If the onset of Spring, or even the Easter holidays are making you want to #GetOutside more, make sure you brush up on your map reading skills first.
Map reading is an essential skill for any explorer or outdoor enthusiast, but can seem really daunting if you haven’t looked at an OS map since your Geography GCSE. To help you to get the most out of your map, and to explore the British countryside, we teamed up with Steve Backshall for a series of videos. They take you through the basics of map reading step by step to help you feel confident with your map.
Watch the full video playlist on map reading skills here:
More map reading advice
We launched the Geovation water challenge last December with support from Southern Water, United Utilities, the Environment Agency and Defra, asking developers and start-ups for sustainable ideas that improve how Britain manages its water use.
The Challenge attracted over 50 great ideas, from which 10 finalists were invited to pitch their ideas to secure support and funding through the Geovation Programme.
Hear from the Geovation water challenge winners
Refillable Cities: Natalie Fee, Olivia Drake, Thomas Bell and Gus Hoyt aim to reduce dependency on plastic bottled water with a nationwide roll out of an app that pinpoints users to free tap water refill points. The app will capture data and encourage behaviour change through rewards and points that can be exchanged for money off vouchers.
It’s not every day that our surveyors have the chance to climb Ben Nevis with all of their kit and resurvey the mountain. But they did recently and found that Great Britain’s tallest mountain is taller than we thought. Our new paper and digital maps will show the height as 1,345m and not 1,344m.
The latest Ben Nevis map showing the new height of 1345
Last year we launched the Geovation Hub in London. The collaborative workspace is aimed at providing entrepreneurs, developers and innovators unparalleled access to geospatial data and expertise, as well as a place to exchange ideas, innovate and get inspired. The Hub has grown to almost 500 members, the team have their first Geovation Programme well underway (and are recruiting for the second intake) and have run the Geovation water challenge, producing three winning teams to support further.
We’ve also updated our developer licence terms and launched the new look terms as the Data Exploration Licence at the Geovation Hub, as a trial before rolling it out across the OS licence framework. The Data Exploration Licence gives Hub members free access to OS data for 12 months (or 3 months for any OS data products which contain third party data). Members can access all of the data while they’re at the Hub to research and evaluate ideas, build prototypes and identify commercial opportunities for their business ideas.
What expectations do you have for VR in the near future?
2016 is going to see two big consumer releases on desktop in the Rift and the HTC Vive. Google have announced a new generation of Cardboard, and Samsung will likely release an updated GearVR later in the year to take full advantage of the upgraded hardware in their new S7 range phones (due to be released later this month).
We’ve had lots of interest from those of you wanting to enter The Times Mars map symbol competition to design a map symbol for our new Mars map. Chris Wesson, our cartographer who created the Mars map, advises on how to create the perfect map symbol.
As Steve Backshall said in a previous post, ‘If you’ve studied or used a paper map before, you’ll be aware of OS map symbols. The symbols help us to understand what appears on the map and gives us a useful guide to what we can expect to see when we’re out and about exploring Britain.’
But map symbols can also depict things you cannot see on the ground such as scientific data or historic sites without remains. Map symbols are commonly used as a method of showing location and in our latest symbol competition we are asking for your ideas to create a symbol to represent the location of landing sites on Mars.
The idea for AccessAdvisr was awarded funding in our 2011 Geovation Challenge to improve transport in Britain. Insight from research conducted by ITP revealed that people with limited mobility often piece together information about the location, quality and reliability of accessible transport networks and destinations from various sources.
AccessAdvisr puts people who experience mobility impairments in charge of managing and maintaining accessibility information for use before and during their journeys. AccessAdvisr is a free website that provides ease-of-access information about places of interest and transport stops/stations. It’s been designed so that content can be updated by a user-community of real people whose ratings, comments and photos share their views and experiences of accessing different places. Having seen the new Ordnance Survey map of Mars, Rob Trent from AccessAdvisr wanted to be the first to write an accessibility review (even though he hasn’t been there yet)…
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Geovation water challenge over the last few months. Whether you submitted an idea, voted, came along to the masterclass, or even spread the Geovation message on your social channels, it’s all appreciated. Following the close of the challenge last month, the judging panel have now selected a short-list of 10 finalists who have been invited to develop their ideas further at Geovation Camp. They’ll be joining us at OS head office in Southampton over the weekend of 4-6 March.
Meet the Geovation finalists
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.
With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend (take this as your warning if you haven’t yet grabbed a card for your other half), we couldn’t resist the opportunity to share the mappy love and remind you of the many romantic names around Britain. We’ve been trawling our databases to find the best examples and were amazed with how many are out there.