the talented people within OS, meet Karen Connell. As a Senior Software Engineer, here she tells us more about her team and life at OS…

What is your background and how long have you been at OS?

It’s been a bit of a journey to bring me to OS. After finishing my Communications, Culture & Media degree at Coventry University, I went to teach English in rural Japan for 3 years. When I returned to the UK, I turned my hand to public relations. As the years went on, I was increasingly focusing on more technical tasks like website management and app creation. Realising I might be more of a technically minded person, I applied for the IT Trainee scheme here at OS and it was the break I needed – I have now been here for 5 years! Read More


#mydataday with surveyor Tom Watts

Tom Watts surveyingHow long have you worked as a surveyor at OS?

I have worked for OS for 15 years. The time has flown by and it would be fair to say I’ve surveyed most of the new topographic features in places like St Albans and Watford. My area of responsibility stretches across west Hertfordshire into Buckinghamshire. This includes The Chilterns, which is always a pleasure to work within. 

By surveying the countryside and the built environment, I get to survey and visit interesting places. Updating the large-scale OS map of Great Britain has taken me to places such as Vicarage Road, the home of Watford FC, Arsenal FC’s training ground and the Warner Bros Studio Tour. 

When you are out surveying, what is the most common thing you get asked by the public?

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Fundraising continues at OS HQ

At our last update in July, we had raised over £1800 for Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity. We’re delighted to announce we have now reached a total of over £22000!

From an employee quiz to pumpkin carving, we’ve been busy over the past few months raising vital funds for our corporate charity. Featuring the OS choir Off the Scale, we held our annual gala which alone brought in £700+. Not only that but as well as an internal competition, we even had a whole department turn up to work in onesies.

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Top 10 blogs of 2019

First off, thank you to everyone for your interest in the OS blog over 2019. At the end of each year, we like to find out the content you’ve enjoyed the most. Of course we always aim to publish content that you’ll find interesting, but crunching the numbers and working out the top 10 helps us understand what we should do more of. So, what has grabbed your attention the most throughout 2019? Let’s find out… Read More

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