As a full-time cartographer with previous experience as an ecologist, our guest blogger Dan Bell is a huge advocate of the outdoors. In his spare time, he enjoys fell/long distance running and is currently training to become a Mountain Leader in the Lake District! If that wasn’t enough, he also runs Middle Earth’s Maps. Here, he tells us how he has used (Ordnance Survey) OS data in his Tolkien-inspired mapping…
Why are maps useful?
Maps are a window into an unknown landscape. They are simplifications of an increasingly complex world, affording us the opportunity to plan our adventures, make memories, and inspire our curiosities. It is these three attributes of maps and map making that continually motivate my work, in my endeavour to explore the realms of fantasy map creation within a real-world setting.
OS is reminding people taking staycations this summer to be mindful and prepared of the dangers when adventuring outdoors.
It comes after Keswick Mountain Rescue reported there had been a surge of avoidable callouts after unprepared holiday makers got into difficulties while venturing up mountains in the Lake District.
Nick Giles, Managing Director of OS Consumer, said: “It is fantastic that more people than ever are getting outside and exploring Great Britain and here at OS, we want to make sure that everyone does this safely and enjoys their adventures.
Do you know what an AONB is? Or an NSA? Most of us have heard of Britain’s National Parks (see all 15 here), but did you know that England and Wales also have 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Scotland has 40 National Scenic Areas (NSAs)?
These scenic areas cover over 34,000 km2 of Great Britain (larger than the 23,000 km2 covered by our National Parks) and cover a huge variety of mountain, coastal and countryside landscapes. Our GeoDataViz team have been virtually exploring and comparing the landscapes with OS data and created a poster to showcase the AONB and NSAs.
What if there was a network of off-road walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities? OS GetOutside Champion Dan Raven-Ellison tells us more about the Slow Ways hack in this guest blog.
A few years ago, when planning a route between Salisbury and Winchester, I started to wonder…
There are over 200,000 km of public rights of way, but there isn’t a comprehensive network designed to help people walk off-road between Britain’s towns and cities.
On 1 February 100 people are taking part in a hack day to change this – and you are invited to help.
Having OS Maps downloaded to a mobile phone came in very handy for a walker who found himself completely stuck in mud on a cliff bank near Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire.
Aged 20, Barney Lee was seven weeks into a 6,000 mile-charity walk around the coast of Britain when he arrived at a beach between Barton and Highcliffe. Hoping to find a shortcut for the Mudeford ferry to Bournemouth, Barney followed footprints along a track which became wilder and less clear.
Back in May, we supported the launch of Places of Poetry with a blog about the project with details on how our mapping is involved. Led by poet and Radio 4 regular Paul Farley and academic Professor Andrew McRae, to celebrate National Poetry Day Andrew has kindly written a guest blog for us…
Thousands of subscribers to OS Maps have been out in force wandering the streets of London over the summer months – providing some revealing insights for us here at OS.
So many of you have poured out of tube stations, alighted from buses and spilled out of car parks to get outside and enjoy the majesty, wonder and gorgeous green space of London.
Thousands of journeys have been unselfishly logged, recorded and shared as routes in the phone and web app, whether that be cycle routes, gentle strolls or epic walks. And the data has thrown up some interesting results.
The number one place to start a walk in London this year – and end it – was Richmond station.
Top ten places in London where people start a route
If you’re a fan of old maps, you might have seen some of Ellis Martin’s work. The map cover artwork in the 1920s and ‘30s was often created by Ellis Martin, who joined OS in 1919. Those maps with Martin’s distinctive drawings helped establish OS as a leading outdoors brand, something worth celebrating 100 years on.
With the anniversary already in mind, it was quite a coincidence to receive an email saying: “When clearing out a relative’s house, I came across a painting done by the artist who illustrated your map covers, Ellis Martin.”
Today is the 83rd anniversary of the first use of an Ordnance Survey trig pillar, so the perfect time to catch up with Britain’s top trig-bagger, Rob Woodall, on his latest achievement.
I bagged my final Welsh trig pillar in 2008 – sort of. At that time, I counted 660 trig pillars still surviving in Wales, and Red Hill, S6561, east of Builth Wells was my last, on a blustery August day. We celebrated with a Balvenie single malt (somehow not a Penderyn).
But had I really finished? The OS originally built 684 pillars in Wales – what about the others? At that time, I was focused on extant pillars, trying to get around as many trigs as I could before they were lost to housing developments, road construction, farming operations and the like. I’d visited all the remaining English, Isle of Man and Scottish pillars by 2016, so it was time to think about visiting the remaining vacant trig sites. Some were simply in-situ replacements, the pillars being rebuilt on the same site, with the same flush bracket or occasionally a new one. Sites that used to have a trig pillar, aren’t inherently as interesting to the bagger as those where there’s something to look for, but the scenery is still there (if it hasn’t been built on), and in some cases, the pillars weren’t quite as dead as we thought: