Over the past months, the OS Labs team has been busy developing a GIS based educational game experience using the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. The project is one element in a wider project that is exploring how both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to present geospatial data in new and stimulating ways. Read on for a little background on the project…
Virtual reality, as a concept, has existed for many years. The first functional VR headset was built in the sixties, yet long before that, science fiction authors had already been daring to imagine such worlds. The early 90s saw consumer-orientated VR products being developed, marketed and, in some cases, actually released for sale. However, that technology couldn’t meet people’s expectations, leaving many disillusioned. More recent advancements in technology have put it back on the agenda. There is already a broad range of VR kit available for purchase, with more lined up for release in 2018. So, how might this relate to Ordnance Survey? With a sense of ‘place’ being a key component in VR, it seems that there is some common ground to explore.
By Miranda Sharp, Head of Smart Cities Practice at OS
We’re pleased to welcome the National Infrastructure Commission’s report, Data for the public good. As custodian of Britain’s geospatial database, containing over half a billion data points and updated up to 20,000 times a day, we recognise the challenges and opportunities of using information to make more of our infrastructure assets.
In our response to the original consultation, we called for a multi-party group to make infrastructure data accessible, using a framework of data standards for quality and interoperability. We’re pleased to be named in the report as part of the Task Group which will take forward this proposal.
By Nigel Clifford, Ordnance Survey Chief Executive
It was great to see ‘geospatial’ highlighted in the Autumn Budget on Wednesday.
Geospatial data already supports a wide range of economic activity and there is a significant opportunity to generate growth through more effective, co-ordinated use of the vast range of geospatial data captured and managed on behalf of government. In light of this, we look forward to working with the Geospatial Commission to investigate ways to capture the full potential of that growth as it co-ordinates the geospatial agenda for the country.
The Year of Engineering launched at Allenby Primary School in Southall, Ealing last week and our surveyor and air camera operator Roger Nock was on hand to inspire the children. The Minister of State at the Department for Transport, John Hayes CBE MP was at the Primary Futures event along with volunteers from the world of engineering, aiming to showcase the vast range of exciting roles within the sector.
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.