As expert map readers will know, when you’re out and about navigating with a compass, there is a difference between magnetic north (where the compass points) and grid north (the vertical blue grid lines shown on OS maps). And if you’re exploring in the west of Great Britain, there is a change to be aware of…
The difference between magnetic north and grid north is often referred to as grid magnetic angle and it not only varies from place to place, but changes with time too, and needs to be taken into account when navigating with a map and compass.
In 2014 there was a significant event in the changing direction of magnetic north relative to grid north on OS maps. For the first time in Great Britain since the 1660s, magnetic north moved from being to the west of grid north to the east. The change started in the very south west corner of Britain, currently affects the areas to the west of the line on our map, and will slowly progress across the whole country over the next 12 to 13 years.
By Andrew Cooling, Strategic Development Manager (Government Relationships Team)
There’s a growing body of research showing a connection between greenspaces and human health and wellbeing.
So much so, areas of green – including parks, public gardens and open spaces – are now a key consideration in the design and structure of towns, cities and communities.
Research into this field comes from all sectors, including social, medical, transport, recreation, housing and planning.
One independent study by land management charity The Land Trust looked at the value of greenspaces and their impact on society. The Value of Greenspaces report reveals that they play a positive part in 90% of people’s wellbeing. Those living near these spaces felt more encouraged to stay fit and healthy, and believed that green areas helped make their communities more desirable (leading to economic uplift).
Greenspaces also improve air quality, reduce the likelihood of flooding, mitigate climate change and are havens for wildlife.
‘Green space should be accessible to as many people as possible. People are more likely to visit green space if they do not have to travel far to reach it, and the most frequent visitors report the greatest benefits to their mental wellbeing.’
There are economic benefits, too. According to the Office for National Statistics’ Natural Capital Accounts, the value associated with living near a green space is estimated to be just over £130 billion in the UK.
With this in mind, further research has been happening in the geospatial arena. What kind of greenspace? Where exactly is it? And how accessible? More insight is being applied to greenspaces to make them more ‘quantifiable’.
By Iain Goodwin and Kat Harrington
During the last year, OS has been working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to improve our joint understanding of high streets. Since the Government’s £675 million Future High Streets Fund budget announcement, our collaborative government project has become increasingly more significant.
The importance of high streets has also been acknowledged by Public Health England through their Healthy High Streets research, published at the beginning of 2018, highlights how a healthy high street provides “Accessible, safe, communal spaces foster social interaction and strong local economies and can be used to create healthier, safer and more cohesive local communities”. It also drew the conclusion that the “unequal distribution of healthy and unhealthy high streets is likely to contribute to health inequalities”.
This is a view echoed by retailer, Sir John Timpson, who speaking last December to the BBC about high streets said: “It’s not just about shopping. It’s about communities and creating a hub for entertainment, medical facilities, housing.”
So how can OS help?
We asked ourselves some questions. Where does a high street start and end? What is their geography, and how do they compare? High streets up and down the country have no obvious physical boundaries, and not knowing the exact geography of our high streets makes it difficult to identify and analyse them.
Do you want to know more about OS data, how to make then most of it and partnering with OS? Why not come along to our technical showcase to find out more and meet our Inside Sales team.
Inside Sales work closely with the majority of OS’s SME Partner Community. We assist the start-ups and new business ventures. Working closely with the Geovation Hub based in London, we guide Geovation members and entrepreneurs that come to us direct, through the process of becoming an OS Partner.
The team has a range of experience from within OS and from working in the public sector, in sales, customer service and GIS expertise. We offer support from the very beginning of your journey to becoming a Partner, explaining what being an OS Partner entails, how our pricing and licensing works, advice on contracts how to calculate any royalties that may be due, and of course, we can help you with product enquiries.
If you have trialled our data (under the Data Exploration Licence) or you are simply ready to go to market using our data or our APIs with a commercial product, our team will take the time to really understand what it is that you are looking to achieve and walk you through the contracts and licensing journey.
Please come along to the technical showcase to have a chance of meeting the team and letting them help you to explore how to use GIS data to meet your business need. If you are unable to attend please speak to our team, you can call us on 023 80 055991 or email: email@example.com.
Here at OS Labs, we’re presenting project work most days – by slide deck, report or a quick chat. But sometimes it needs to attract attention and create a buzz… like our virtual museum for CityVerve. We created a 3D interactive exhibition to mark the conclusion of CityVerve, the Manchester-based UK Internet of Things demonstrator project. Find out more…
We’ve had such a great response to the trial and received a huge amount of feedback from the users, that we’re going to invest in making OS Open Zoomstack a supported product.
For both the downloads and the API we’ll be developing Alpha versions and continue to make changes based on your feedback. We’ll be doing an alpha release shortly for the various downloads. We’ll also continue supporting the API, and will update this with the new data from the Alpha while we plan the release of a fully supported version in the future. Please note that this may involve changes in the API URL at a minimum.
At this point we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped us to make this exciting step!
As autonomous vehicles develop around the world, we’re seeing a greater need for accurate data, both in live and static forms.
Live data enables dynamic routing, but it can be hard to pass the data from device to device quickly enough. A 5G network could help this issue, but it may take years to become a reality.
Static data is equally important as you need to have accurate base data which shows the difference between a road and a pavement, where a vehicle is allowed to drive, and any routing restrictions or speed limits. OS & GeoPlace have been working on this via the OS MasterMap Highways Network product, with Department for Transport investing £3 million pounds in its creation.
Inspired by the Mapbox blog – Tim Manners in our OS Labs team built this awesome demo application to showcase the dynamic hillshade. The demo includes a widget which enables you to change the light source directly on the client and see the map change in real-time. Tim used our OS Terrain 50 DTM grid dataset to generate a series of Terrain-RGB tiles. These tiles contain elevation data encoded in raster PNG tiles as colour values that can be decoded to raw heights in metres and rendered on the client-side for customisable terrain visualisations. Take a look below for how it appears when combined this with the OS Open Zoomstack Vector Tile API:
Want to make your own?
Elsa joined our Data Office in Southampton for work experience recently and shares her experience within the team.
I’m in year 12 studying Geography, Maths, Further Maths and English A-Levels in Devon. Once in the Data Office team I had the chance to work on my own project, which was on the archaeological sites of Dartmoor. This was ideal as I became interested in OS mapping from walking on the moors training for the Ten Tors challenge.
As England’s football team aim to avoid dead ends and cul-de-sacs at the Russia World Cup – we’ve revealed the most popular street names shared by the players.
Residents across Great Britain live in 2,280 streets which share the same name as players’ surnames from England’s World Cup squad – with Danny Rose’s surname topping the table.
Whether it be Walker Lane in Rotherham, Kane Close in Coalville, or Southgate Avenue in Crawley, fans up and down the nation have added pride when cheering on the team (except maybe the good people of Welbeck Street in Kilmarnock!).