Mention a cartographer and people will think of someone who draws maps. Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? Having spent a few hours talking to various members of our Cartography team though, I’m actually amazed at the breadth of areas they cover. So, if you’ve already read our ‘day in the life of a surveyor’ blogs, read on to find out what happens once that surveyed data gets inside the building.
Our Cartography team, which is really lots of separate teams with different specialisms, is led by Huw, and they are responsible for deriving and maintaining cartographic databases, and providing the finished data for Ordnance Survey national series paper and data products. They do this through the manipulation and enhancement of our core databases. But as well as this ‘core’ work, they work on lots of other projects from specialist maps to innovative work on the effects of colour vision deficiency on mapping.
Sandy leads the Explorer team. Unsurprisingly, they work on the design, editing and updating of databases for our very popular 1:25 000 OS Explorer Map. The team also work on the data for our OS Select bespoke product where customers can centre a map on an area of their choice and on our digital product, 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster.
Over the last few months we’ve looked at spooky place names, we’ve looked at festive place names and we’ve even written about ‘alternative’ place names. But with love in the air at this time of year, it’s about time we revealed Britain’s most romantic place names.
A quick search of our place name gazetteer reveals that the country is blossoming with plenty of places for budding romantics to confess their love on Valentine’s Day.
In recent years we’ve seen geography underpin the response to a range of different national and regional emergencies ranging from flooding and terrorism to pandemic flu – all of which have endangered parts of our critical infrastructure. Whatever the emergency, given the myriad of differing organisations involved, geography is really the only way of quickly visualising information in a consistent and integrated way.
Through the use of GI based emergency planning tools, Bristol City Council has reduced the amount of time it takes to produce analysis and reports of relevant geographic data from 6 hours to just 20 minutes. This huge improvement supports those involved in the response effort, providing rapid access to data on which to base decisions and will essentially speed up response times and help save lives.
In an article from the latest issue of Intelligence magazine for the land and property market, Guy Grainger, Head of Retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, gives his views on how shopping habits will change and the importance of location of stores for retailers in the current environment.
High street retailers face an epic battle next year, with consumer spending under pressure and competition from out-of-town parks and supermarkets. When Sir Philip Green announced that he would close up to 300 regional stores operated by his Arcadia brand, it was interpreted as another threat to the vibrancy of the UK high street.
“This is a very common theme,” says Grainger. “It gets in the press because it’s Philip Green, but really it could be any other retailer out there.” HMV and Game Group are two he names as walking away from less profitable regional stores when leases come to an end. The result? Rising vacancies in the high streets and shopping centres of affected towns.
“London and the South East are proving to be very robust in the downturn, but the regional picture is not nice to see,’ he says. ‘The locations that retailers choose to walk away from could be areas of high unemployment, or high streets that are overshadowed by a large out-of-town retail destination or food store,” he adds.
“Spend has shifted from the high street to somewhere else. The supermarkets are the real powerhouses; they are all expanding, and they sell more non-food lines than ever before.”
What our data shows
By comparing the number of retail addresses across Britain today with the amount in October 2008 (just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers), we can see that:
Estate agencies are down by an average of 9.2%. Our data shows that the North West and Waleswere hit hardest, with numbers of estate agency offices falling far more than the national average at 15.4 %. The South East (down by 14.8%) and West Midlands (down by 11%) also suffered significant falls.
Building societies are down by 28.2%. London suffered the biggest fall, with the amount of building society offices decreasing by 46.9%. Meanwhile, the South East, Scotland and North West were also hit hard, experiencing drops of 33.8%, 33.7% and 30.1% respectively.
The number of auction houses across the UK have fallen by 14%, whilst the amount of employment agencies on the high street has shrunk by 13.4%
In comparison, one of the only types of outlet on the high street to increase in number were bookies, which opened in 280 new locations, reflecting a jump of more than 5%.
[Picture innpictime via Flickr]
After the fun we had compiling a list of Britain’s Spookiest Place Names back in October, I thought it was only right that with just 19 days until the big day to turned our attention to the festive season and the nation’s best Christmas themed locations…
From Cold Christmas (Hertfordshire) and Christmas Cross (Shropshire) to Holly Green (Worcestershire) and Ivy Tree (Cumbria), there are places scattered across the country where it feels like Christmas all year round – even if only in name.
As it approaches midnight on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to hang up your Stocking (Herefordshire) and leave out a Carrot (Angus) for Rudolph. You can pucker up at Mistletoe Oak in Herefordshire, dream of a white Christmas in Snow Falls (North Yorkshire), or make your way to Wiseman’s Bridge (Pembrokeshire) by the light of a Star (Somerset) – although you may like to use a good map instead.
This year is the 70th anniversary of the Blitz, and whilst for some people the word might be almost synonymous with the bombing of London, many other towns and cities across the country also suffered terribly from Luftwaffe attacks.
One of those was Southampton. As an important dockyard on the south coast of England, home of the Supermarine factory and birthplace of the Spitfire, it was a prime target.
During the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940, the Southampton Blitz reached its climax as the city came under sustained attack. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, whilst on 30 November alone some 634 individual properties were left ablaze – including our then head office on London Road.
A report by the Ministry of Food describes how the resulting destruction “equalled anything so far in aerial attack on this country” but even so, it is very hard to now comprehend the scale of the damage, let alone the impact it had on the people who lived through it.
So with the help of The National Archives and Southampton City Council, we’ve built a map using OS OpenSpace that pinpoints where 712 of the bombs fell based on records from the time. We hope that by seeing the bomb sites overlaid on modern mapping, it will help people better relate to the scale of the damage and the courage and suffering of those who lived through it.
You can clearly see the heavy concentration of direct hits around the docks and industrial areas in Woolston and Itchen, as well as the city centre itself.
We received some very positive feedback following Liz’s blog post a few weeks ago about our Engineering the Olympic Park map.
The Institution of Civil Engineers was inundated with requests for copies!
The original print run has now been distributed to ICE members and to education groups visiting the Olympic site.
So, as we’re not able to send out any more copies, we thought it would be a great idea to make it available to download (pdf).
Hopefully it will give you a taster of the development that has taken place on the site since 2001 and the contribution that Civil Engineers have made.
UK Location launched the beta version of the Metadata Editor last week, built by us at Ordnance Survey. We built it using the GeoNetwork platform and have made the Metadata Editor available in two formats – a web-based on line version and an downloadable version. The UK Location Metadata Editor enables users to create, edit and validate UK Location compliant discovery metadata resources.
We’re one of many UK public bodies that produces data which falls within the scope of the Inspire Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe). The Directive aims to ensure that geographic information joins up between European countries. This can then help in major environmental disasters such as forest fires, floods and industrial explosions that do not respect national boundaries.
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s a great excuse to have a bit of fun looking at Britain’s spookiest place names.
Place names have been a bit of a running theme over the past few weeks, what with Location Lingo and last week’s look at how history has influencedthe names of places and regions across the country.
In preparation for this post, I asked people to contribute their spookiest place names on Twitter, and are some of my favourites – enjoy!
I was talking about how we capture our imagery recently and now we’re seeing it put to use by the emergency services, as Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) have purchased county coverage of the OS MasterMap Imagery Layer.
LFRS are going to be using the Imagery Layer in their two command support vehicles (CSVs). The CSVs are used for major county incidents and each have two computer terminals on board. These computers have geographical information systems (GIS) installed and can be used to analyse data of the incident area.