OS returns to NWG’s Innovation Festival

Last week, we returned to Northumbrian Water Group (NWG)’s Innovation Festival to build on last year’s success of the underground mapping project (see our previous blog here).

Now in its third year, the festival tackles social and environmental challenges by applying problem solving techniques in sprints, data hacks and workshops over five action-packed days. Over 3,000 people attended from more than 700 organisations to put their minds together to develop innovative solutions to these problems. Read More


Our role in the RUGGEDISED project

Glasgow City Council, as part of its EU Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities funded project RUGGEDISED (Rotterdam, Umea, Glasgow: Generating Exemplar Demonstrations in Sustainable Energy Districts), is, in tandem with developing various smart and sustainable energy measures, developing a Data-Based Decision Platform (DBDP). The DBDP will be a window into the various datasets generated throughout the project, as well as internal and external datasets utilised by Glasgow City Council. The DBDP will analyse and interpret various datasets to inform policy and strategy decisions in relation to city operations in the city, providing outputs that will inform operational actions.

Screenshot of DBDP.

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Location matters at CES

With 13 exhibition halls in 8 venues across Las Vegas, CES provides a showcase for 6,000+ companies and 1,000 start-ups to demonstrate their future product lines and technology. It is the biggest consumer electronics show in the US, attracting more than 180,000 business visitors from around the world over four days. It is a place to generate new business, partnerships and funding, and OS’ John Cartledge was there to look at location opportunities in tech.

This year’s show seemingly covered everything in technology. From phones and accessories, as you’d expect, to augmented and virtual reality, to amazing glimpses of the future with brain to machine interfaces and driverless car technologies, smart city services, sensor tech, robotics and personal assistants, internet of things devices and everything else you could possibly imagine.

Autonomous vehicles at CES

5G and the various broadband technologies that connect everything also played a major role, but it was the artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics that cut across everything. Read More


Sharing geospatial expertise in Tanzania

Ordnance Survey International (OSI) is working with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and the World Bank to build the geospatial capacity of Tanzania. You can find out more about it in our recent news release.

We recently held two high-level geospatial policy seminars to explore the benefits and nature of national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) policies. These seminars brought together senior delegates from across government departments in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to consider the particular cross-government challenges facing them. Disaster response, revenue generation and environmental management are three examples that would benefit from cross-cutting geospatial policies. In both seminars, principles to underpin policies were determined and agreed by delegates. Most importantly all attendees want NSDI policies and intend to work together to help write them.

Training in Zanzibar

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Building smart and happy cities

By Peter Hedlund, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey International

Ensuring quality of life in our cities is a complex challenge, but essential to making it happen is up-to-date and accurate land information. The emergence of Internet of Things technology such as autonomous vehicles, is driving the development of smart cities in many metropolitan areas around the world.

Dubai has set itself the goal of being the world’s smartest and happiest city. To achieve this vision, a smart city initiative has been launched to explore energy, environment, infrastructure and mobility. Geospatial data will be a key component and tool enabling services in each of these domains. Read More


What lies below? Can you help create international standards?

Guest blog by Andy Ryan, Senior Technical Product Manager

gv3When I go somewhere new, I usually look up a map (OS of course) before I go. I’m not quite sure why I do, but it’s a habit of mine which my children tease me about. In the world of business, when location is involved then you probably do the same, often without realising it. Using a sat nav to route a delivery van, ascertaining if a house you want to buy is on a flood plain, reviewing a site for a new development, or planning some underground pipe replacement all involve ‘maps’. But what if the map was blank or only partially complete, or you had to ask lots of other different people to send you bits of information that you had to stick together and even then you were not quite sure if it was complete?

When you need to work under the ground this is how it can feel. Lots of organisations have information, but it can be hard to share the information quickly and to common standards. This creates delays, unanticipated disruptions, extra costs and danger to those working in these areas. This is a widely recognised problem and the direct costs to the UK of accidental damage to utilities alone has been estimated at £150 million, with associated indirect costs, such as traffic disruption, of ten times this*. If other potential costs or savings are factored in, for example assessing the potential of brownfield sites, identifying infrastructure at risk from subsidence or tree roots, then the benefits of a map that includes what lies below ground increases significantly. The Treasury estimate that greater cross-sector collaboration with infrastructure networks across GB could save the economy £3 billion#Read More


Working Internationally

Posted by: Steven Ramage

SkylineOver the last 20 years I’ve worked with Ordnance Survey as a partner, supplier and collaborator through various roles. In August 2012 I eventually became an employee, joining to create the new overseas business of Ordnance Survey International. The last couple of years have flown past and when I look back at what I started with just myself and Carsten Roensdorf, who is based out in Dubai, I have to say it has been an exciting ride.

Ordnance Survey International is now a good-sized team, working with organisations in various parts of the world and everyday facing interesting and challenging business demands. We set out with the initial goal of advising other nations of the value of geographic information and to help them understand how to build on this. Ordnance Survey has invested extensively over the last 12-15 years, learning many lessons along the way, and our role is to share those lessons and provide guidance to assist other nations to develop their capabilities quickly and sustainably.

One of those lessons is international geospatial standards. The most advanced mapping organisations promote, support and endorse the use of international geospatial standards, which allow interoperability of geospatial information, devices, applications, services and networks. Ordnance Survey makes an important contribution to international geospatial standards, the recent paper co-authored by myself and Gerardo Esparza from INEGI Mexico: provides detail on the importance of geospatial standards from the national mapping perspective.

In addition to international geospatial standards development, Ordnance Survey International provides advice on business planning, policy development, pricing and licensing and technology acquisition – based on the real progress Ordnance Survey has made in these areas.

Our ability to guide nations in developing their own national mapping capability through alignment of business strategy and vision and addressing operational capacity and capability enforces Ordnance Survey as a very well-respected and high-quality brand, not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world.


The role of geographic information across the world

Geographic information has played a key role at a number of events this week, including the World Bank Conference on Land and Property. Steven Ramage, Head of Ordnance Survey International, updates us on the role he, and others at Ordnance Survey, played.

This has been a great week for Ordnance Survey, with a number of opportunities for us, all taking place in Washington DC. Monday’s press release broke the news that Ordnance Survey changed their membership role with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), moving to Principal level. Our Director of Products and Innovation, Peter ter Haar, formally announced our new role at the OGC Technical Committee meeting in Crystal City, Virginia, USA at the OGC 20th Anniversary meeting. I also attended this meeting in my role as Chair of the Business Value Committee at the OGC, which is open to all to attend.  Read More


Ordnance Survey International in pole position

Guest blog by Steven Ramage, Head of Ordnance Survey International

I joined Ordnance Survey two months ago to take on the role of building Ordnance Survey International. At that time I knew the overseas awareness of the Ordnance Survey brand was strong, but I had no idea how strong a reputation we had until last week.

We were invited to support an event in Abu Dhabi entitled Advances in British Engineering hosted by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event was scheduled just prior to the Formula One meeting in Abu Dhabi and was supported by a dozen leading British organisations; mostly engineering firms and us!

As you can imagine, the event was extremely well organised and the attendees were honoured by the attendance of Sir Jackie Stewart the legendary British Formula One driver. It was personally pleasing to see Jackie Stewart there, because I’ve followed him since I was a wee boy growing up in Scotland  – not far from where he started life.

So what does this have to do with national mapping you ask? Well…we are working on a number of government initiatives in the Middle East as Ordnance Survey International, so we were also there to support our customers who are developing their economic growth plans underpinned by location. We took along some posters and pull up banners highlighting the exactness and quality of Ordnance Survey national mapping:  OS MasterMap showing Brands Hatch and Silverstone race tracks. We explained our extremely comprehensive data capture, production, maintenance and delivery processes to almost all the attendees and highlighted this as another type of British engineering.

We should like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for attending and to thank both the UKTI office in Abu Dhabi for inviting us and i4detail for supporting us at this great event. It was very useful to be a part of the event and to have the opportunity to show that Ordnance Survey is a true ‘Great British’ player in the international market – providing strategic advisory services and guidance on authoritative mapping to other countries.