Recently we told you about the new OS OpenData Award that we’re providing to the British Cartographic Society, offering you the chance to win an Apple iPad. Today we bring you a guest blog from one of our Cartographic Designers, Charley Glynn, who has used one of our freely available products to map all five of our head offices from 1791 to the present day:
As cartographic designers,my team and I get a lot of opportunity to design and develop topographic maps. We’re very familiar with making leisure maps and creating custom styles for contextual maps which is why we are particularly excited when we get the opportunity to submit work into map galleries. They give us the chance to build on our own map ideas, exercise our creativity and try out new tools and techniques. One such gallery is being hosted at the FOSS4G 2013 conference, the global conference for free and open source software for geospatial use, organised by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. With that and our new BCS OS OpenData Award in mind I decided to take this opportunity to create something different from my ‘norm’.
The purpose of art is often described as holding a mirror up to nature – yet the process of creating a map is often considered as something in the realm of engineers and scientists. Turning data captured by a surveyor into a map feature is definitely a matter for science, requiring precision and accuracy, but representing these features graphically needs people with graphical design skills, using symbols and colour to communicate the design of the landscape.
The creation of maps is a fusion of art, design, science and IT and this is what makes it fascinating for me and many others that work at Ordnance Survey.
Spanning all areas of the map making process are the cartographic design consultants. I recently met with this team to learn more about their role.
The role of the Cartographic Designer includes many areas of map production including work with product development; from the conception of a new idea, through early prototypes to the cartographic styling of the delivered product.
They also carry innovative work with OS Labs, helping to create ‘proof of concept’ ideas for future map related products and tools.
The Cartographic Design team also works closely on cartographic styling, showcased by the new common styles for Ordnance Survey vector and raster map products as well as having a close relationship with marketing and the partner team.