Our surveying team were given a helping hand to capture the latest changes at Southampton General Hospital on Friday. Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, joined our surveyor Tony Vanderhoek to officially add the new hospital multi-storey car park to the geospatial database for Great Britain. During the visit the surveying duo also captured the modifications to the entrances at both the main hospital building and A&E.
Every day thousands of updates and amendments are made to Britain’s geospatial database, which contains over 500 million geographic features. We use a team of 250 surveyors, supported by aerial imagery, to survey and map the changing face of the nation. Using the latest GPS technology, our surveyors can map to centimetre accuracy, ensuring that Great Britain remains one of the most accurately mapped nations on the planet.
As we get closer to the end of 2016, we decided to take a look back at the blogs you liked the most over the year. We were pleased to see that the popular topics covered off our 225th anniversary and the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar as well as many other topics in between. Read your top ten:
The planet Mars became the latest subject in our long line of iconic OS paper maps. The one-off OS Mars map, created using NASA open data and made to a 1:4,000,000 scale, was made to see if our style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions. You can also order a copy for your wall in the OS shop.
You may have heard us saying that there are over 500,000 routes in our OS Maps service…well, we analysed all of that data to look at which areas you most like to #GetOutside and explore. We compiled a list of the 20 most popular grid squares in Britain, using 10 years of public routing data created in OS Maps and its predecessors.
Did you watch ITV’s Countrywise on Friday night? If you tuned in, you’ll have seen Ben Fogle being an honorary surveyor as it became Scafell Pike’s turn for a re-measure. It marked the finale of the re-measurement of Scotland, Wales and England’s famous three mountain highs – Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike.
G&J Surveys, the team that has made a hobby of measuring the heights of hills and mountains, is ten years old. And the Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH) celebrates its 15th birthday this year. John Barnard from G&J Surveys tells us why the two are linked and how they’ve been celebrating.
DoBIH was founded by Graham Jackson and Chris Crocker as a personal tool to help them log their own hill ascents. However, over the years DoBIH evolved into something much bigger with six editors and many hillwalkers supplying data. DoBIH log ten-figure grid references for the summits of hills and found that summit positions are not always so clearly known to warrant this level of accuracy. So G&J Surveys came into existence.
You’re thinking OS already measure the hills and mountains aren’t you? And they do. In moorland and mountain areas, OS generally use aerial photographs which measures heights to an accuracy of +/-3m. This means that the maps that are superbly fit for purpose if you’re out walking or climbing or cycling, but it can result in Corbetts suddenly becoming Munros! With the increasing popularity of hill bagging, the accuracy of hill lists was becoming more important.
If you were watching BBC Breakfast this morning, you may have seen their reporter, Graham Satchell, heading out with our Flying Unit and finding out how we survey Britain from the skies.
We’ve actually been using aerial photography to carry out our surveys for almost 100 years. Originally, this had the advantage of capturing information from areas that surveyors found hard to visit on foot. Today, it means we can keep on top of the data capture process – making continuous revisions of the whole nation’s landscape.
It’s not every day that we hear from one of our Licensed Partners that they’re about to appear on Dragon’s Den, pitching their map product to the panel. But David Overton of SplashMaps did just that, and we caught up with him last week, ahead of the broadcast. David couldn’t tell us the outcome at the time, but if you watched last night you’ll know that he put in a strong pitch, but sadly didn’t receive any funding. Find out more about SplashMaps and our Partner programme from David…
If you haven’t come across us before, SplashMaps makes wearable, washable, all-weather printed maps that can be customised for any part of Britain, and beyond. We set up in December 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea and used OS OpenData to print the first wearable maps of Britain’s National Parks.
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.
Did you know we’re 225 years old today? On 21 June 1791, the Board of Ordnance purchased a Ramsden theodolite, now seen as the foundation of OS, to survey Britain and protect from a French invasion. Ten years later we published the first OS map of Kent and have continued to map the country and provide data for Great Britain (and beyond – did you see the Mars map?) ever since. What better way to celebrate than with two new maps, created in a historic style?
Guest blog by OS Running Club Chairman Baz Newman
The Lordshill 10k has been going for quite a few years now and is put on by the Lordshill Road Runners running club but for the past three years it has been run from OS head office.
The race is a 10,000 metre route from OS, out into Nursling and then onto Lee before coming back on yourself and running through Nursling and coming down Redbridge Lane to the finish at the OS flagpole.
On 18 April 1936 a group of surveyors gathered around a white concrete pillar in a field in Cold Ashby and began the retriangulation of Great Britain. That trig pillar is still standing 80 years on, along with thousands more around the country. We’re celebrating by sharing the story of the humble trig pillar, still much loved by walkers today, and giving you the chance to join our celebrations with The Trig Pillar Trail Challenge.
Cold Ashby photo by Bridgeman via Trigpointing UK, a great site for all things trig