It’s now over two years since the release of OS OpenData, which gave more access to free, unrestricted Ordnance Survey mapping than ever before. It’s is helping businesses and developers to start to use geographic intelligence (GI) without any royalty payments and restrictions on reuse. Even if you haven’t used mapping data before, you can unlock the benefits immediately, making it even easier to achieve efficiency savings across the board.
Last month we ran a webinar, giving people the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data, and the tools and techniques to use OS OpenData. We show you how to get up and running with OS OpenData, and start to benefit from GI. The 40 minute session covers:
- How to get Ordnance Survey free data
- How to use OS OpenData
- And how we can learn from an existing user of OS OpenData with Simon Fitzgerald from CIFAS
After a day of pitching their ideas to the GeoVation judging panel at Cardiff’s SWALEC stadium last week, five groups of entrepreneurs have been given the funding to turn their visions for the Wales Coast Path into a reality.
If you attended one of our open data masterclasses recently, you could have been in one of the newest cities in the UK. St Asaph in Denbighshire, Wales, was one of three towns given city status to mark this year’s Diamond Jubilee – and was host to one of our masterclasses.
With a population of just 3,500, St Asaph becomes one of the smallest cities in the UK (St Davids is the smallest with a population of around 1,700). Until this year, it was also one of the few British towns with a cathedral that didn’t have city status.
Two other towns also achieved city status this year – Perth, Perthshire and Chelmsford in Essex. Interestingly, Perth was a city until 1975 when their status was removed following a re-jig of Scottish local government. Their city status will be restored this year – although it is unlikely to recover the status lost in 1437 – until which time Perth was the capital of Scotland.
All three diamond jubilee cities boast cathedrals – and Chelmsford’s is the second smallest in England. The new city also has the largest population of the three – with over 165,000 people living in the borough of Chelmsford.
It’s a common misconception in the UK that any town with a cathedral is automatically a city. Neither having a cathedral nor population size dictate city status in the UK; a town must be granted city status by the British monarch at the time.
These three will bring the total number of UK cities to 69. City status is rarely granted – just 14 new cities were created in the 20th century. So far this century, we’ve seen Brighton and Hove, Inverness and Wolverhampton given city status to mark the millennium; and the Golden Jubilee in 2002 was marked by awarding city status to Preston, Newry, Lisburn and Newport.
To mark the occasions, we’ve added the cities in Great Britain, as we’re the national mapping agency for Great Britain, onto our OS OpenSpace map. You can see the full interactive map via our website.
You can see the full list of cities on the UK cities website.
If you are interested in walking and want to understand more about the stories behind your favourite places in Great Britain, then why not visit www.discoveringbritain.org. The new website from the Royal Geographical Society with IBG is a must see for anyone who wants to discover more about Britain’s fantastic landscapes. An additional bonus for visitors is that all the walks are displayed on Ordnance Survey mapping though our great online mapping service OS OpenSpace.
Every place has a story to tell – whether dramatic mountains, busy city centres, windswept beaches, rolling fields, leafy suburbs, quaint villages or expansive mud flats. The website allows you to discover how our amazing landscapes are shaped by people, historic events, the economy, the forces of nature and much more. Through the website you can search for walks in three different ways – by the type of landscape at the heart of the story, by the setting of the walks, and by location or geographical region. When you select the walk which appeals to you, it can be viewed on an Ordnance Survey map.
Budding GeoVators only have 24 hours to submit their innovative ideas for our latest GeoVation Challenge – ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path’.
The exciting challenge has seen a steady flow of ideas being submitted all aiming to better connect communities, businesses and visitors through the application of geography, mapping, innovation and expertise. However, it is not too late for some last minute ideas and a chance for creative thinkers, developers and entrepreneurs to win a share of a £125,000 funding prize.
We’ve even mapped out where the ideas are coming from on the GeoVation blog. Some interesting ideas which have already been submitted include:
This idea looks at providing distressed visitors along the coastal path with instant support and assistance. It involves creating a smart phone App, with an associated website, to provide real-time solutions to people requiring assistance along the path, for example first aiders, first aid support from volunteer networks or help guiding people to the nearest medical support centre.
This idea aims to create a new endurance challenge along the Wales Coast Path. The intention is to have the challenge regarded with the same respect as the Trans-Alpine, Tour de Geants, Marathon de Sables (MDS) etc. The race will attract an international audience, can be split into sections and can have ‘spin-off’ shorter distances to make it accessible to a wider audience. By having the race in sections like the Trans-Alpine and the MDS it will engage coastal communities and bring in external revenue.
Another fun idea to attract new visitors to the coastal path is to develop a mobile application, linked to a central web interface, allowing partners to create challenges and learning games. The games would follow the format of Treasure hunts and orienteering exercises targeting young people.
So if you have an idea of how people who live and work along, or visit the Wales Coast Path can use digital technology to benefit from this ‘world first’ for Wales then please visit https://challenge.geovation.org.uk/
Are you planning a visit to the Dorset coast? We recently came across iCoast, a map-based website that presents coastal and marine recreational information in Dorset. It uses a range of Ordnance Survey mapping products and services to show information on 26 different recreational activities – from diving to fossil hunting.
You can quickly find interesting things to see and do, alongside viewing practical information such as transport links, weather forecasts and the location of visitor centres. Most importantly, codes of conduct are attached to all the activities so that you can use the Dorset coast safely and sustainably.
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.
OS Openspace was launched on January 31 2008, to enable developers to produce exciting and innovative ways of displaying information using our maps.
Earlier in the year, with the anniversary of data.gov.uk, I read quite a few articles or blog posts similar to this by Paul Clarke, lamenting the fact that the simple release of open data hadn’t automatically resulted in an explosion of useful applications and commercial value.
Publication didn’t necessarily mean communication or application, seemed to be the running theme.
To that end, we’ve seen an increasing number of organisations take open data and try to help people make sense of it – you might remember this post we published earlier in the year looking at DataTap, which uses OS OpenSpace to visualise a range of open data released by Windsor and Maidenhead Council.
DataTap subsequently won the MediaGuardian award for the ‘Best Use of Data’ but they’re just one example. I hope you’ll agree that Ordnance Survey is doing its bit through the GeoVation programme and our support of the Open Data Masterclasses (and a few more things in the pipeline I can’t talk about yet…) but there are other organisations out there trying to help people make sense of, and more importantly, use of open data.