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.
When we set a #FreebieFriday competition on Twitter last week to win two of our mappy Rubik’s Cubes, we were overwhelmed with the response as hundreds of people entered. If you haven’t spotted them before, we had the Cubes produced as corporate gifts last year. We had a handful left over and thought we’d share them with all of our map fans out there.
The Rubik’s Cube has been around since 1974, so most of us are familiar with the tricky little puzzle. The record for solving the puzzle currently sits with Lucas Etter of the United States, set in November 2015 with a time of 4.90 seconds. We haven’t been brave enough to try the map Rubik’s Cube yet, as we’re not sure we could cope with the maps in disarray!
With a fortnight left to go in 2015, we thought we’d take a look back at the year and see which blog stories piqued your interest. We’ll countdown from 10-1 on the top mappy and geo-based blogs:
In March we added four new products to our OS OpenData portfolio. OS Open Map – Local, OS Open Names, OS Open Rivers and OS Open Roads have proved popular so far and offer you increased detail and accuracy and the opportunity for analytics. They are fully customisable and can work together or be imported and integrated with your own software and database. In June we also released a simple guide for OS Open Map – Local to help users get the most out of it.
This year marked the 75th anniversary of the Southampton Blitz. We marked the occasion by showcasing our map that shows the bombs dropped on the city of Southampton at the peak of the Blitz on the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, destroying many properties and damaging hundreds more – including our former head office on London Road.
Anyone who reads our blog will know that we’re big fans of the trig pillar, and we love hearing from our followers on Twitter and Facebook when they share their trig pillar photos with us. We thought we knew a fair amount about the humble trig, but we bow to the amazing knowledge of Britain’s top trig-bagger, Rob Woodall. We came across Rob after he made it into the book, Dull Men of Great Britain, celebrating the fascinating people, mundane hobbies and particular passions that inspire the Dull Men’s Club. Today he shares with us his love of the trig and when he’s going to complete his 14-year quest to bag all of Britain’s trig pillars.
Next spring I’m due to bag my last British trig pillar. The OS built some 6,500 of these, excluding on-site replacements, and some 300 have since been lost to housing development, farming, coastal erosion and other causes.