Is this the start of a new Cambridge Conference tradition?
The Ordnance Survey vs. The Rest of the World cricket match, in a beautiful green setting with glorious evening sun, and cool jazz in the background. It was a fabulous evening in which everyone had the chance to have a go – great fun. Huge thanks to all the delegates for their enthusiasm in making it such a success.
But before that, though, we had a full day of conference.
Day 2 of the Cambridge Conference was another breathless journey – this time taking us to the stars and beyond thanks to a fabulous evening spent at the INTECH Science Centre and Planetarium outside Winchester.
But before that, we had a fascinating day of presentations and discussion.
The first morning session, chaired by Professor Fraser Taylor, introduced the Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) initiative from the United Nations. Professor Paul Cheung, of the UN Statistics Division, put forward a compelling argument for the formation of the GGIM, saying that since 1947 there have been calls for a global geospatial framework and effective communities of practice.
The GGIM would give GI a voice in the international community and a respected governance infrastructure. Dr Luiz Paulo Souto Fortes followed up with examples of how the GGIM would assist with real world problems in South America.
Dr Hiroshi Murakami concluded the session with a presentation of Japan’s experiences with the recent earthquake and tsunami. He would like to see more global cooperation on interoperability standards and emergency drills under the GGIM banner.
The issues facing mapping in Africa – Aida Opoku-Mensah
Aida Opoku-Mensah of the United Nations Science & Technology Division gave a comprehensive overview of the state of mapping in Africa. She included a number of examples of building regional databases and core datasets that would assist with the challenges as well as promoting capacity building and supporting the aims of the UN GGIM.
Yesterday we had around 120 delegates from all over the world here in Southampton for opening day of the Cambridge Conference. Here are some highlights from Day 1:
Our opening keynote was delivered by Professor Nigel Shadbolt, UK Government’s Open Data Advisor, who spoke enthusiastically about the power of crowd sourcing. To demonstrate this, Nigel showed a powerful illustration of how OpenStreetMap helped map Port au Prince in just days in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
He expanded on the drivers behind open data and said that his over-arching principle is that data should be published unless there is a very good reason not to.
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
The MaxiMap is a huge 20 square metre map of Britain, designed as a teaching resource that can be walked and played on with the aim of getting kids excited about geography whilst teaching concepts like scale and distance and the impacts of climate change.
We wanted to donate the map,which is worth in the region of £300, so that it can be enjoyed by the tens of thousands of schools pupils who visit the centre every year.
Pupils from St Patrick’s School, Southampton, were on hand to put the MaxiMap through its paces.
The map is the brainchild of former teacher Ann Jones and her business partner Rowena Wells. Last year they won the inaugural GeoVation Challenge, earning them an £11,000 with which they have developed the MaxiMap concept.
Angela Ryde-Weller, INTECH Education Manager, said: “The MaxiMap provides a fun way to learn about size, scale and direction. Using their own bodies as measuring devices, pupils can find out how far it is from John O’ Groats to Southampton, that Liverpool is further east than Edinburgh and just how long our coastline is. They can then compare all their results and consider how accurate their measurements are.
“This cross curricular activity, linking mathematics and geography on an enormous scale, really adds a dimension to these topics.”
The current GeoVation Challenge, which is seeking ideas about ‘How to Improve Transport in Britain’, is still open to submissions, but only until Friday!
We’re looking to support business ideas that use geography to help improve how we all get from A to B. There is £150,000 in seed funding available for the best ideas so there is a real incentive to get involved.
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]
UK Location launched the beta version of the Metadata Editor last week, built by us at Ordnance Survey. We built it using the GeoNetwork platform and have made the Metadata Editor available in two formats – a web-based on line version and an downloadable version. The UK Location Metadata Editor enables users to create, edit and validate UK Location compliant discovery metadata resources.
We’re one of many UK public bodies that produces data which falls within the scope of the Inspire Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe). The Directive aims to ensure that geographic information joins up between European countries. This can then help in major environmental disasters such as forest fires, floods and industrial explosions that do not respect national boundaries.
The first step under Inspire, currently being worked on by UK Location who are ensuring the UK rolls out the Inspire strategy, is creating metadata. Over the coming months and years Inspire’s vision sees everyone working to the same data specifications and sharing data readily between European countries.
The data under Inspire’s scope includes many of our datasets, which are largely reference information such as addresses and administrative areas, but also thematic information such as industrial facilities and species distributions.
We became involved in the Defra-coordinated UK Location earlier this year as technical delivery partners. Our first task was to work on the Metadata Editor and we’ll also be working on other spatial aspects of the project in the coming months. Keep an eye on our blog for more updates on Inspire and the UK Location programme.
Today is English Language Day! And we’re having a great response so far to the Location Lingo initiative we’re running with the English Project to help celebrate the day.
But to further encourage you to take part, here’s a guest post by Beryl Pratley, an English Project Trustee, to tell you more about them and the world of Location Lingo.
At the start of this autumn term hundreds of schools across Great Britain began the new academic year by signing up to use a new online mapping service designed specifically for the classroom.
With its pupil-friendly interface, and national coverage of digital maps, Digimap for Schools is set to greatly increase the use of Ordnance Survey maps for teaching and learning geography at all levels, as well as supporting other subjects such as history.
Until now, schools have mainly relied upon paper maps for Ordnance Survey map skills work – a mandatory topic in the curriculum. Since 2002 this has been supported by the issue of a free 1:25 000 scale OS Explorer Map to all pupils in Year 7 under the Ordnance Survey Free maps for 11-year-olds scheme. These free maps are being issued for the last time this year because Digimap for Schools will offer schools so much more.