3
Jan
2018
7

A virtual escape into mapping

Over the past months, the OS Labs team has been busy developing a GIS based educational game experience using the Oculus Rift virtual reality system.  The project is one element in a wider project that is exploring how both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to present geospatial data in new and stimulating ways.  Read on for a little background on the project… 

Virtual reality, as a concept, has existed for many years. The first functional VR headset was built in the sixties, yet long before that, science fiction authors had already been daring to imagine such worlds.   The early 90s saw consumer-orientated VR products being developed, marketed and, in some cases, actually released for sale. However, that technology couldn’t meet people’s expectations, leaving many disillusioned.  More recent advancements in technology have put it back on the agenda. There is already a broad range of VR kit available for purchase, with more lined up for release in 2018. So, how might this relate to Ordnance Survey?  With a sense of ‘place’ being a key component in VR, it seems that there is some common ground to explore. Read More

22
Dec
2017
8

Happy holidays from OS and The Cedar School

We have a special relationship with The Cedar School in Southampton. Earlier this year a team from OS helped renovate their forest garden. As part of our GetOutside initiative, which inspires people to get outside more often, all 79 children visited the garden and gave us muddy fingerprints for this year’s OS Christmas card.

Our workplace choir, Off the Scale, also visited the school this month to sing Christmas carols. They were treated to a reciprocal performance from some of the children, signing and signing.

We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

 

21
Dec
2017
5

Data for the public good

By Miranda Sharp, Head of Smart Cities Practice at OS

We’re pleased to welcome the National Infrastructure Commission’s report, Data for the public good.  As custodian of Britain’s geospatial database, containing over half a billion data points and updated up to 20,000 times a day, we recognise the challenges and opportunities of using information to make more of our infrastructure assets.

In our response to the original consultation, we called for a multi-party group to make infrastructure data accessible, using a framework of data standards for quality and interoperability. We’re pleased to be named in the report as part of the Task Group which will take forward this proposal.  Read More

19
Dec
2017
6

Top 10 mappy blogs for 2017

With less than a fortnight left to go in 2017, we thought we’d take a look back at the year and see which blog stories piqued your interest. Let’s countdown from 10-1 on the top mappy and geo-based blogs:

  1. Taking White Hart Lane off the map

We usually share stories about our teams adding new features to the map, but we also have to remove features from our database. London-based surveyor Tony Killilea was tasked with removing a football stadium from the map back in September…

  1. London National Park City map

A stunning new map was published by Urban Good showing London green spaces, using OS OpenData. The map of the capital shows over 3,000 parks, plus woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, city farms, rivers, canals and all the spaces that contribute to London’s parkland. Find out how to win a copy below.

  1. OS turned 226 years old

On 21 June 1791, the Board of Ordnance purchased a new Ramsden theodolite, and this is seen as the foundation of our organisation. We were to begin a survey of England’s vulnerable southern coasts, worried that the French Revolution might sweep across the English Channel.

  1. Surveying the Colonsay Whale

It’s not every day that we add a whale to our maps, but surveyor Shaun McGrath did this year…

Read More

14
Dec
2017
8

Effective basemaps

What is a basemap?

Often referred to as a contextual or backdrop map, a basemap contains reference information used to both orient the viewer and add context to any data that is overlaid. Basemaps come in a variety of types, styles, and scales, from full detail to muted ‘background’ styles.

In this post we want to explore the options available and share some useful tips for presenting your contextual data effectively.

What are the options?

When it comes to choosing a basemap there are many choices available, from creating your own to using a provided service. Let’s look in more detail at some of these options:

Raster maps

Raster maps are images made up of pixels. The content is set and the scale and style are predefined however it is possible to make minor alterations to the look and feel of them. If you’re using a raster basemap then it’s often a good idea to desaturate the colours, reduce the opacity or even convert it to greyscale. This will help your overlays stand out more clearly.

If used at the wrong scale then you will end up with an illegible map so they’re better suited to static mapping where the scale is set. Read More

12
Dec
2017
8

Personal touch – what we really want this Christmas

Forget splashing the cash and extravagant gifts this Christmas – according to our study what we really want from friends and family is something personal and thoughtful.

Whether it’s a jar of jam or chutney, a book or something crafty, research revealed 9 out of 10 of us say the most important part of a gift is the time and effort that goes into it, as opposed to the cost.

Corrine Sweet, Author and Psychologist, said: “Nothing stays in the memory and mind more than important experiences and beautiful images – especially when they celebrate our hobbies. Something personalised means ‘I know you and want to make you smile’ and a custom-made map reflects good times in your life.”

With that in mind, we think our OS Custom Made map is the perfect stocking filler for both outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who wants to capture a memory of that special location. Read More

7
Dec
2017
8

GeoTech masterclass: GeoDataViz

GeoTech masterclasses are a popular series of events organised by the team at our Geovation Hub in Clerkenwell Green, London. These workshops are not to be missed and book up quickly and it was on a chilly November evening that the Hub played host to the GeoDataViz (GDV) team.

Kicking off the session was Charley Glynn who gave an overview of the team and the important role we play within OS. Our role involves making sense of complex data through compelling visuals and we do that through a number of different techniques and using a range of software.

To emphasise this Charley took us on a journey through some of our recent work including our visuals for the CityVerve project and OS Custom Made. You can find out more about our team and the type of work we do here.

Next up was Paul Naylor who introduced the new GeoDataViz toolkit, a set of assets and resources that can help with communicating data effectively through the design of compelling and informative visuals.

What is in the toolkit?

Read More

5
Dec
2017
3

Registers of Scotland: What, exactly, is your land?

For many years OS mapping has helped to define your land in law. What constitutes your land in law goes beyond your property and land ownership. It is more than just the actual earth beneath our feet within what we know to be the physical boundaries and buildings. Nowadays the registration of title to land is particularly important as it is often the most valuable asset of any individual or business.

In Scotland, the transfer of land from one owner to another has been recorded for centuries. Read this guest blog from Registers of Scotland who have been transforming this process.

Before we dive right in and tell you about the exciting digital transformation projects happening at Registers of Scotland (RoS) we should probably start with what we do here at RoS…We are the non-ministerial government department that looks after registers relating to land, property and other legal matters.

The maintenance of our property registers underpins the Scottish property market and economy. For hundreds of years we have been a largely paper-based organisation – until now! In fact we are in the midst of a radical business transformation; with the aim of offering fully digital registration and information services by 2020, which will not only improve efficiency and our carbon footprint but enable us to offer even higher levels of security and transparency concerning Scottish land and property transactions. A lynchpin in this digital transformation programme is ScotLIS, the brand new map-based land information service we launched in October. Read More