Keeping the family entertained during summer holidays can be a challenge, particularly if the British weather hits a damp spell. We’ve got five great activities, both indoor and outdoor, that will appeal to budding geographers and explorers. And a fantastic competition to win some books to help you with the entertainment…
Download our Minecraft map of Great Britain
Minecraft, the Swedish computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, remains hugely popular with users of all ages. If you or your family are Minecraft devotees, why not try our geographically-accurate Minecraft map of Britain?
If you tuned in to BBC’s Countryfile on Sunday, you’ll have seen Roger Nock from our Flying Unit talking to Adam Henson at his Cotswold farm. We were talking about how the aerial imagery we fly in our planes has been used to map hedgerows for the Rural Payments Agency, and help work out subsidies for farmers. We showed an example of how 3D data can be captured and displayed over Adam’s farm.
After the programme, we received a tweet asking where the LiDAR camera was in our plane. The answer is simply that we don’t fly LiDAR (3D laser scanning of the ground) and our planes are surveying aerial imagery (taking a photo with a high-resolution camera on-board the plane). We are treating this imagery in a similar way to how others would work with LiDAR data though.
3D mesh of Adam’s farm, with attributes attached to the data
So, what were you seeing on Countryfile?
Have you ever had an idea so perfect that you know it could improve the lives of many people, only to be left feeling frustrated by not knowing the right person to tell?
If this is you, then you may be interested in a unique opportunity to help shape the smart city of the future.
CityVerve is the UK’s Internet of Things demonstrator, a project set in Manchester that is investigating how to create a connected city using technology to meet the complex needs of people. The aim is for CityVerve to be a blueprint for smart cities worldwide.
At last, serving huge quantities of 3D geospatial data into interactive user applications is getting easier and more accessible. Support for ‘3D streaming’ is gaining a foothold within popular geospatial applications, paving the way for data providers to present their own 3D data assets in ways that users will find natural and accessible. For us at OS, this is a development that we’re very excited about, as we believe it will be a powerful tool in helping to unlock the potential of geospatial 3D data.
For many people, Google Earth (launched in 2005) was their first experience of navigating a ‘digital globe’ – a tool that is typically supported by ‘streaming’ technology. Overwhelming volumes of geospatial information were clearly available, yet how had it got there? Although Google Earth was then only available as a downloadable app, it was clear that the data was being sourced quite independently. For many of us, this served as our introduction to ‘3D streaming’ – the ability to selectively deliver content, based upon real-time navigation, within a 3D scene.
Our Geovation team has four new GeoTech start-ups with new technologies and new thinking joining them on their corporate accelerator, the Geovation Programme. Since opening their doors less than two years ago, Geovation has welcomed some of the UK’s leading geospatial start-ups onto the Programme. They’ve helped businesses as varied as app makers improving the public’s fitness and access to sports facilities, to big-data platforms revolutionising drone risk and insurance.
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.
Guest blog by OS-sponsored PhD student Katherine Stansfeld at University of London
Superdiversity is a concept which recognises that cities are becoming ever more diverse, complex and unpredictable. But how can OS respond to the ever-shifting multicultural city?
Through my PhD research, based around Finsbury Park, a neighbourhood in north-east London, I’ve discovered the power and potential of mapping to explore and investigate the meanings of places in diverse contexts. Using interviewing, visual ethnography and participatory mapping, the research explores vernacular geographies; the everyday ways places are talked about, lived and experienced. This allows an investigation of how lives and trajectories overlap in the area, finding what is shared and what is different. The research conceptualizes place as radically open, shifting and multiple and employs mapping as a tool to explore the connections and plurality in the superdiverse city.
Update: DVD released on 24 July 2017. We have one copy of the DVD to give away. Just retweet this message by 12 noon on Friday 28 July: https://twitter.com/OrdnanceSurvey/status/889486114536476674
March 24 sees the UK film release of Lost City of Z. It chronicles the South American adventures of British explorer, cartographer and archaeologist Lt Colonel Percy Fawcett. I joined a panel discussion in London last week, along with historian Dan Snow and Lost City of Z author David Grann, discussing how Percy would have explored and mapped a new land. Catch up on the podcast here.
A member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), Percy Fawcett first arrived in South American in 1906 to survey and map an area of jungle lying on the Brazil and Bolivian border. The border between the two countries was not fully mapped and it was agreed that an RGS survey and map would be accepted as an impartial representation of the border. Today we would complete this activity using satellite systems and sophisticated surveying technology, which obviously wasn’t available back then. So, how would Percy and his team have gone about making maps?
Guest blog by Andy Ryan, Senior Technical Product Manager
When I go somewhere new, I usually look up a map (OS of course) before I go. I’m not quite sure why I do, but it’s a habit of mine which my children tease me about. In the world of business, when location is involved then you probably do the same, often without realising it. Using a sat nav to route a delivery van, ascertaining if a house you want to buy is on a flood plain, reviewing a site for a new development, or planning some underground pipe replacement all involve ‘maps’. But what if the map was blank or only partially complete, or you had to ask lots of other different people to send you bits of information that you had to stick together and even then you were not quite sure if it was complete?
When you need to work under the ground this is how it can feel. Lots of organisations have information, but it can be hard to share the information quickly and to common standards. This creates delays, unanticipated disruptions, extra costs and danger to those working in these areas. This is a widely recognised problem and the direct costs to the UK of accidental damage to utilities alone has been estimated at £150 million, with associated indirect costs, such as traffic disruption, of ten times this*. If other potential costs or savings are factored in, for example assessing the potential of brownfield sites, identifying infrastructure at risk from subsidence or tree roots, then the benefits of a map that includes what lies below ground increases significantly. The Treasury estimate that greater cross-sector collaboration with infrastructure networks across GB could save the economy £3 billion#.
It’s not every day that we add a whale to our maps, but surveyor Shaun McGrath did recently…
I first became aware of the Colonsay Whale some time after a visit to the Isle of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides last year, on a particularly fine day trip to carry out some survey work. It’s a long day as the ferry sets off around 9.30 am from Islay where I was working on detached duty and returns around 7.30 pm. I had plenty of time to get the survey work done and it left me a little spare time to explore the island’s fine sandy beaches before the return ferry. I visited Kiloran Bay in the north, as recommended by the occupants of a house I had surveyed earlier that day. They also said that there was an even finer beach further north, but it was only accessible by foot and would have added a couple of hours to my trip – and made me miss the ferry.