We’ve just launched the new augmented reality (AR) layer in our OS Maps app which uses your phone’s camera view to display over 200,000 locations across Great Britain. You can identify hills, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and woodland around you and on the horizon. It’s the first time we’ve made AR widely available, but not the first time we’ve used AR. Our Computer Scientist, Layla Gordon, leads the team that experiments with geospatial data and new technologies to create proof of concepts that are shared with partners. Find out about Layla’s work on OS Maps, and the AR projects that came before it.
It’s fantastic to see the OS Maps app AR layer released and being used. You simply point the camera of your Android or iOS device at the landscape and, using GPS and the compass, accurate points of interest that sit in that view will be highlighted.
Taking a look behind the scenes, I created it using Apple iOS Core Location and Core Motion framework. The app accesses the readings from Gyroscope and Accelorometer, to give the accuracy we need. It calls on the OS Placenames API to retrieve the OS populated places, which delivers points of interest within a set radius based on position and orientation. We’ve then set rules within the app to identify which points of interest to prioritise – as the screen could get cluttered with too many points.
If you haven’t tried it yet, take a look at https://www.os.uk/getoutside/AR. But while this is the first AR experience I’ve created which made it to public release, I’ve been working on AR projects for a couple of years.
Are you interested in how we can make our communities and cities more future-proof? Would you like to develop an idea using smart technologies with the potential to build this into a sustainable business?
Our next Geovation Challenge is looking for innovative solutions that will help make our communities greener, smarter and sustainable. Entrants will be in with a chance of winning an all-expenses paid place at our 3-day Geovation Camp and Conference in London in February 2018.
To help you understand the problems and give you a head start in entering the competition, we’re holding workshops around Britain – workshops that could change your life and help save the planet!
The Queensferry Crossing opens to traffic today and joins the Forth Road Bridge and Forth Bridge in spanning the Firth of Forth. Our surveyors Derek Smith and Guy Rodger visited the site last week to add some final details, along with Alastair Dalton from The Scotsman newspaper.
OS MasterMap showing the three bridges
Did you know that OS Maps subscribers added over 400,000 routes to the service over the last 12 months? We’ve analysed the (almost) 400,000 public routes and found that Snowdon bags the top spot for most routes created.
We broke the country down into square kilometres and counted the number of routes passing through each square, and while Snowdon topped this list, the Edale area of the Peak District grabbed 6 of the top 10 spots, with the Lake District taking the remaining places.
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.