OS OpenData


Putting Doctor Who on the map

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? Read More


OS OpenData becomes a work of art

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.


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Using OS OpenData on work experience

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.


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OS colouring book coming this autumn

Update: Now available in the OS Shop 
GB Colouring Map COVER FINAL

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. Read More


OS OpenData used for a cycling and mapping challenge

Guest blog by Tony Payne

Tony's map created using OS OpenData and overlaid on Google Maps

Tony’s map created using OS OpenData and overlaid on Google Maps

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

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Work experience at OS and using OS OpenData

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.

Southampton OS VectorMap District

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. Read More


Managing water better, sustainably – where data meets policy

In this blog we have been discussing the latest Geovation Challenge: ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’

Today it is the turn of one of our partners, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to give the perspective of policymakers. Nick Haigh, Lead Analyst for Water and Flood Management outlines the opportunities and challenges.

“We have recently announced #OpenDefra, our open data programme and the Geovation Water Challenge fits perfectly with this. We have data, but we also have problems: too much water, too little water, poor water quality, ageing infrastructure and the need for new water using behaviours. We are supporting Geovation because we hope the data, analytical and business community can take new and existing data sources – particularly those made available by our partner the Environment Agency – and use them to develop ways to solve water problems.

Geovation Water Challenge

“Clearly right at the moment,too much water is at the front of our minds following the devastating impacts of record rainfall in the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland lately. One particular challenge which has been highlighted through developing the Water Challenge has been urban flooding. Flood and water management involves lots of geographic data – how can we harness this to improve the way we plan, build and drain our towns and cities, making the best use of green solutions? Read More


Can innovation help us to manage too much water?

Our latest Geovation Challenge turns our attention to water, and the problems of ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’

We’re focusing on five key themes: too little water; too much water; poor water quality; aging water infrastructure, and; water use behaviour.  Find out more about the problems we identified during the Problem Deep Dive here

To help you to identify with the problems we uncovered, we created a persona for each of the themes. With the recent flooding taking place in parts of Cumbria, Carlisle and North West England, our attention is drawn again to the problem of managing too much water.

SMALL_toomuchwater_590x330 Read More