If you were watching Antiques Road Trip yesterday afternoon, you’d have seen antiques expert Paul Laidlaw visiting our Southampton head office. The modern building we’ve been in since 2009, is a far cry from our first home at the Tower of London, and even the military barracks which became our first Southampton head office. But, despite being a digital data company in a state of the art building, there are still many nods to our mappy heritage to be found.
Our CEO Nigel Clifford showed Paul our first map, and an early theodolite while filming for the programme. Here’s a bit more about them:
We usually share stories about our teams adding new features to the map, such as the Queensferry Crossing or even a whale, but we also have to remove features from our database. London-based surveyor Tony Killilea was recently tasked with removing a football stadium from the map…
With over 500 million geospatial features across Great Britain and some 10,000 changes taking place in the database each day, it’s not difficult to understand how our surveying teams are kept busy. From new roads to new shopping centres, it’s easy to forget about the existing features that have to be removed for new developments to be built.
We’re now in our second year of supporting Solent Mind as our corporate charity. Most people will know at least one person who has suffered from poor mental health and Solent Mind provide an extremely important service to local people, close to our head office in Southampton.
We’re all trying to raise as much as possible to make changes to the lives of those suffering with mental illness and those family and friends supporting them. As a business which is keen to encourage physical and mental health, we’ve supported our own #GetOutside messaging and many staff have taken part in football tournaments and marathons. Our OS Runners raised over £1,000 running a relay marathon from London to Cardiff earlier this year. Plus, OS participants completed the London Marathon, and we have people taking part in the Great South Run later this year.
This weekend, our CEO Nigel Clifford and his daughter Caitlin will be taking part in the Great North Run, helping to raise more awareness of mental health issues and fundraise for Solent Mind. You can find out more about Nigel and support his challenge on JustGiving.
The Queensferry Crossing opens to traffic today and joins the Forth Road Bridge and Forth Bridge in spanning the Firth of Forth. Our surveyors Derek Smith and Guy Rodger visited the site last week to add some final details, along with Alastair Dalton from The Scotsman newspaper.
OS MasterMap showing the three bridges
Our Flying Unit has been immortalised by the iconic Squadron Prints who produce the highly acclaimed series of aircraft and ship lithographic prints. One of the Cessna 404 Titan’s we use, G-FIFA, features on the stunning print.
Our Flying Unit operate from East Midlands Airport, taking to the skies above Great Britain between February and November each year. Professional pilots take our air camera operators up in two Cessna 404s, G-FIFA and G-TASK, to take aerial imagery of over 50,000 square kilometres of the country each season. From the Scilly Isles to the Shetland Islands, the team will capture over 140,000 aerial images each year, using the 196-megapixel cameras on-board the planes.
Congratulations to Miranda Sharp, Head of our Smart Cities Practice, who was recently appointed to the Smart London Board. The advisory panel is responsible for shaping the vision and strategy for London’s smart cities agenda and investment in data infrastructure. It will advise the Mayor on implementation of new digital technologies aimed at the highest level of performance across London’s infrastructure, utilities and public services.
As a Board Member, Miranda will be able to advise on how location technology and data can be used to support mayoral strategies and policies ensure the best outcomes for Londoners and for the whole country.
Opening tomorrow, during National Parks Week 2017, is The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland National Park. Our surveyor Richard Bennett was on site recently to ensure the building was added to the map.
The Sill is the result of a partnership between the National Park and YHA England and Wales, including space for exhibitions, a café, a Youth Hostel, a rural business hub, and a shop specialising in local crafts and produce.
Richard was on hand to measure every aspect of the site and add the featured to 550 million in our geospatial database. His GNSS receiver locks on to several satellites and a series of ground stations (that’s right, no trig pillars required!) and the calculations are accurate to within a few centimetres.
Today marks 226 years since Ordnance Survey was founded. In the late 1700s the government at the time ordered its defence ministry – the Board of Ordnance – to begin a survey of England’s vulnerable southern coasts, worried that the French Revolution might sweep across the English Channel. In June 1791, the Board purchased a new Ramsden theodolite, and this is seen as the foundation of our organisation.
We’re marking the occasion by giving you the chance to win a limited edition OS print. Artist Bradley Hutchings paid tribute to the graphic artists of our past with a signed limited edition print, digitally created and inspired by iconic British landscapes. For many people, it is the historic Ellis Martin hand-drawn map covers that grab the imagination. Bradley has paid tribute to this era with his limited edition print. Only 250 signed prints were made – and we’ve got 3 of them up for grabs. To enter, tell us which year OS will turn 230. Just post on the blog by midnight on Sunday 25 June. We’ll draw 3 winners at random from all of the correct answers.
A stunning development of new beach huts on the south coast has been added to our geospatial database ahead of the summer season.
The development, in Milford on Sea, replaces the old beach huts which were damaged and destroyed during a fierce storm on 14 February 2014. With building work on 119 beach huts and the surrounding area reaching a conclusion, it provided the ideal opportunity for our surveyor Joanne Lanham to officially capture and map the changes on the site.
Our talented Craft Club created the fantastic Great British Craftography Map, and it’s currently up for auction to raise money for Solent Mind, our corporate charity. The crafty individuals recreated the Ordnance Survey National Grid into a 2.2m by 1.2m wall hanging with the 91 tiles showcasing 16 different craft techniques. Each tile represents a notable subject from the area covered – it could be a geographical feature, a well-known landmark, a local food, or even a craft or material associated with the area.
Just for fun, we have a #CraftographyMap quiz to test your knowledge of Britain. We’ve picked ten of the crafty tiles – can you tell us which areas of Britain they represent? Bonus points if you know the corresponding National Grid tile reference too…