Our OS Maps users created over 300,000 public routes across Great Britain in 2018 (covering some 2,950,000 miles…) and we were curious to see where you most (and least) enjoy exploring. Our Data Scientist Andrew Radburn set to work analysing the data before our Data Visualisation expert Charley Glynn set to work to showcase the results.
Analysing OS Maps route data
Here at OS, we get asked some curiously specific questions by our Twitter followers. Our teams are always up for a challenge and, as this query required map exploration, who better to ask than our amazing Consultation and Technical Services (CaTS) team? Please see the query embedded below.
@OrdnanceSurvey Hello! An enquiry if I may…..what (and where) is the longest distance you can walk in a straight line in England/Wales/Scotland without crossing a road (defined as a paved surface for vehicular use)?? Planning a potential expedition. Ta!
— Roger Dalton (@100in7) November 15, 2018
Now, not only were our CaTS team able to identify the longest distance in Great Britain you can walk in a straight line without crossing a road (which consequently you may have read about in some newspaper articles), but as this was in Scotland, the team also decided to find the longest in both England and Wales too.
In anticipation of Christmas, we thought we would pay homage to the classic seasonal track 12 Days of Christmas by finding some fun OS facts about Great Britain for each line.
To avoid typing the whole song out as we know you know it already, we have just written the last paragraph here to jog your memory.
On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a Milking
7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
Within Great Britain, there are 12 roads in total with the term ‘drum’, ‘drumming’ or ‘drummers’. While Drummer Lane occurs twice, Drummer’s Lane and the other 9 such as Drummermire and Drummery Lane are unique.
A huge thank you to everyone who has visited the OS blog over the last 12 months and been keeping up to date on all things maps and data. We’ve totted up the figures to work out your favourite blogs from 2018…so take a look and catch up on any you missed first time around.
Great Britain’s largest islands
The stunning poster created by Joe Harrison in our GeoDataViz team, working with the University of Sheffield, showcases the 82 islands of Great Britain which are larger than 5km2. It also created wide debate about what was and wasn’t an island and even what is Great Britain!
Tableau is a data visualisation software that is used for creating a wide range of different visualisation to interactively present data and obtain insights. It has a very intuitive user interface and you don’t need any coding knowledge to work with it. For this tutorial we will be using Tableau Public which can be downloaded here.
We will be creating a spider map or origin-destination map that shows paths between our origins (RNLI stations) and destinations (call-outs). All the data you will need for this tutorial can be found here.
On 28 February 1823, Sir William Hillary made an impassioned appeal to the nation, calling for a service dedicated to saving lives at sea. That service was to become the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Did you know?
- There are 238 lifeboat stations around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.
- Tower Lifeboat Station on the River Thames in London is the RNLI’s busiest.
- There are 349 lifeboats in the RNLI fleet.
- The RNLI have 4,966 volunteers.
- It cost £176.5m to run the RNLI in 2017.
Last week we looked at using QGIS to create some visualisations using data from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Ordnance Survey. This week we will be taking the same datasets and working with them within Kepler, Uber’s new open source geospatial analysis tool.
KEPLER (Pt 1)
Kepler is great for creating a range of different visualisations easily and quickly, and to begin with we are going to look at creating a visualisation depicting where in the UK most emergency call-outs are made. To do this we will need to download the RNLI Return of Service data.
In an emergency the importance of location is critical. Knowing the precise whereabouts of an incident can be the difference between life and death.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are the charity that saves lives at sea. Responsible for saving over 140,000 lives since their formation in 1824 they work with a dedicated team of volunteers, staff and community fundraisers. They allow us to enjoy our shorelines and water, safe in the knowledge that in an emergency they will be there to assist us.
There is a lot of data behind the lifesaving and in 2017 RNLI teamed up with ESRI to create an open data portal to help share some of this data.
If you loved our data visualisation showing Great Britain’s largest islands – great news, it’s now available to buy. In case you missed it at the time, 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 and created this beautiful poster to showcase their work.
We were overwhelmed with the fantastic response to the poster and inundated with hundreds of questions, many asking about missing islands. As we were only looking at Great Britain’s islands, this didn’t include Northern Ireland’s islands, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. You can see more about the difference between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and our Crown Dependencies in this blog. There are many more islands around Great Britain smaller than 5km2 – they’re just not included on the poster.
We also had a lot of requests for a printed poster, and our friends at the University of Sheffield have made this happen. There are a limited number of posters available, at A1 size which you can buy on their website for £15.
Continuing our series to introduce some friendly faces from the people working at OS and showcase the wide variety of work we do, meet Joe Harrison. Joe joined OS on our graduate scheme in 2017 as a data scientist and has worked in a few areas of the business so far. If you’re a follower of the blog, you may recognise some of the project Joe’s worked on…
Hi, I’m Joe, one of the data science grads from the most recent graduate scheme. My first placement was an eight-month stay in the Consultancy & Technical Services team from September until the end of March. I then moved to the GeoDataViz team with Charley and Paul for a two-month placement.
Scottish Boundary Commission
During my first week in the team, Charley was contacted by the Scottish Boundary Commission who wanted advice on how to visualise the new Scottish constituency boundaries and the changes. I created a couple of examples using QGIS. I improved the clarity of the maps by reducing the number of colours, and by adding shadows to emphasise areas of interest.