We’re celebrating seven years of OS OpenData, and its success is down to the people and businesses using the products. We are always interested in hearing how open data is being used, so please keep sharing your examples with us. One business who we have spotted using our data regularly over the years is Parallel. We asked Ashley Clough, founder of Parallel to explain how OS OpenData has benefitted them.
Parallel has evolved to specialise in data-visualisation and mapping, particularly for healthcare data in and around the NHS. We started to use OS OpenData when we became frustrated by the styling of available basemaps for website applications. We needed a set of maps that were optimised for the presentation of data overlays; as icons for point locations and polygons for area indications. We needed to control what was visible on the map at every zoom level and crucially we needed to ensure that the level of detail was consistent across the entirety of Great Britain. We investigated using open source map data but we couldn’t rely on the consistency of data within urban locations, and particularly in more rural locations. As the maps are used within the NHS we needed to ensure that everywhere had the same quality of data; OS OpenData was, and we believe still is, the most consistent for our purpose.
Blog by Tim Newman, OS OpenData Product Manager
This month sees us celebrate the seventh anniversary of the launch of OS OpenData. This was a big milestone for us as we released 11 of our mapping and analytical datasets under open licensing. Each day, 150 different people download data from our portal taking, on average, two products each. This adds up to over 400,000 orders placed since the launch of OS OpenData in 2010 and an enormous 1.9 million downloads in total.
Following a number of queries about our Boundary-Line OS OpenData product, please read our statement.
The primary purpose of Boundary-Line is to show the current operative administrative and voting boundaries within Great Britain. New boundaries are determined in accordance with Statutory Instruments and Community Governance Orders, which typically come into effect when elections are held (usually in May). Our product update cycle for the May release aligns with the dates that the changes to electoral and administrative boundaries become operative.
To maintain and update Boundary-Line, we need to process data received at different times, from many third parties, in differing formats within the production cycle. If we released Boundary-Line data ahead of schedule, the data would not have the benefit of going through the production processes which are in place to ensure that the data is accurate and reflects all of the available changes to the boundaries that we receive from local authorities.
Peter Capaldi will be back for his final series as the twelfth Doctor this Easter and media speculation (and betting) on the new Doctor Who reminded us of our OS OpenSpace Tardis map*. We decided to add a new dimension for 2017, marking the location of the birthplaces** of the 12 actors to play the Doctor so far, as well as the 73 Tardis dotted around Britain. Would it reveal a Doctor hotspot and help identify the thirteenth Doctor?
We found that 25% of Doctors hail from Scotland with the remaining 75% being born in England – so is it time for a Welsh Doctor to hit our screens? Or will Scotland continue to attract Doctors due to the huge number of Tardis in the country?
Guest blogger Nicholas White explains how photography and opendata go hand in hand…
I began my photography career shooting digitally. Digital was commonplace, both on consumer and professional levels. It seemed to be the go-to medium for financial viability, instant gratification and provided the photographer with the ability to produce large quantities of imagery without breaking the bank. This is by no means a bad thing, I’m all for embracing change. Change is good, it keeps us on our toes, opens doors to new methods of image-making and challenges us to think about how we align with the current trends in photography. Instagram and smartphone photography has added an extra dimension to this rapidly shape-shifting medium, with an average of 70 million photos per day being shared in 2015.
Our most detailed street-level open data product, OS Open Map – Local, is now live in full V1 format. Since its launch in beta format in March 2015, it has proved immensely popular with 20,000 tile downloads in the first week alone.
Following your feedback during the beta period, the full release includes a number of new features:
Detailed raster version for backdrop and contextual mapping
Hear from Pippa Clemett, who recently completed work experience with us, on how she used OS OpenData and QGIS to carry out a project on radon potential and lung cancer incidences in England and Wales.
I’m Pippa and I am currently studying geography, geology, biology and chemistry at A-Level, and want to study geography at university. Whilst at Ordnance Survey for an amazing week of work experience, I spent time in the Products department where I used a Geographical Information System called QGIS to produce a small project on radon potential and lung cancer incidences in England and Wales. After using Ordnance Survey’s walk through guides for beginners, ‘Simple Guide’ and ‘Masterclass’, I quickly got the hang of the basics and then was able to apply my own interests to the powerful technology available at OS, to produce my own project.
Update: Now available in the OS Shop
It’s been almost a year since we created a series of downloadable colouring-in maps, and we’re thrilled to be able to tell you that there’s a book of OS maps to colour being released this autumn. We teamed up with Laurence King Publishing to work on the new book, The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain.
The book will take you on an immersive colouring-in journey around Great Britain, from the coasts and forests to our towns and countryside. Expect to see iconic cities, recognisable tourist spots and historical locations across England, Scotland and Wales via the 55 illustrations. The Great British Colouring Map also includes a stunning gatefold of London. We can’t wait to share it with you – it will be on shelves in October.
Guest blog by Tony Payne
The map on the right shows all the hills in the Cotswolds with over 14% gradient. I created it using a range of OS OpenData products and you can see the original in Google Maps here.
Hill Quest – origins
I’m a keen road cyclist, and regularly ride with the Cheltenham and County Cycling Club. A fellow club member, Simon Boswell, announced his ‘Hill Quest’ – a quest to ride all the hills over 14% in the Cotswolds (14% being a single chevron on OS maps).
Simon had found around 140 hills by sitting down with his OS maps and looking for chevrons. I volunteered a corresponding ‘armchair quest’ to identify them by a database query. The resulting map has nearly 600 hills – more than enough to keep Simon quiet over the summer.
Zooming in on the map, each hill is identified with details such as maximum gradient and total climb. Hills are shown in green, with the 14% sections highlighted in red with a marker showing the start of the steep section.
Hill Quest – progress
Guest blog by Victoria Synek Herd
I’m Victoria, and I’ve just finished a fantastic week of work experience at Ordnance Survey. I’m currently a Year 12 student at Colyton Grammar School in Devon, studying Geography, Biology, English and History at A Level. I decided to come to the OS for work experience as I’m interested in studying Geography at university, and have always wanted an insight into the process behind producing maps. I cannot thank OS enough for such an insightful and fun experience.
I was stationed in the Products team for the week where I had my own computer and workspace, and I started the week by testing out the OS OpenData ‘Simple Guides’ which explained how to use the OS OpenData on QGIS. I was a little apprehensive to start with, seeing as I was not at all familiar with downloading data or using QGIS, however I soon discovered the guides were easy to follow and gave a good foundation of understanding for the beginner. On completing the four guides, I knew how to create simple maps using several different types of opendata, including OS Open Map Local and OS VectorMap District. This provided a good platform for me to investigate the other sets of opendata available, and I enjoyed creating some of my own maps.