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?
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
What is a trig pillar?
As the original closing date was close to half-term for many schools, we’ve now extended to 30 June.
We’ve teamed up with EDINA for an exciting competition featuring Digimap for Schools and our #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall. Combining geography, wildlife and photography, it’s a fantastic opportunity for primary school children.
The #wildlifemap competition
We’re still best known for our iconic paper maps, but in actual fact, over 90% of our business comes from digital data. Data that supports Britain’s economy and is used by government and business across the country and beyond. To collect, produce and deliver this digital data, we’ve built a talented team of people, from the more traditional OS roles of surveyors collecting location information and cartographers who produce our maps; to software engineers, designers, product managers, user experience architects, data managers and more. We were thrilled to see one of our teams recognised recently in the Real IT Awards Operational Efficiency Category Shortlist. We caught up with Keith Watson, Agile Delivery Manager, to find out more.
— Matthew Skelton (@matthewpskelton) 11 February 2016
It’s close to 170 years since OS officially confirmed Ben Nevis as Britain’s highest mountain. It’s nearly 70 years since we carried out the last full survey back in 1949. Now we know in 2016 that the surveyors of a bygone age were just centimetres out in their calculations – testament to their extraordinary efforts and application.
In 1949 theodolites and other antiquities of surveying were the best friends of those mapping every nook and cranny of the British landscape. Now highly refined measuring devices, linked to an intricate network of land stations and a sky-full of satellites (yes up to 15 Russian, American and European ones) have been used to re-check the height of the mountain taking three surveyors just two hours to gather what it took an expeditionary force of surveyors 20 days to complete.
Following on from the release of our Mars map last week, we got to thinking about the sounds we’d like to hear if we went for a ramble around mars…For some it’s just the natural outdoor sounds. For others, tranquillity when outside is found through ear-shredding beats piped through their headphones for them and them alone to enjoy.
So, with this in mind, we have plotted a playlist to go with our Mars map. A soundtrack for the first intrepid explorers of the Martian landscape.
Obvious, we know, but surely the first thing a person should hear when they first set foot on Mars is Life on Mars by the recently departed David Bowie. It’s the perfect opening track to begin a ramble round the red planet. In truth, we probably could have just chosen Bowie tunes for this…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v–IqqusnNQ
The planet Mars has become the latest subject in our long line of iconic OS paper maps. The one-off Ordnance Survey Mars map, created using NASA open data and made to a 1:4,000,000 scale, is made to see if our style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions.
Our Cartographic Designer, Chris Wesson, designed the map over a couple of months. You can see his favourite section of the map below, and we’ve caught up with Chris to find out about the unusual challenges of mapping the red planet the OS way.
We were thrilled to see our very own Charley Glynn feature in xyHT‘s list of geo-professionals under 40 to watch out for this month. We’ve caught up with Charley to find out what he makes of it too.
How do you feel about being chosen by xyHt as one of the geo-professionals under 40 years of age to watch?
I was extremely honoured to have been nominated so to be chosen for the final 40 is fantastic! When I look at the other 39 people and what they have achieved in their careers I am very proud to be named amongst them. I feel like I am on the list representing Ordnance Survey and Maptime but also representing cartography – there are lots of great cartographers at the moment doing incredible work.