As Britain’s mapping agency we’re keeping track of half a billion geospatial features across the country and making tens of thousands of changes daily. We have over 200 surveyors on the ground and aircraft who survey from the skies to ensure we have the latest data ready for our customers. Our Flying Team were already prepared for some changes in 2020 as they were moving base and flying in new aircraft with new cameras, but Covid-19 had a bigger impact. Find out how the team have been working in 2020.
The Flying Team are usually in the skies above Britain from March to early November each year, using the aircraft and high-resolution cameras to survey about a third of Britain, that’s around 80,000 km2 of imagery data and over 100,000 individual images.
New base and aircraft
For the 2020 season, the team are flying from a new base, Retford (Gamston) Airport in Nottinghamshire. It’s a great location to fly to both the North of Scotland and down to the South West of Britain, and quite a change from working at our previous base in East Midlands Airport which is a large cargo hub and holiday gateway.
In the months since lockdown restrictions around Great Britain began to be relaxed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Britons valued the chance to GetOutside. During that time, subscribers to OS Maps have logged almost 700,000 routes in the app, showing whereabouts in the country they’ve been outdoors.
Most of us are aware that Britain’s coastlines are constantly changing with erosion and landslides and we’ve blogged before about how our data is being used to predict future changes to the Scottish coastline. One challenge is capturing the changes quickly and ensuring our data reflects the current coastline.
A recent landslide on the Norfolk coast at Sidestrand demonstrated the benefit of drone use to capture change. Footage of the cliff fall was captured by a member of the public and James Morrison from our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) team, worked with our Norfolk–based surveyor Jez Hull, to respond quickly.
Last year the Government announced its plans to unlock its mapping and location data to boost the economy by £130m a year. Since then we’ve been working with the Geospatial Commission, the geospatial industry and our customers to make this a reality.
Chris Chambers is the OS lead on the Open MasterMap Programme and brings us up to date on progress so far.
What have we done so far Chris?
The Geospatial Commission and Ordnance Survey are working hard to deliver the government commitment to release Open MasterMap data. This is a large programme of work.
As you can see from the infographic above, the Open MasterMap Programme has a large number and wide variety of deliverables – ranging from clearer pricing & licensing information to introducing a whole new way of engaging with Ordnance Survey. We’re working with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the Open MasterMap deliverables best meet customer needs. I’d say that to date we’ve delivered in three main areas:
We were delighted to have two entries shortlisted for the inaugural Geography in Government Awards this year. We were even more pleased to win one as OS Open Zoomstack scooped the prize for ‘Excellence in geo-visualisation and cartography’, up against tough competition from the Defence Geographic Centre (DGC).
Some of the OS team attended the awards ceremony on 25 April at Scotland House in London and enjoyed a great evening which celebrated the best of geography across Government. OS Open Zoomstack is our latest open data product which we launched in January after a successful trial throughout summer 2018. For this award we owe a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the trial and made this product a success. Without your feedback and support it wouldn’t have been possible.
What’s happened since the launch?
The Geospatial Commission, created by the UK government in November 2017, is inviting geospatial players and beyond to help shape the UK geospatial industry with its call for evidence to be a geospatial world leader. It is hoped the public consultation will help the industry support economic growth and unlock further value, which is estimated to be in the region of £11 billion a year. The geospatial call for evidence will play a significant role in setting the UK’s future geospatial vision. It will focus on innovation, enhancing geospatial assets and driving investment.
Neil Ackroyd, interim CEO of Ordnance Survey, said: “OS has been supporting Great Britain’s geospatial needs as its core task over its long history and we’ve seen first-hand the crucial role accurate geospatial can play. Whether it’s in national resilience, planning and critical infrastructure, or ensuring ambulances turn up at the correct location, geospatial has always been there. OS is pleased to be able to support the Geospatial Commission and we welcome this public opportunity to shape our industry and recognise the challenge to adapt and enhance our combined capabilities.”
In the past decade, as new technologies and innovative ways of thinking have emerged, we have worked on many ground-breaking projects that are being enabled by geospatial data, delivering services and solutions to nations, cities and communities. The role that geospatial can play in emerging markets is of course key to this consultation covering a breadth of opportunity from connectivity for citizens, through environmental stewardship to the new digital infrastructure required for the UK. The announcement of the geospatial strategy is very timely and this consultation is a significant event to build on the UK’s recognised position as a world leader in this field, putting geospatial at the heart of policy and government service delivery supporting future economic growth.
Find out more about the consultation and take part: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launch-call-for-evidence-to-be-geospatial-world-leader
Guest blog by Ewan Campbell, composer of Glynde.
In many ways cartography is to a landscape, what music notation is to sound. They both use two-dimensional visualisations to represent something which is multi-dimensional, and in the process create a beautiful pictorial format of their own. My map enthusiasm is driven by a desire for the overview that a maps offers, and the scope to explore the virtual depiction of a landscape.
There is however a crucial difference between the two idioms: music is always experienced through the temporal dimension, and time, as we know it, can only ever run forwards. No matter how many repeats, verses, loops or recapitulations a composer may decide to add there is always a beginning which at some moment later must be followed by an ending. As a result traditional music notation is linear, and read forwards like a book. The aim of my cartographic music is to make the musical form visible. The 2-dimensional score offers a structural overview of the virtual musical soundscape, which can be imaginatively entered into, just as one would ‘read’ a topographical map.
The Lakes Ignite programme for 2018 features an OS-inspired work of art called Ordnance Pavilion, paying homage to the trig pillar and the work of OS surveyors in mapping Great Britain. It’s flattering to be an artist’s muse, but we wonder if it’s not the first time OS has inspired an artwork…
Created by Studio MUTT, Ordnance Pavilion is an interactive installation in the Langdale Estate in the Lake District. It forms part of Lakes Ignite 2018 which presents six contemporary artworks to celebrate the Lake District’s designation as a World Heritage site. On display between until July 2018, Ordnance Pavilion is a celebration of OS and how our maps have impacted people’s interaction with the landscape.
We’re delighted to see Geovation being awarded the ‘Geospatial Hub of the Year Award’ at the Geospatial World Forum Gala Dinner this evening. The Geospatial World Leadership Awards jury recognised Geovation’s leadership role in creating a centre of excellence to nurture startups, enabling spatial innovation and entrepreneurship.