Ordnance Survey in the news


Top 10 mappy blogs for 2017

With less than a fortnight left to go in 2017, we thought we’d take a look back at the year and see which blog stories piqued your interest. Let’s countdown from 10-1 on the top mappy and geo-based blogs:

  1. Taking White Hart Lane off the map

We usually share stories about our teams adding new features to the map, but we also have to remove features from our database. London-based surveyor Tony Killilea was tasked with removing a football stadium from the map back in September…

  1. London National Park City map

A stunning new map was published by Urban Good showing London green spaces, using OS OpenData. The map of the capital shows over 3,000 parks, plus woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, city farms, rivers, canals and all the spaces that contribute to London’s parkland. Find out how to win a copy below.

  1. OS turned 226 years old

On 21 June 1791, the Board of Ordnance purchased a new Ramsden theodolite, and this is seen as the foundation of our organisation. We were to begin a survey of England’s vulnerable southern coasts, worried that the French Revolution might sweep across the English Channel.

  1. Surveying the Colonsay Whale

It’s not every day that we add a whale to our maps, but surveyor Shaun McGrath did this year…

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5 books for OS map fans

Wondering what to get the map-lover in your life this Christmas? Thinking that they have more than enough maps packing their shelves? How about books about maps, loving maps, walking the countryside and more?

We’ve come up with five books that all mention Ordnance Survey and are, to some degree, about OS, maps and/or exploring beautiful Britain. Plus, there’s the chance to win a copy of one of these books below…

To research Map Addict, Mike visited the most boring OS grid square in the land, followed OS founder William Roy’s eighteenth century base line across west London, explored England’s feudal nugget, Rutland, and spent the summer solstice in Milton Keynes, in order to test the theory that it is built to a pagan alignment. What more could you need to know?

Described as ‘not quite a book about walking’, Tom Cox’s excellent new book nevertheless shines with a love of the British countryside, alongside folklore and the odd badger. Research for the book often saw Tom out walking with OS map in hand, whether in Devon, Norfolk, the Peak District or beyond. There’s also a handy reminder about not using out-of-date maps in case of ‘erosion-themed death’. We won’t spoil the book by telling you any more… Read More


Autumn Budget announcement on Geospatial Commission

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.  Read More


OS at the launch of the Year of Engineering with Primary Futures

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.

Roger at Allenby Primary School. Photo copyright Education and Employers

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Putting The Sill on the map

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. Read More


Digimaps for Schools now includes geo-referenced phtos

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.

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New beach huts added to the mapping database for GB

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. Read More


It’s a stitch up! OS has Great Britain all sewn up

Using a wide range of techniques, our talented Craft Club have created a fantastic Great British Craftography Mapand 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.

OS Craft Club with their creation

OS Craft Club with their creation

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MP puts new hospital developments on the map

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.

Alan Whitehead MP and Tony surveying the hospital entrance

Alan Whitehead MP and Tony surveying the hospital entrance

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. Read More


Our top ten mappy stories in 2016

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:

  1. OS Maps go off the planet

mars-map-extractThe 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.

  1. Britain’s most popular grid squares

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.

All of the public OS Maps routes recorded in the Lake District National Park

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