21
Sep
2010
0

Connecting people to places

Research conducted 10 years ago revealed that a staggering 85% of journeys within the UK were made by car. In line with Government targets to reduce road congestion and make services available online, an ambitious project to change national travel habits was born.

Road network

Road network

The result was Transport Direct, a website which knits together disparate strands of data to provide easy to use, comprehensive door-to-door travel information under the tag line ‘Connecting people to places’. Covering travel by both car and public transport around Britain, it now provides all the information needed to plan a journey, all in one place.

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20
Sep
2010
0

Ordnance Survey could solve South Downs debate

On 12 November 2009, the South Downs were confirmed as a National Park by Hilary Benn, the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  It took some years to decide on the boundary of the park and several revisions were made.

South Downs Way sign post

South Downs Way sign post

The first designation was in 2000 and the final report was submitted in 2008 after several disputes over which towns should be included in the National Park. The park stretches from the eastern edge of Winchester in the west, up to Binsted in the north and in a south-easterly direction Beachy Head near Eastbourne is the boundary.

Now a new dispute over which town is at the very centre of the park has begun.

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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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14
Sep
2010
0

We’ve extended our transport network dataset with urban paths

Great Britain’s roads are now busier than ever before and increasingly we’re all being encouraged to use our cars less often. That’s especially true here at Ordnance Survey where we’re being encouraged to car share or cycle once we move to our new head office.

And any visitor to London will immediately see evidence of the hundreds of thousands of pounds that have been invested in ‘Boris’ Bikes’ across the capital. The good news of course is that walking and cycling more not only helps reduce our carbon emissions but also improves your fitness and saves money on petrol.

So, to do our bit, we’ve extended our transport network dataset, OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network (ITN) Layer, to feature paths for pedestrians and cyclists across every major population centre in the country.

A sample of our new Urban Paths theme

A sample of our new Urban Paths theme

That’s a total of 58,077 kilometres of walkways, the equivalent of seven times around the coastline of Britain!

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10
Sep
2010
0

Celebrating a little corner of the great outdoors

Yesterday I had the pleasure of stretching my legs away from the office for a short time to celebrate a local community success story.

Every member of staff at Ordnance Survey has the option to take a day a year to volunteer for a worthy cause and back in 2005 a group chose to help clear a disused footpath near our Southampton offices.

Clearing the Greenway, December 2005

Clearing the Greenway, December 2005

This was part of the Lordsdale Greenway project, part of a wider scheme to create attractive green spaces for local people near where they live.

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7
Sep
2010
0

Using geography to plan for emergency flooding

As a Category 1 responder under the Civil Contingencies Act, Cornwall Council has a duty to plan for and respond to incidents quickly and effectively.

This means it has to thoroughly assess risks, put in place emergency plans, share information and cooperate with other responders, and make information available to the public.

In addition, as a Lead Local Flood Authority under the recent Flood and Water Management Bill, the Council is required to produce ‘flood hazard maps’ and maintain a register of structures or features that they consider to have a significant effect on flood risk in their area.

High Risk Community Flood map showing the potential extent of 1 in 1000 year fl uvial and tidal fl ooding, evacuation routes and the location of vulnerable people.

High Risk Community Flood map showing the potential extent of 1 in 1000 year fl uvial and tidal fl ooding, evacuation routes and the location of vulnerable people.

To help it meet these needs the Council has prepared flood maps for vulnerable areas across the county by combining our mapping and flood information from the Environment Agency with locally sourced information to display flood zone boundaries and flood defences.

The data lets the Council highlight important regional infrastructure such as evacuation briefing centres and assembly points, rest centres and potential helicopter landing sites. It also means that plans can be made for alternative routing around roads likely to be closed by flooding and how these might impact on the evacuation of vulnerable people like those in residential care, school pupils and hospital patients.

Here’s what Martin Rawling, Senior Emergency Management Officer at the Council, had to say about the role of geography:

Using Geographic Information effectively allows a timely data collection and mapping process which enables Emergency Management and other Council staff to react quickly and effectively to an incident, thereby enhancing the safety of the affected community. GI is an essential tool for us when preparing emergency plans and when responding to an incident.

The displayed maps, which are available both in the office and on lap top computers, paint very clear pictures of the location, risk, facilities and so on, allowing effective briefings and response.