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.
We were delighted to welcome the British Cartographic Society (BCS) and Society of Cartographers to our head office in Southampton for their Annual Conference.
From specialists in commercial, academic and governmental organisations, this two-day event attracts those with the common interest that maps are a valuable communication device. As well as being host to the BCS Award Ceremony, this event offers an opportunity to share information about recent projects, join discussion groups and learn from colleagues and experts.
The BCS Award Ceremony
On the day, everyone had the chance to celebrate and witness first-hand a range of excellent entries across a range of different criteria and formats. The BCS Awards recognise the very best cartographic work and scholarship from around the globe. Among these is the OS Award, which is given for excellence in the application of OS data. Every year it becomes harder and harder to judge as the entries get better and better, but this year there was one clear winner.
By Lucie Woellenstein, Graduate Data Scientist
Did you know that there are 50 motorways in Great Britain with over 8,300 km of roads and a whopping 666 junctions? How many junctions have you taken? Or will you be taking as you head off for the summer holidays? Ever tried to come off a motorway junction, only to find you’ve taken the wrong exit and are now heading in the wrong direction? Maybe you’ve driven through the famous ‘Spaghetti Junction’ in Birmingham, and wondered what it looks like from above? Or perhaps you’ve been perplexed at how the most complex of junctions somehow actually work?
Well here at Ordnance Survey, we’ve spent many hours over the years thinking about the interwoven laces of motorway junctions. Not from the perspective of a driver, but that of a cartographer. From data architects conceptually modelling how to capture data, to surveyors capturing the exact GPS locations of our roads, and to the cartographers that digitise the maps you use to travel along the motorways – a lot of thought goes into how to cartographically represent junctions in a way they make sense to the map reader.
Cartographically complex motorway junctions
This year marks the 50th year anniversary of the Moon landing, and to celebrate the occasion the OS GeoDataViz team decided to create a map of Apollo 11’s lunar landing site in our unique map style (available to buy in our OS map shop). Find out how Paul Naylor approached the task.
On 20 July 1969 at 20:17 GMT, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. Six hours later Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface. It was a monumental achievement for humanity.
It’s 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that began the family of National Parks in Great Britain, and our GeoDataViz team have created a stunning poster to showcase the varied landscapes of our 15 beautiful National Parks.
You can buy this poster in the OS Map Shop
Covering a combined area of 23,138 km2 (that’s around 10% of Great Britain and an area slightly larger than Wales) the National Parks offer us a stunning variety of landscapes to explore. With two parks in Scotland, three in Wales and ten in England, they’re accessible to many of us, no matter where we live.
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.