As 2011 draws to a close we thought we’d share with you our top ten most popular blog stories from the year. If you’re new to the blog, get a feel for the things we talk about; and if you’re a regular blog-reader, remind yourself of what we’ve been talking about this year.
And if there’s anything you’d like to see more of or any questions you’d like answered on the blog – let us know.
10. Know your grid references – for those of you who aren’t sure of how to take a grid reference – here’s a step by step guide.
9. All of a Twitter about mapping – a two week period of tweeting by our surveyors gave you a flavour of the work they do every day.
8. Mapping applications for your phone – location based applications are big business in the Smartphone market and none more so than apps using Ordnance Survey data.
During October 2011 we held eight Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) member conferences across England and Wales. This gave us the chance to engage with our PSMA members and gave them the opportunity to find out more about how they can benefit from the agreement.
Over 425 members attended the eight events and feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many commenting that it was an ideal platform to share best practice and discuss lessons learnt – and they’re looking forward to future events.
Did you know that geographic information (GI) plays a major role in many public services across Great Britain? Ordnance Survey provides mapping and data to over 1,700 public sector organisations in England and Wales through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). Keep reading to find out how some of our public sector customers have used our data to deliver their services.
The public sector sales and marketing team have had a really busy October, packed full of activities. Throughout the month, we were planning and delivering a series of free conferences for our public sector customers in England and Wales. The events give our customers an opportunity to meet Ordnance Survey representatives – and also a chance to network with their counterparts from similar organisations and share best practice. Knowledge sharing is a concept that we are keen to encourage and the events have been designed to help this interaction. We use the day to deliver key messages such as product development news and licensing information, topics of great interest to our customers.
Last week we exhibited at the annual Welfare to Work conference at the Business Design Centre in London. The event, in its fourth year, gave our government team a chance to showcase the new AddressBase range of products, which were launched at the beginning of October and made available to all public sector bodies via the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA).
The focus of the event was to educate delegates on the important role that accurate addressing information can play in tackling fraud. Every year in the UK, fraud costs public services an estimated £21 billion.
Our team were highlighting how delegates can combine their own department’s intelligence and third-party information with Ordnance Survey location data to become more effective in preventing, detecting, highlighting and acting on fraudulent claims.
Visitors to our stand were also set a location challenge to identify the addresses or buildings of eight well known landmarks featured. Can you identify the locations of the mapping clips? We’ll give you some clues if you struggle!
We were thrilled that HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was able to come and officially open Explorer House last week. Having been involved in the organisation of the visit, I’m relieved that it all went so smoothly (well almost – if you don’t include the panic when we heard the royal party was going to arrive fifteen minutes early). It had been quite an undertaking, with over 100 VIP guests coming for lunch, the tightened security and everyone hoping to get the opportunity to meet The Duke.
On the day, I was part of the small team looking after the media – including film crews from BBC South and ITV Meridian as well as our friends at The Southern Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent. We received some brilliant media coverage that day with everyone highlighting how much the technology and our organisation had changed in the 42 years since The Duke’s last visit.
Some of our staff were also doing unusual things with some roped in to play behind the scenes roles, from car park attendants to meeting and greeting to making presentations showing how our data is used.
Lots of people played important roles including one of our security team successfully apprehended a very growly and persistent Jack Russell who came strolling over the grass from nowhere at exactly the moment The Duke turned up. He obviously wanted to see what was going on, although as he didn’t have any ID or an invitation we couldn’t let him in!!One of my personal highlights was the children from Explorers nursery, situated on Adanac Park, coming over to wave their flags and school pupils from St Marks Primary School in Southampton coming in to show visitors how they use Digimap for Schools.
All in all it was an exhausting, but satisfying day which went off smoothly and I think everyone was pleased that Ordnance Survey made such a good impression on The Duke and all the VIPs.
If you want to know more about the visit, you might like to watch this video covering the whole day.
The Association of Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity Conference is taking place this week with good attendance from key players in the geographic industry. Organised around the theme of ‘placing ourselves in the new economy’ and based at a new venue in Nottingham, the very varied and interesting conference programme has led to packed rooms and a real buzz around the event.
Last Thursday saw the successful first ever Hack Day at Ordnance Survey. Open to all staff, the only rule was to come up with an interesting idea and take it from concept to prototype in one day.
The beta release of OS VectorMap District was voted winner in its category at the 2011 British Cartographic Society Awards which form part of the society’s annual symposium.
The judges awarded us Winner of the 2011 Avenza Award for Electronic Mapping.
The award was presented to two of our cartographers at the event’s gala dinner at Shrigley Hall, near Macclesfield. The panel of highly regarded cartographers described our entry as ‘a top-quality base map that is clear and easy to use, displaying class-leading cartography’.
- OS VectorMap District is a map on which you can overlay your own information. It can also be customised by selecting and styling different features in different ways. Ideal for creating web applications, OS VectorMap District contains only the most important information to give you a clear, uncluttered backdrop map.
In this post I’m going to focus on a particular developer issue around the use of our Web Map Builder. Questions have arisen around what you do with the code you get when you press the ‘Collect code’ button in ‘Step 4 – Generate and save code’. You are actually given a fully formed HTML document.
This is fantastic if all you want is a blank page with a map in it.
For that all I would need to do is:
1. Select all the code
2. Copy the code into a text editor, such as Notepad.
3. Save it as <name>.html, such as mymap.html.
4. Put it on my webserver
Thinking about winding down the grey matter as Christmas approaches? Well think again, as it’s time for our first annual (hopefully) festive geography quiz! To be honest, the questions aren’t very festive but they most definitely are geography related.
Alas in the age of austerity the only prize we can offer is a sense of pride at being a geography wizard and generally more intelligent than everyone else.
The first person to leave all the correct answers as a comment will be officially crowned as the winner – thinking caps on and try not to resort to Google immediately! And you never know, just some of the answers might be lurking in previous blog posts…
1. What name do islands in England, Scotland and Wales all share?
2. Britain’s longest river rises in Wales; what is it called?
3. Which islands lie between Iceland and the Shetland Islands?
4. Which area of land in England is administered by Verderers?
5. What is the most easterly point of mainland Great Britain, and which OS Landranger Map is it on? – OSGB grid reference please!
6. What is the length of the coastline of Great Britain, including all major islands, at Mean High Water at 1:10,000 scale, to the nearest 10 kilometres?
7. What is England’s Second Largest Cathedral?
8. Why is Sixpenny Handley, Dorset, so called?
9. Name the three towns or cities that have contained Ordnance Survey’s Headquarters?
10. What was the first map to contain the words Ordnance Survey?
[Image by Sybren A. Stüvel via Flickr]