Last week we celebrated our 225th anniversary and shared with you two new maps created by our Cartographic Design team. Chris and Charley took inspiration from map styles in our history and used current OS data to recreate the look and feel. Chris chose early 19th century OS maps and decided to recreate the urban environment of London. We catch up with him to find out how he went about the challenge.
Tell us about the map era that you chose
Did you know we’re 225 years old today? On 21 June 1791, the Board of Ordnance purchased a Ramsden theodolite, now seen as the foundation of OS, to survey Britain and protect from a French invasion. Ten years later we published the first OS map of Kent and have continued to map the country and provide data for Great Britain (and beyond – did you see the Mars map?) ever since. What better way to celebrate than with two new maps, created in a historic style?
Most of us are reliant on a GPS in our day to day life – whether it’s following the reassuring voice directing us around a traffic jam or grabbing our phone for a quick check that we’re walking in the right direction in a new city. Many now rely solely on GPS for navigating in the hills too. But what happens when GPS fails? It’s something that walkers near Benbecula are likely to experience next month…
Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system owned by the US government. GPS was originally intended for military use, but in the 1980s the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS will work in most weather (although space weather can impact – see our previous blog on solar flares), across the world, 24/7. Something that we all benefit from today.
However, the military can (and do) jam GPS signals for their own priorities, such as military exercises. The communications watchdog Ofcom issued a warning recently about GPS jamming due to take place for periods between 1 and 29 July while aircraft crews train over a military range on Benbecula. In these circumstances, would you be able to navigate?
Some of you will know that we’ve teamed up with EDINA for an exciting competition featuring Digimap for Schools and our #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall. Combining geography, wildlife and photography, it’s a fantastic opportunity for primary school children. Steve tells us more about the competition and about some great British wildlife you could be spotting.
Here is a great chance for you and your school to get involved with Ordnance Survey. We want to encourage children all over Britain to get outside looking for wildlife. You can enter the competition to win a visit from me to your school. All you need to do is start investigating your local wildlife and photograph what you find. Upload what you spot onto a map and send it to us. I’m really excited to see the entries and to meet the winning school. I’ll be able to talk to you all about the wildlife you’ve found and answer any questions you have.
The recent Geovation Water Challenge was sponsored by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Environment Agency, Southern Water and United Utilities; organisations who were all keen to be involved in facilitating innovative ways to solve some of the problems associated with better management of water in Britain in a sustainable way. We asked Nick Haigh, Lead Analyst, Water & Flood Risk Management, at Defra, who was also a member of the Geovation judging panel, why Defra chose to get involved and how they plan to continue to support these innovations as they develop.
Why did Defra get involved in the Geovation Water Challenge?
Geovation’s water challenge fitted perfectly with Defra and Environment Agency’s drive to open up our data as a way of facilitating new approaches to meet key policy challenges. The themes of the challenge resonated closely with our own view of the key issues in water management: too little water; too much water; poor water quality; ageing infrastructure, and how to encourage sustainable water behaviour.
A huge thank you to all of you who entered The Times competition to design a landing symbol for our Mars map. Paul Marsh won the competition and his design will feature on all future Mars maps we make.
The Times received hundreds of entries, with primary school children, designers, and even Olympic gold-medal winning athletes vying for the top prize. Paul’s design combined the astronomical symbol for Mars with the footprint of a landing craft, can be seen below and on our online map.
Northumberland National Park are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and volunteer David Wilson is walking the entire length of the National Park, non-stop, later this week to celebrate. On Friday, David will be showcasing the varied landscape of Northumberland National Park throughout his 28-hour trek, following a route created with OS data and being tracked on an OS map embedded on the Park’s website.
David will be setting off from the north of the Park at 7am on Friday 27 May and is hoping to arrive at the Walltown site at the southern-most tip of the Park at 10am on 28 May on his non-stop trek. The final route was created with the help of National Park GIS Officer Ed Hudspeth, using the OS data he has access to. Covering almost 70 miles the route covers stunning areas of the Park, including Yeavering Bell, Newton Tors, Cheviot and Hadrian’s Wall. It also covers the practical areas and takes in places that allow David access to food, water and other supplies.
If our blog series on map reading skills whetted your appetite, why not sign up for a map reading workshop this summer? We’ve teamed up with Cotswold Outdoor and they’re hosting 15 sessions at stores across Britain.
The workshops are free to attend and are delivered by Ordnance Survey experts, one of our talented field team will present at each session. The workshops are aimed at beginners and we want you to leave with the confidence to enjoy exploring the outdoors with a map and compass.
Psst…did you know you could access OS Maps for free with our seven-day trial? We’re celebrating the full release of our multi-platform map service by giving you the chance to try it out and access maps for the whole of Great Britain.
If you haven’t heard of it before, OS Maps gives casual walkers, ramblers, runners, cyclists, mountaineers and other outdoor adventurers a way to plan and discover Britain. The free app includes our standard and aerial mapping to plot routes on, but with an annual subscription you can unlock a range of extra features – and try them for free for seven days in our trial.