Guest blog by Niraj Saraf, Urban Innovation Lead, Innovate UK
Innovate UK’s mission is to help the UK economy grow by inspiring and supporting pioneering UK businesses to create the industries of the future. We do this through funding risky innovation projects and through connecting innovators to opportunities and resources, and my role within the organisation is very much about helping businesses develop new solutions to the complex challenges facing cities.
Like Ordnance Survey and Geovation, we recognise that good ideas and data to help cities overcome their challenges do not exist solely in one organisation, but in many different places. This is why we are very pleased to be collaborating with Geovation to seek ideas that can help give us smarter, greener communities.
We’ve been working with Glasgow City Council (GCC) since 2013, supporting their journey to become a world-leading smart city following funding through Innovate UK. Throughout, we’ve been demonstrating the power of location data in the technologies and decision-making needed to create a smart city. Our data, provided through the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) has played an integral role in delivering services to both citizens and business, including during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
To build a truly smart city, Glasgow needed to maximise the value of data and make it widely available. GCC identified over 1,000 datasets which it wanted to release to support innovators, SMEs and partners delivering smart solutions. Working together with GCC to make this happen not only supported Glasgow’s smart city ambitions, but also shaped how OS data has become more usable, more open and more accessible. The early work with GCC has also enabled greater data sharing to support smart city development across Great Britain.
Following on from the recent ‘Sue x’ field carving mystery, we spotted letters almost as long as the Anfield pitch spelling ‘LFC’ spotted on Shropshire hillside – but who has done it?
Our Flying Unit captures aerial imagery of over 50,000 square kilometres of the country each season. From the Isles of Scilly to Shetland, the team will capture over 140,000 aerial images each year, using the 196-megapixel cameras on-board the planes. And sometimes their pictures reveal something strange on the landscape…
Such as earlier this week, when flying over Shropshire, Andrew Tyrrell, a Remote Sensing Surveyor and Air Camera Operator, noticed ‘LFC’ carved into the scrub on the north side of Titterstone Clee Hill (SO588787), and took a picture. Intrigued by who or why someone would do such a thing and the effort required in such a remote location, he sent the image back to head office for analysis.
By Iain Goodwin, OS Relationship Manager across all government sectors
At a time when there’s an appetite for making better use of data to improve services, I’ve been thinking…
If we recognise the value of the output (a map as an evidence base to underpin decision making), what can be done to improve the input (the data)?
The answer, I believe, is unique geographic keys.
Data visualisation is absolutely crucial in helping public sector organisations work smarter and underpinning policy making. It helps to make sense of population characteristics, understand the needs of communities, and target resources effectively.
Examples of individual unique keys are scattered across the public sector: Healthcare has the NHS Number. HMRC has the National Insurance Number. The DVLA links us to our vehicle registrations with a Unique Driver Licence Number. But these organisations are concerned with their own characteristics. So, how can departments ensure these unique keys describe the same people?
The answer is to link them to the unique geographic keys that describe places. And in most cases, this will be property. Unlike unique keys for citizens, there is one version of the truth for property – the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).
Sunny day? Head to the coast to enjoy the British beaches. Need to de-stress? Head to the coast and have a walk, listen to the waves crashing and smelling the sea air. Picturing your perfect holiday home? Chances are it’s on the coast. It’s safe to say that most Britons are fans of the coast and there’s a good chance that you’re aware of coastal change to some degree. Whether it’s investment in coastal defences, cliff falls or erosion impacting landowners, coastal change often hits the news.
Great Britain has tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline, which is a key resource and home to communities, businesses and infrastructure – as well as being a great place to holiday. Looking at Scotland, around 20% of the population live within 1km of the coast, that’s around 1 million people. Yet 19% of the coast is erodible or ‘soft’.
What does that mean for the coast? According to Dynamic Coast it means that thousands of assets are at risk. Within just 50m of the Scottish coast lie 34,000 buildings, of which 72% are residential properties. You also have 1,300km of roads, 100km of rail networks and 600 natural heritage sites.
By Richard Martin, GIS Analyst at the National Trust
As keen followers of the OS blog, we found the ‘trodden paths’ post in August of particular interest. The National Trust (NT) is a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. We were therefore interested in discovering how much NT land currently occupies the most popular OS 1km map tiles that contain the largest number of public routes going through them. We were delighted to find that within the OS top 20 tiles (2,000ha) the NT looks after 924ha (46%), showing a very strong correlation with the places that OS Maps subscribers most like to walk.
Are these some of Britain’s most scariest streets and gruesome roads, ask the batty guys and ghouls of Ordnance Survey this Halloween?
The picturesque Lancashire village of Appley Bridge sits in the Douglas Valley near the Leeds and Liverpool canal. To find the village you need to come off the M6 at junction 27 and go a few miles west before heading south when you reach the B5375. What makes this village extra special when Halloween rolls around is that despite being relatively small, it is home to a number of street names that lend themselves fabulously well to Halloween: Back Skull House Lane, Skull House Mews and Skull House Lane.
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