As a full-time cartographer with previous experience as an ecologist, our guest blogger Dan Bell is a huge advocate of the outdoors. In his spare time, he enjoys fell/long distance running and is currently training to become a Mountain Leader in the Lake District! If that wasn’t enough, he also runs Middle Earth’s Maps. Here, he tells us how he has used (Ordnance Survey) OS data in his Tolkien-inspired mapping…
Why are maps useful?
Maps are a window into an unknown landscape. They are simplifications of an increasingly complex world, affording us the opportunity to plan our adventures, make memories, and inspire our curiosities. It is these three attributes of maps and map making that continually motivate my work, in my endeavour to explore the realms of fantasy map creation within a real-world setting.
In the months since lockdown restrictions around Great Britain began to be relaxed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Britons valued the chance to GetOutside. During that time, subscribers to OS Maps have logged almost 700,000 routes in the app, showing whereabouts in the country they’ve been outdoors.
Do you know what an AONB is? Or an NSA? Most of us have heard of Britain’s National Parks (see all 15 here), but did you know that England and Wales also have 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Scotland has 40 National Scenic Areas (NSAs)?
These scenic areas cover over 34,000 km2 of Great Britain (larger than the 23,000 km2 covered by our National Parks) and cover a huge variety of mountain, coastal and countryside landscapes. Our GeoDataViz team have been virtually exploring and comparing the landscapes with OS data and created a poster to showcase the AONB and NSAs.
In a world where we have access to an abundance of information, good data visualisation is more important now than ever before. Our GeoDataViz team here at OS know this better than anyone. Here they talk us through their thematic mapping techniques and explain when and how these techniques should be used…
Following her blog on the release of two new colour vision deficiency (CVD) friendly styles for OS Open Zoomstack last December, Graduate Technical Consultant Jessica Baker talks through the feedback we’ve had, where our CVD mapping is going next, and new ways you can access these styles.
The initial release of the two new CVD friendly stylesheets in December 2019 was met with a keen interest, and you can find these stylesheets in a variety of file types on Github. Since then, we have been working hard to make more people aware of the benefits it could have for them. We’ve had lots of feedback from people and are excited to share with you the new direction we are taking this accessible mapping.
Mappy New Year! 2019 was a great year for cartography, especially geo data visualisation. We loved seeing such amazing maps and visuals being produced by some very talented people, and the standard just seems to be getting better and better. Inspired by all the brilliant work we’ve seen, we thought we’d pull together some of our favourites. There are too many to include so this list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope you enjoy our picks.
Surfing Saco Bay, Margot Carpenter
Created by independent cartographer Margot Carpenter, this stunning map depicts Maine’s Saco Bay. The detail is incredible, and we love how the map focuses on the bay’s underwater topography and wave dynamics and how they fuel the bays amazing surfing conditions. There is also a beautiful compass rose that illustrates wave height and a visualisation depicting how bathymetry and waves create surf!
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…
Recently we welcomed local student Rosie Newhouse Hill to the media team for a week of work experience. We really enjoyed having her with us, and we’re delighted to be able to share her Christmas-themed blog…
Christmas is drawing closer and people are slowly leaning into the festive spirit. Here at OS, we are ready to dive right into Christmas by tying it up with geography through these fun geographical stats. From sprouts to wrapping paper, fairy lights to Christmas trees, we’ve got it all.
We’re looking for your feedback on our new styles for OS Open Zoomstack. They’re aimed at making our data more accessible to those with colour vision deficiency (CVD). Find out about the work that Jessica Baker, Graduate Data Scientist, has been doing on the styles and try them out for yourself.
Unless you’re colour blind, you are unlikely to be aware of the problems which cartographic styles and colour schemes cause for those affected by CVD. Colours usually easily distinguishable to the human eye, such as red and green, appear very similar and can make elements of map reading more difficult. The issue is often overlooked, with traditional spectral rainbow colour schemes kicking up several difficulties for those with colour blindness.
During my first few weeks at OS on the Graduate Development Programme, I’ve been learning how we can improve the accessibility of data. I decided to start by developing free downloadable styles for our popular OS Open Zoomstack product – an exciting project to work on.