Public sector


Ducklington Parish connects services to residents using OS OpenSpace maps

Ducklington Parish Council connects its residents to a wealth of local information using OS OpenSpace.

Ducklington Parish Council had always struggled to explain to its residents the facilities which were available to them around the local area. By using OS OpenSpace residents now have access to a wealth of local information which includes planning applications, points of interest and local footpaths.

Communicating important events and road closures is now familiar and easily accessible because Ordnance Survey maps can be integrated within the parish’s news posts throughout their website.

Using Web-Map Builder, a free and simple to use tool allowing anyone with little or no web development skills to create custom maps, Ducklington have been able to show conservation areas, local footpaths and parish boundaries.

 Everyone is familiar with the OS maps. The site looks really good as a result, live and interactive – not bad for a small Parish Council. – Peter Almgill

The council have also used OS OpenSpace to provide a detailed overview of local services and updates to buildings throughout the parish. The planning applications map, which showcases local applications across the parish, is keeping residents informed of changes to local homes and public buildings.

Read More


Fire and water in Scotland

As a content editor based in Southampton, it’s easy to miss what’s going on in Scotland, home of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (or OSMA.) Having recently updated the web pages for the OSMA team, I thought a round-up of news from north of the border was now due.

We recently released a new product that has some relevance to the recent ‘rainy season’ experienced in 2012. According to this Met Office article, as you may have suspected, 2012 was one of the wettest years on record, so the launch of the new OS MasterMap® Networks – Water Layer alpha release seems like an appropriate choice for understanding our changing environment in greater detail.

The thinking behind this new product came from the Scottish Detailed River Network (SDRN) project: a collaboration between Scottish Government, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water, local government in Scotland, and Ordnance Survey, tasked with delivering a highly detailed river network dataset in support of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

An alpha version of OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer dataset (covering Scotland), was released by Ordnance Survey in December 2012 and is exclusive to public sector organisations in Scotland who are members of the OSMA.

What is the OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer?

The new layer in OS MasterMap is designed for public sector organisations who are working on the challenges that our current climate brings to many communities. So, if you are a local authority looking at flood defence planning or you work for a central government organisation looking at disaster planning, this could be a product that will add real value to your digital geographic resources.

The water layer can help you plan work efficiently by providing details on rivers, watercourses, width and direction of flow, without you having to leave the office or get wet. This could be used to map your organisations assets, plan any construction, or review flood-prone areas against a digital backdrop of highly accurate geographic information.

3D fire incident maps

In contrast to the activity around water, fire services in Scotland are also benefitting from using digital map products provided through the OSMA.

Centralisation and using digital tools to improve efficiency is an ever present in many areas of the public sector. From 1 April 2013 there has been a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), and a strategic team has been appointed by Alasdair Hay, the Chief Fire Officer for the new service. Going forward, the SFRS will consist of three hubs, for East, West and North Scotland, taking a centralised approach to providing this particular emergency service.

The existing eight Fire and Rescue services in Scotland are all members of the OSMA and many have already used the products available to them through OSMA, helping them to improve the services they deliver through the use of geographic information in a digital format.

One notable example of this is from the former Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service (now a part of the SFRS) who have made use of digital maps, addressing and building height data to support their incident response plans.

OS MasterMap Topography layer provides the basis for building a quite sophisticated incident map, Details on the structural environment provides the intelligence needed for those who will be deployed to the location on the ground. OS MasterMap Topography layer provides an easy, time-saving way to create the detailed 3-D models that clarifies and helps with the management of any significant risks.

OS MasterMap Topography layer includes more than 400 million individual features, including railways and individual buildings, providing a detailed view of the urban landscape which is ideal for this work.

The image (above) gives an idea of how this information can be viewed in a 3D format, making the most of geographic and location information, to provide detailed insight and intelligence to the control room.

Scotland is clearly a place to watch in terms of the innovative use of map data in the public sector. I hope to be bringing you more examples of using geographic information to drive improvements in the public sector from this part of the world very soon.


News and recycling on the city streets

Are your communications channels robust? Are they reliable? What about bomb-proof? When the City of London needed to create a network of tough, resilient communications pods that would continue to function in the aftermath of a civil emergency, they needed Ordnance Survey data to help them optimise the locations.

How can a pod help me?

LED screens on the side of the pods deliver the latest shifts in the financial markets and other relevant news, helping to keep city traders informed. Workers in the city also need to know about movements below ground, so any delays or problems with the tube network are also published on the screens.

The pods are not just about communications – each one also helps to keep the city clean. The pods are designed with a recycling opening, allowing half a tonne of newspaper waste to be recycled each year.

How did this happen?

To deliver this complex and robust solution, Renew (a City of London partner) made use of Ordnance Survey’s partner emapsite to build a web based portal that could handle the requirements for the detailed geographic data needed in the design and planning process.  

Read More


We’ve launched OS MasterMap Sites Layer





We are excited to launch the latest product in the OS MasterMap family, Sites Layer.

OS MasterMap Sites Layer is a nationally maintained dataset that maps the detailed extent of important locations such as airports, schools, hospitals, ports, utility and infrastructure sites and more. The points of access into these sites from the nearest road network are also provided.

This initial release of OS MasterMap Sites Layer focuses on sites in the following themes: Air Transport (such as airports, heliports and airfields), Education (such as schools and university campuses), Medical Care (such as medical care centres, hospices and hospitals), Rail Transport (such as railway station, tram station, vehicular rail terminal), Road Transport (such as coach station, bus station, road user services), Water Transport (such as ports, vehicular and passenger ferry terminals), Utility and Industrial (such as oil terminal, chemical works, oil and gas distribution or storage).

Read More


Wales – a big country needs big thinking

Wales is big. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Not just in size (it’s estimated at 21 588 kilometres, 8 335 square miles or around 2073511 hectares) but as a comparison, if something is as big as Wales, it’s considered quite significant by the media. Deserts, forests, and asteroids are all measured using Wales as a geographical reference point by scientists and news teams.

So – big countries like Wales with many living in remote locations and near undulating countryside can be challenging to run. To manage things efficiently, public sector bodies need to work together, linking data, systems and organisations to maintain efficiency.

Here are some great examples of how this has been happening recently thanks to some innovative use of digital geographic information and map products in the public sector

Newport council – address data improves the benefits system

A collaborative project between the Welsh Government, Cardiff City Council and Newport Council hopes to generate up to £500,000 in revenue when deployed across the country, by more effective address management relating to council tax collection.

Using AddressBase (available under the public sector mapping agreement or PSMA) and Unique Property Reference Number and Local Land and Property Gazetteer, the councils are able to ensure any changes to the property or occupancy are updated across a range of systems. This improves the accuracy and efficiency of council tax collection and reduces the potential for fraud or non-payment.

Read More


Digital maps help the church manage their minerals

Have you ever seen a Bishop driving a bulldozer or a Curate using a compactor? This seems a strange question until you learn more about the Church of England’s land based assets.

To put you in the picture, the Church Commissioners’ minerals and mining portfolio covers approximately 750,000 acres. (Lancashire is just over 700,0001 acres to give you a sense of perspective). This makes it one of the largest geographic estates in the country. Who knew the Church of England was involved in primary industry such as mineral extraction?

The Church of England itself is no stranger to geography. Parishes and dioceses are geographic in their nature, so maps and boundaries are part of its structure. The land assets which are held and managed by the Church Commissioners for England help generate funds for its support and royalties are received for the extraction of minerals (such as chalk, sand and gravel), so the need for maps to help manage these physical assets is a natural step for an organisation with a wide-spread geographic footprint.

Read More


Predictive policing – a different approach

Travelling quickly to the scene of a crime is a regular activity for the police and thanks to the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), emergency services across the land can equip their control rooms with digital mapping products from Ordnance Survey. Using products like OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network Layer helps them find the best route (not always the shortest) to a particular location. 

Responding in this way to an emergency is a very important task and many other public services share this responsibility and make use of Ordnance Survey digital mapping products made available through the PSMA. 

However, the next step in dealing with crime could be to move from a reactive approach, where speed of response matters to a pro-active position where ‘predictive policing‘ is used to match resources to expected requirements for a geographic area. This is new territory for public services and requires some quite different thinking. 

Operation Swordfish, launched in the West Midlands, took exactly this approach. Crime statistics are used to help with the planning process – a large proportion of the burglaries in Birmingham in 2011 were a repeat or ‘near repeats’; victims of crime within the heightened risk radius of a recent crime. 

To turn this concept into an efficiently delivered programme, a depth of expertise on analysing and predicting criminal activity is also needed. This is where the Jill Dando institute (JDi) add their expertise, making use of the latest detection techniques to support this experiment in running in Birmingham. 

Read More


2500 organisations signed up to the PSMA

Accessing digital maps has never been easier thanks to the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) – a centrally funded licensing agreement between Government and Ordnance Survey which allows geographic data to be widely available, free at the point of use and shared between all public sector organisations across England and Wales.

A record 2,500 public sector organisations have now registered for the PSMA, including around 100 hospital trusts, all 12 ambulance trusts and more than two thirds of NHS authorities. With responsibility for public health due to move across to local authorities in April 2013, the availability of open and shared geographical data through the Public sector community is making a real difference to collaborative working and effective health service planning.

There are many examples from around the country which provide powerful evidence that geographic information not only helps the NHS do more for less but it helps deliver real improvements to local health services.  With new technologies making mapping and reference data easier to use and the public sector agreement allowing information to be shared between all public sector agencies, we hope that more healthcare organisations will start using Ordnance Survey data to underpin their services and create a real momentum for GIS in the NHS.

Read More