By Nigel Clifford, Ordnance Survey Chief Executive
It was great to see ‘geospatial’ highlighted in the Autumn Budget on Wednesday.
Geospatial data already supports a wide range of economic activity and there is a significant opportunity to generate growth through more effective, co-ordinated use of the vast range of geospatial data captured and managed on behalf of government. In light of this, we look forward to working with the Geospatial Commission to investigate ways to capture the full potential of that growth as it co-ordinates the geospatial agenda for the country.
The Year of Engineering launched at Allenby Primary School in Southall, Ealing last week and our surveyor and air camera operator Roger Nock was on hand to inspire the children. The Minister of State at the Department for Transport, John Hayes CBE MP was at the Primary Futures event along with volunteers from the world of engineering, aiming to showcase the vast range of exciting roles within the sector.
Opening tomorrow, during National Parks Week 2017, is The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland National Park. Our surveyor Richard Bennett was on site recently to ensure the building was added to the map.
The Sill is the result of a partnership between the National Park and YHA England and Wales, including space for exhibitions, a café, a Youth Hostel, a rural business hub, and a shop specialising in local crafts and produce.
Richard was on hand to measure every aspect of the site and add the featured to 550 million in our geospatial database. His GNSS receiver locks on to several satellites and a series of ground stations (that’s right, no trig pillars required!) and the calculations are accurate to within a few centimetres.
Are you a teacher? Or a governor? Or have children at school? Then you need to know that the popular Digimap for Schools service has been updated to include over five million photos of Great Britain.
The fantastic online service already brings geography to life, with OS maps past and present, aerial photography and more. The new photos are supplied by Geograph and are set to enhance the classroom experience of discovering and exploring the country.
A stunning development of new beach huts on the south coast has been added to our geospatial database ahead of the summer season.
The development, in Milford on Sea, replaces the old beach huts which were damaged and destroyed during a fierce storm on 14 February 2014. With building work on 119 beach huts and the surrounding area reaching a conclusion, it provided the ideal opportunity for our surveyor Joanne Lanham to officially capture and map the changes on the site.
Using a wide range of techniques, our talented Craft Club have created a fantastic Great British Craftography Map, and we’re putting it up for auction to raise money for Solent Mind, our corporate charity. The crafty individuals recreated the Ordnance Survey National Grid into a 2.2m by 1.2m wall hanging. And you can now bid for the unique, mappy piece of art in an online charity auction.
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.