28
Sep
2017
0

Map history at OS with Antiques Road Trip

If you were watching Antiques Road Trip yesterday afternoon, you’d have seen antiques expert Paul Laidlaw visiting our Southampton head office. The modern building we’ve been in since 2009, is a far cry from our first home at the Tower of London, and even the military barracks which became our first Southampton head office. But, despite being a digital data company in a state of the art building, there are still many nods to our mappy heritage to be found.

Our CEO Nigel Clifford showed Paul our first map, and an early theodolite while filming for the programme. Here’s a bit more about them:

Paul Laidlaw (left) and Nigel Clifford (right) in from of an 1801 map of Kent and the Ramsden 18″ theodolite

Ramsden 18” theodolite Read More

26
Sep
2017
0

Blue dots at the centre of our universe

If you tune into BBC World Service, you may have heard the series 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy.Tim Harford tells the fascinating stories of 50 inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world. The series asked for nominations on the 51st thing and Miranda Sharp, our Head of Smart Cities Practice, suggested GNSS (the Global Navigation Satellite System which encompasses GPS, the US’ Global Positioning System, amongst others). It made it to the shortlist and is open for votes until 6 October. Miranda explains why she nominated GNSS – and why you should vote for it!

I gobbled up Tim Harford’s latest series 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy. Tales of female emancipation wrapped up in TV dinners, tackling corruption through the technology of M-Pesa and enabling rapid transfer of ideas in an urban economy with the advent of the elevator. Listen to them all, buy the book, they are brilliant stories.

Tim asked his loyal listeners for ideas for a 51st thing and I suggested GNSS. Let me tell you why.
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21
Sep
2017
0

Benchmark or trig pillar: what’s in a name?

We’ve had a few questions recently about benchmarks and trig pillars and what they are and how they differ, so we thought we’d clear it up.

The benchmark

Most weeks we’ll see a Twitter conversation where someone is asking what this mark is:

Many think it is War Office-related, but it is in fact an OS benchmark (BM) and a means of marking a height above sea level. Surveyors in our history made these marks to record height above Ordnance Datum Newlyn (ODN – mean sea level determined at Newlyn in Cornwall). If the exact height of one BM was known, the exact height of the next could be found by measuring the difference in heights, through a process of spirit levelling. They can be found cut into houses, churches, bridges and many other structures. There are hundreds of thousands of them dotted across Great Britain, although we no longer use them today. Read More

19
Sep
2017
0

Taking White Hart Lane off the map

We usually share stories about our teams adding new features to the map, such as the Queensferry Crossing or even a whale, but we also have to remove features from our database. London-based surveyor Tony Killilea was recently tasked with removing a football stadium from the map…

With over 500 million geospatial features across Great Britain and some 10,000 changes taking place in the database each day, it’s not difficult to understand how our surveying teams are kept busy. From new roads to new shopping centres, it’s easy to forget about the existing features that have to be removed for new developments to be built.

Tony at White Hart Lane

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15
Sep
2017
0

Win a map of Ancient Britain

We’re lucky in Great Britain to live in an area packed with ancient monuments and archaeological sites. And it can add a twist to your weekend #GetOutside adventures to plan a walk that takes in one of these sites. From Avebury’s Neolithic stone circles to Caerleon’s Roman amphitheatre to Glen Elg’s Iron Age brochs, the whole country has fantastic historic sites available.

One of the OS Historical map series, our Ancient Britain map provides an overview of thousands of years of history. Part map and part historical guide, the whole of Great Britain is covered in a double-sided sheet. It includes a list of key dates, events and archaeological evidence. Sites and museums are listed along with recommended reading for more information on the period. Read More

12
Sep
2017
1

Join our Geovation Challenge workshops on greener, smarter communities

Are you interested in how we can make our communities and cities more future-proof?  Would you like to develop an idea using smart technologies with the potential to build this into a sustainable business?

Our next Geovation Challenge is looking for innovative solutions that will help make our communities greener, smarter and sustainable. Entrants will be in with a chance of winning an all-expenses paid place at our 3-day Geovation Camp and Conference in London in February 2018.

To help you understand the problems and give you a head start in entering the competition, we’re holding workshops around Britain – workshops that could change your life and help save the planet!

Register for a workshop: Exeter 26 September/ Manchester 3 October /Glasgow 5 October Read More

7
Sep
2017
1

Raising money for Solent Mind with a charity ball

We’re now in our second year of supporting Solent Mind as our corporate charity. Most people will know at least one person who has suffered from poor mental health and Solent Mind provide an extremely important service to local people, close to our head office in Southampton.

We’re all trying to raise as much as possible to make changes to the lives of those suffering with mental illness and those family and friends supporting them. As a business which is keen to encourage physical and mental health, we’ve supported our own #GetOutside messaging and many staff have taken part in football tournaments and marathons. Our OS Runners raised over £1,000 running a relay marathon from London to Cardiff earlier this year. Plus, OS participants completed the London Marathon, and we have people taking part in the Great South Run later this year.

OS Runners

This weekend, our CEO Nigel Clifford and his daughter Caitlin will be taking part in the Great North Run, helping to raise more awareness of mental health issues and fundraise for Solent Mind. You can find out more about Nigel and support his challenge on JustGiving. Read More

5
Sep
2017
1

Sign up for the ‘Water, Water, Everywhere’ hackathon

OS and Geovation have partnered with the RNLI and Bournemouth Council to organise a hackathon looking at how geospatial data can keep people safe in and around the water.

Join us at the Water, Water, Everywhere hack on 30 September to develop and build your great ideas.

The problem

How can we keep people safe near the water? It’s a place to relax, a source of inspiration, somewhere to have fun with friends or get the adrenaline racing and the heart pumping. But it’s also an unpredictable force that demands respect. Every year, around 190 people drown in UK and Irish waters – half of them didn’t even intend to get wet. Drowning is a problem – and we need to solve it. Read More