3
Mar
2011
0

The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation – Canoe trail

The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Approximate duration:
Springfield to Heybridge Basin approximately 4 – 6 hours of gentle paddling you can return the same way too,  so a car shuttle need not be required. However return by bus possible as there are bus links also available (Chelmsford – Maldon; Maldon – Heybridge Basin)

Approximate distance: 14 miles

Start:
Start immediately below Springfield Lock. Access by a short lane from the far end of Wharf Road car park (Grid Reference TL 717063). Cross footbridge to access landing stage. Trail follows the full length of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation via 14 miles and 11 locks to Heybridge Basin. Paper Mill Lock, midway along the trail, has refreshment facilities and WC.

Finish:
Finish at the trip boat landing stage by Daisy Meadow car park, Heybridge Basin (Grid Reference TL 871059)

 

The Chelmer

General Information:
This independent little waterway was engineered by the great John Rennie between 1793 and 1797 and is the only waterway in the country that is stil l owned and operated by its original Company of Proprietors, although it is currently managed by Essex Waterways Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Inland Waterways Association. Being separate from the main waterway network of Britain it was probably forgotten when the waterways were nationalised! It was a barge canal with wide locks, and carried freight (mainly Scandinavian timber in its latter days) well into the 1970s – horse-drawn until the mid 1950s. Now it more resembles a midlands canal, as recent decades have seen its discovery by increasing numbers of narrowboaters with their colourful craft. Its route is almost entirely rural, with just a short industrial section through Heybridge village. Read More

1
Mar
2011
0

A literary tour of Great Britain – part 2

We’re back on the road again and continuing with our literary journey around Great Britain in celebration of World Book Day and World Book Night later this week. Yesterday we visited Scotland and Wales – today it is the turn of England.

We’ll start todays journey in Cumbria and the Lake District and work our way south. If you visit the Lake District you can’t help but realise the association with Beatrix Potter. Six of her books were based at Hill Top – the farm she owned near Windermere. Melvyn Bragg has written 12 novels based in Cumbria including For Want of a Nail and The Maid of Buttermere.

Moving across to the North East of England we can offer you the collected works of Catherine Cookson. Or if we move down to Yorkshire we can pick from Emily Brontes Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre by her sister Charlotte, Bram Stokers Dracula or for the animals lovers – All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.

Whitby Abbey (OS grid reference: NZ904112) provided Bram Stoker with inspiration for Dracula

Whitby Abbey (OS grid reference: NZ904112) provided Bram Stoker with inspiration for Dracula

Lancashire offers the crime novels of Neil White including Fallen Idols and Last Rites or the thrillers of Sharon Bolton including Blood Harvest. Charles Dickens, who we will meet again on our journey, based his fictional town of Coketown in Hard Times on Manchester and Preston.

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28
Feb
2011
0

A literary tour of Great Britain – part 1

This Thursday is World Book Day followed by World Book Night on Saturday. To celebrate it – we thought we’d have a look at some classic novels set in Great Britain.  Today we’re going to look at Scotland and Wales – tomorrow we’ll move onto England. As a nation we’re spoilt by having so many fantastic works of fiction set within our shores – so where do I begin?

Let’s start at the northern most tip of Great Britain and work our way south. You can’t get any further north in Great Britain than Shetland and these Isles are the setting for a series of detective novels by Ann Cleeves including White Nights, Red Bones and Blue Lightning.

Moving south we next come to Orkney where we meet a novel shortlisted for the 1994 Man Booker Prize –  Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mackay Brown.

As we join mainland Scotland there are many books that have been based here. The Highlands is the setting for The Long Staff by Clare Wilson, Shatter the Bonesby Stuart McBride is based in Aberdeenshire whilst HRH Prince Charles wrote a children’s book – The Old Man of Lochnagar – based around the royal estate of Balmoral.

Lochnagar on the Balmoral Estate was the setting for the Old Man of Lochnagar by HRH Prince Charles

Lochnagar (OS Grid Reference NO250859) was the setting for the Old Man of Lochnagar by HRH Prince Charles.

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25
Feb
2011
0

Walk of the week: Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

This weeks walk of the week is courtesy of Walks around Britain, A 5 mile walk around the spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct, on the famous Settle-Carlisle Railway in the Yorkshire Dales.

Essential Info:
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Time: Minimum time 2 hours
Ascent/gradient: 328ft (100m)
Grade/Paths: Easy – Moorland / farm paths and tracks, 2 stiles
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL2 (Grid SD 765792)
Dogs: Can be off lead by viaduct, but on leads in farmland
Parking: Off B6255 and B6479
Public Transport: By Train – Ribblehead Station
Toilets/Refreshments: None on route – nearest The Station Inn

From the parking place or from Ribblehead Railway Station cross over the B6255, and head towards the Ribblehead Viaduct using one of the two tracks. At the sign, follow the route towards Whernside.

Climb up with the railway on your left hand side, and go through the gate. When the Blea Moor signal box is in sight, turn left to go underneath the railway, following the Public Bridleway sign. Go through the gate at the end of the archway under the railway and bear left along the track towards the farm buildings.

Go through the gate and follow the track past more farm buildings on your left. When you are at the next farm buildings, turn left and follow the Public Footpath over 2 styles through the fields towards the Viaduct. Read More

25
Feb
2011
0

Focus on Cartography – part two

If you missed last week’s blog, catch up now before finding out a little more about what goes on behind the scenes in our Cartography teams…

My next stop was with Jim in Landplan. His team of 20 are responsible for the revision and update of the 1:10 000 database. This covers OS Landplan, 1:10 000 Scale Colour Raster and 1:10 000 Scale Black and White Raster, OS Street View and more recently, OS VectorMap Local.

Jim told me that the Landplan vector editing system was developed in-house during the mid 1990s. The capture programme started in September 1996 and the 10 587 tiles in the initial database were completed in 2001. It was the first production system in Ordnance Survey to use auto generalising algorithms to do Cartographic generalising for a derived product.

One of the Landplan team at work

One of the Landplan team at work

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23
Feb
2011
0

Bringing the power of Open Data to the citizen

Transparency is high on the political agenda these days.

As you’ll be aware, the coalition government has made serious commitments to change the culture in the public sector from one where data are hoarded in-house to one where they are open by default.

Public sector organisations of all stripes from the biggest government departments to the smallest local authorities are starting to publish datasets on a wide range of topics such as the salaries of senior officers, the details of local schools, or even the service requests received by the customer services department.

The data isn’t always well-formatted or easy to process, nor is it always given out with a happy heart, but it’ there.

However, while great strides have been made in making data available, less progress has been made in making it meaningful to a wider public. Let’s face it, while there’s a lot of a talk about “armchair auditors” downloading reams of data and spending endless nights combing through them in Excel, most people aren’t going to know what to do with a raw CSV file or even care enough to try.

Opendata in government

In Arcus, we have been working with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to address this. Jointly, we have created a solution called DataTAP, which makes it easy for the authority to publish open data from internal systems and make it useful to the average resident.

The site allows users to visualise a range of local government data.

The site allows users to visualise a range of local government data.

In a nutshell, the solution has an agent sitting inside the Council’s IT infrastructure that extracts and transforms the data into a publishable format. The data is then transferred to our infrastructure on the Cloud and made available to the public in a variety of formats.

This includes the usual downloadable CSVs and XML, but more importantly we add the ability to instantly visualise the data in a variety of formats including tables, charts, KPIs, and notably in this contexts heat maps based on the OS OpenSpace API.

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18
Feb
2011
0

Why ‘space weather’ is bad news for map making

What is ‘space weather’? Well this generally means solar flares – or as you might have heard on the news recently – coronal mass ejections to give them their full title!

Solar flares are related to sunspot activity which tends to run in 11 year cycles. We’re now entering the period where sunspot activity is increasing to amaximum for the current cycle. On Tuesday there was a big flare – the biggest for 4 years – whilst tonight those of you in Scotland might even get to see the Northern Lights as a result, so keep your eyes on the skies!

Solar flares

A solar flare

So what’s all this got to do with mapping?

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18
Feb
2011
0

Focus on Cartography – part one

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.

One of the team at work

One of the team at work

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