20
Oct
2010
0

What’s in a place name?

We’ve written a lot recently about place name nicknames as part of the Location Lingo project. There have been some wonderful contributions; my favourites are probably Basingrad for Basingstoke and Ponte Carlo for Pontefract.

But, the stories behind ‘official’ place names are every bit as fascinating and intriguing, and can tell us a lot about our history and the development of the English language. I spoke to Glen Hart, our Head of Research, to uncover more on the history of place names …

Have you ever considered why some places are called what they are? Some may be obvious like Cambridge which grew around a bridge over the River Cam.  Another is Oxford which was a ford over the River Ox, but why are they lots of places ending in ‘Thorpe’ and ‘By’ in the north but hardly any in the south, and just where the do the names Westonzoyland and Sixpenny Handle come from?

The map of Great Britain shows a very rich and varied tapestry of place names and these reflect the development of the country from Celtic times to the present day. The Celts may not have been the first inhabitants but many of the names they used, especially those for natural features like hills and rivers in England are still with us today.

Westonzoyland

Britain has a rich variety of place names.

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15
Oct
2010
0

OS MasterMap Imagery Layer being used by the emergency services

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.

OS MasterMap Imagery Layer showing an area of Leicestershire

OS MasterMap Imagery Layer showing an area of Leicestershire

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5
Oct
2010
0

Location Lingo – mapping Britain’s pet place names

Did you know that Wednesday 13 October is English Language Day? Set up by the English Project, a Winchester based charity, English Language Day seeks to recognise the richness and vibrancy of English in all its forms.

The English Project

The English Project

To celebrate, we’re partnering with them for something called Location Lingo. If you look at a map, you’ll find ‘official’ place names, but those aren’t necessarily what those places are called in everyday life. In fact we probably all use names that would look pretty out of place on an Ordnance Survey map!

There are the obvious ones, like The Big Smoke and Pompey but there are hundreds of others. Take, for example, these three nicknames suggested by @PontoonDock – ‘Cas Vegas’ for Castleford, ‘Stalyvegas’ referring to Stalybridge and the wonderful ‘Ponte Carlo’ for Pontefract.

So the idea of Location Lingo is to capture these names and the colourful stories behind them.

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27
Sep
2010
1

Vegetation map symbols

We recently came across a blog about the Ordnance Survey map symbols for rough grassland, heath and bracken and thought it would be helpful to give you an explanation on their use. Please head to the bottom of this blog to see all the symbols.

Originally bracken, rough grassland and heath were shown as separate symbols (1. bracken, 2. rough grassland  and 3. heath).  In 1976 bracken and rough grassland were amalgamated so there was just one symbol to indicate land being covered by rough grassland or bracken – it was made up of elements of both the symbols so it had some rough grass in it and some bracken (4).  Where space was tight a smaller symbol was also made incorporating both vegetation types (5).

The map symbols in the (6) legend  are shown in the following order; top left is the new amalgamated symbol for bracken and rough grassland, top right is the old bracken symbol. Bottom left is old rough grassland symbol and bottom right the heath symbol.  The heath symbol was not changed and has stayed the same.  The old symbols for bracken and rough grassland remain in the legend because there are still some sheets that have the old style individual bracken and rough grassland symbols.  The symbols were only updated on the mapping if there was a change in vegetation category so there are still large areas of old style vegetation shown on the mapping.

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17
Sep
2010
0

Aerial imagery: A bird’s-eye view

OS MasterMap is our flagship product family, but have you ever wondered how a photo taken by a plane makes it onto a computer screen as a piece of data? Photogrammetry is the science of measuring and interpreting objects from photographs to answer questions like how high is that feature?

Remote Sensing is the process of acquiring information without coming into physical contact with the subject under investigation. We use this process, in conjunction with ground-based revision by our field surveyors, to update our large-scale databases

We have a large contract in place with external suppliers to supplement our own flying and photogrammetric production.This gives us the capacity to have to 6 planes flying on our behalf at any one time, allowing us to make best use of good weather conditions and process 60 000 to 70 000 sq km (more than a quarter) of Great Britain each year.

An image taken by one of our digital cameras

An image taken by one of our digital cameras

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15
Sep
2010
0

Ordnance Survey and Exercise Orion

Buckled roads, collapsed buildings, destroyed power lines and trapped, injured and isolated civilians in desperate need of help.

That was the scenario played out across the country last week as part of Exercise Orion, an national disaster scenario designed to push the country’s emergency services to the very limit.

In the context of the imagined catastrophe, with a huge amount of information to process, understand and act upon, having a clear picture of the unfolding crisis was absolutely vital. That was why experts from Ordnance Survey were called upon to join the very heart of the operation and provide a geographic context to the unfolding events.

Four of our GI experts were deployed to command centres across the country in response to a call to our ‘Mapping For Emergencies’ hotline. They worked with the disaster management teams, providing them with an analysis on how the ‘earthquakes’ had impacted on electric, water and gas supplies, how the emergency services could be routed whilst avoiding impassable roads; and how best to evacuate civilians based on the location of the most vulnerable.

Rescuing a casualty from a collapsed apartment block

Rescuing a casualty from a collapsed apartment block

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27
Aug
2010
0

Ever passed “Go” and wondered where it is?

I think most of us have played Monopoly at some point in our lives and we all know that friend or family member who can be a bit liberal at their banking…does the thought of taking more than 200 Monopoly dollars to pass “Go” ring any bells? But have you ever wondered where “Go” actually is?

OS OpenData Monopoly map

OS OpenData Monopoly map

The rest of the board game is well-labelled and “Go” actually sits between Mayfair and Old Kent Road – but where is it? Monopoly celebrated its 75th anniversary on Wednesday and we joined forces with them to pinpoint the location of “Go”. Read More

24
Aug
2010
0

What happened to old OS maps?

I’ve talked in previous posts about the new head office we’ll be moving to later this year and how excited I am about a shiny new building – but what about all that packing? If you think that there are around 1,100 of us currently living in a building intended for around 3,500–4,000, you can imagine how much space we’ve got. And if you think about what you do with any spare space in your home (come on, I bet your lofts, garages, sheds and cupboards are packed to bursting!), then you can imagine the task facing us after 40 plus years at Romsey Road.

Paul’s already updated us on the historic artifacts we’ve uncovered, but there are also thousands and thousands of old maps and map-related records. So, what do we do with them? There are actually several routes we follow. Our Historic Map Archive has been used to complete collections and libraries up and down the country for example.

A photo of one of the maps being transferred to The National Archives

A photo of one of the maps being transferred to The National Archives

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