Category

Cartography

19
Jul
2018
1

Your right to roam with public rights of way

Did you know, we show over 220,000 km of public rights of way on our maps? Approximately 170,000 km of these are footpaths and 40,000 km are bridleways. Over 4,600 km are National Trails and 30,900 km are recreational routes!

One thing we’re often asked about is when someone has followed a public right of way shown on our map and found no visible footpath on the ground. Why is this? Public rights of way information is sent to us by local authorities, and a right of way doesn’t necessarily mean a footpath on the ground. We’re also often asked about blocked or overgrown rights of way. These need to be reported to your local authority too and, if any changes on our maps are required, they will pass that information along.

We also map rights of way permissive footpaths and bridleways as well as byways. And, if you don’t know the key differences or symbols of each of the types, you’re in the right place to find out!

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28
Jun
2018
15

Britain’s largest islands

Great Britain is an island in its own right, but aside from the mainland, there are hundreds of islands around the British coast, many uninhabited*. Inspired by David Garcia’s data visualisation of the Philippines, our GeoDataViz team worked with Alasdair Rae at the University of Sheffield to explore Britain’s largest islands.

They found that there are 82 English, Scottish and Welsh islands larger than 5km2. Scotland boasts the vast majority with 71, not surprising when you consider the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney and other beautiful islands off the coast. Wales had just 2 entries and England 9.

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7
Jun
2018
1

Making antique maps more accessible

Guest blog by Sophie Kirkpatrick, Founder of Atlas & I.Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love an antique map? Their unique charm and history is endlessly relatable and you can never tire of exploring an old map of a sentimental location. To study old maps in antiquarian book shops and libraries is one undertaking, but to own an original antique map is a luxury reserved for the wealthy or bequeathed.

Cartography or map making has been an integral part of human history for thousands of years. The earliest maps are recorded as far back as the 24th century BC, depicting simplistic line drawings of hills, rivers and cities on a clay tablet. Read More

17
May
2018
5

Reimagining the nation’s capital

Citing his inspiration as our post that reimagined Winchester as the nation’s capital, we recently published a guest blog by John Murray. Following the episode of Channel 4’s Britain’s Most Historic Towns, John replicated our technique to reimagine Chester (Britain’s most Roman town) as the capital.

Out of curiosity, we thought it could be interesting to see what other cities would look like if they were the capital. As with Winchester, many cities have backstories which historically make them viable capital candidates. We got our Graduate Consultant Data Scientist, Jacob Rainbow, involved and, as with the Winchester map, he applied the same process.

York reimagined as the capital.

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8
May
2018
4

Mapping music with Glynde

Guest blog by Ewan Campbell, composer of Glynde.

In many ways cartography is to a landscape, what music notation is to sound. They both use two-dimensional visualisations to represent something which is multi-dimensional, and in the process create a beautiful pictorial format of their own. My map enthusiasm is driven by a desire for the overview that a maps offers, and the scope to explore the virtual depiction of a landscape.

There is however a crucial difference between the two idioms: music is always experienced through the temporal dimension, and time, as we know it, can only ever run forwards. No matter how many repeats, verses, loops or recapitulations a composer may decide to add there is always a beginning which at some moment later must be followed by an ending. As a result traditional music notation is linear, and read forwards like a book. The aim of my cartographic music is to make the musical form visible. The 2-dimensional score offers a structural overview of the virtual musical soundscape, which can be imaginatively entered into, just as one would ‘read’ a topographical map.

Glynde, by Ewan Campbell

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1
May
2018
2

25 years since the last OS benchmark

You may know about our trig pillars, but did you know that there are more nostalgic reminders of how we used to map Great Britain?

A post shared by jbowersuk (@jbowersuk) on


Have you ever seen one of these while you’ve been out and about? If so, it is highly likely you have spotted one of our renowned benchmarks. 2018 marks 25 years since the last traditionally-cut arrow style benchmark was carved on a milestone located outside The Fountain pub in Loughton.

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23
Apr
2018
1

Data Month: GeoDataViz

Early in 2018 Ordnance Survey (OS) were approached by the Registers of Scotland (RoS) to support their Data Month, an internal event for RoS staff held in March to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice across the business. RoS is the non-ministerial government department responsible for compiling and maintaining 18 public registers. These relate to land, property, and other legal documents and include the Land Register of Scotland and General Register of Sasines. Read More

16
Apr
2018
1

Was Chester the intended capital of Roman Britain?

Inspired by a previous blog post that re-imagined Winchester as the nation’s capital through mapping, guest blogger John Murray applied this technique to Chester.

There has been much speculation amongst historians and archaeologists on whether Roman Chester (Deva) was intended to be the capital of Britannia.

This was the subject of a BBC Two Timewatch programme (Britain’s Lost Colosseum) from 2005 and, more recently, in Professor Alice Roberts’ Britain’s Most Historic Towns programme about Roman Chester.

During an archaeological dig in 1939, the remains of a substantial elliptical building were discovered immediately to the dextral rear (north west) of the headquarters building (Principia).

The map below shows the approximate location of these buildings. The elliptical building would have been approximately where the present-day Chester Market Hall is located.

Location of Principia and Elliptical Building overlaid on OS Open Map-Local with present day city walls.

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1
Apr
2018
1

Mapping a new island for April Fool’s Day

For April Fool’s Day we challenged one of our most senior and experienced cartographers to create a mythical island for Country Walking magazine. The premise was that this island had been lost to the sea centuries ago, only for it to have now mysteriously risen out of the waves in need of mapping.   

Mark Wolstenholme, in his 34 years at OS, has worked across every series of mapping we have. Here he explains how to produce a fictional island in a short time frame, while making it authentic enough to convince as a prank. 

Fantasy island for April Fool's Day

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