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…
Using a wide range of techniques, our talented Craft Club have created a fantastic Great British Craftography Map, and we’re putting it 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. And you can now bid for the unique, mappy piece of art in an online charity auction.
We’re at Solent Mind‘s Eastleigh Wellbeing Centre today to officially open their newly-refurbished training room, with our CEO Nigel Clifford and Solent Mind CEO Kevin Gardner on hand to cut the ribbon. A fantastic team of OS volunteers had donned their decorating overalls to transform the once dull room into a clean, energising environment which can now be used by staff, volunteers, and service users.
As part of the makeover our team not only decorated the room but helped install new blinds, carpet, furniture, storage and artwork including a creative finger print painting from OS staff. The room wouldn’t have been complete without a map, so one of the final touches came when the team hung an OS Custom Made map canvas centred on the building.
We often share the photos taken by our Flying Unit in between their surveying tasks. And you’ll have seen the aerial imagery they take when surveying from the skies. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to do your daily work in the back of a Cessna 404? Roger Nock, one of our Flying Unit, took a photo of his workspace. Take a look.
Roger explained what we can see…
It’s not every day that we add a whale to our maps, but surveyor Shaun McGrath did recently…
I first became aware of the Colonsay Whale some time after a visit to the Isle of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides last year, on a particularly fine day trip to carry out some survey work. It’s a long day as the ferry sets off around 9.30 am from Islay where I was working on detached duty and returns around 7.30 pm. I had plenty of time to get the survey work done and it left me a little spare time to explore the island’s fine sandy beaches before the return ferry. I visited Kiloran Bay in the north, as recommended by the occupants of a house I had surveyed earlier that day. They also said that there was an even finer beach further north, but it was only accessible by foot and would have added a couple of hours to my trip – and made me miss the ferry.
Our surveyors are usually local to the areas they survey and this was the case for Andy Caulfield when he was mapping the new Tadcaster Bridge. The bridge partially collapsed in the aftermath of the Boxing Day storms in 2015, impacting local residents and businesses for the next 14 months while repairs were carried out. Many, like Andy, will have seen an 11-mile detour added to their days and are welcoming the reopening of the bridge.
Over the last few months we’ve been sharing unusual surveying stories with you – from mapping chalk figures to lifeboat stations to the aftermath of a flood. All of these tasks form a part of the 10,000 changes a day taking place in our geospatial database of Great Britain. The variety of jobs faced by our 250+ surveyors is unending. Take a look at these three examples:
Escape to the countryside
We’re heading to London on Friday to take part in a celebration of all things map, geo and cartographic at the British Library’s evening bash. But did you know that London used to be home to Ordnance Survey? Although we’ve spent the last 176 years with our head office based in Southampton, our early days were actually at the Tower of London.