Environment challenge finalists invited to GeoVation Camp

The GeoVation judging panel met this week and were delighted at the quality and scope of the ideas submitted to our GeoVation Challenge to look for ways that British business could improve their environmental performance using Ordnance Survey products or services in the solution.

The judging panel have now selected a short-list of 10 finalists who have been invited to develop their ideas further at the GeoVation Camp, held on the weekend of 21-23 June 2013 our Southampton head office.

The finalists are:

“Virtual” national transport fleet – an idea to create a connect-able, broker-free web of independent transport companies; breaking down the systemic big company/small company inefficiencies which exist.

Creating an Energy Democracy: The Wasted Energy Network – a platform for encouraging inter-business recycling, triggering waste-based economies and identifying areas of opportunity for sustainable waste management and energy generation systems.

RecycleLink – the idea is to bring waste producers and processors together using a centralised trading platform that will facilitate collaboration and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

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Why conveyancers should use up-to-date data!

We are running a campaign at the moment to encourage land and property professionals such as surveyors, conveyancers, architects and developers to ensure they are licensed and up-to-date when they use location data. The campaign is supported by RICS, Land Data, FAST and other leading industry figures and features a series of filmswhich explain why it’s important.

Ordnance Survey makes up to 10 000 changes to the master map database of Great Britain every day, reflecting the rapid developments in the nation’s environment. However, it’s not only important for organisations to have the most up-to-date data, but also vital that they have the appropriate licence to use it effectively.

In the first of the three films which we’ll be showing over the next few weeks, we hear from Land Data about why it’s important for conveyancers to be using fully up-to-date and licensed mapping, because as maps change, if you’re using incomplete information, then you’re failing to stay ahead.



Delivering together – Ordnance Survey and Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Last week we had the opportunity to occupy the BIS Head Office foyer in London, to demonstrate how we are driving innovation and growth using geographic data in the public sector.

What was the objective?

  • To raise awareness of our customers’ success stories about the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA).
  • Demonstrate the value our data brings to government and commercial markets.
  • Showcase that location is the key tool in effective policy creation, decision-making and business analysis.

What did you do?

We had an exhibition in the BIS reception foyer from Tuesday to Thursday this week. We focused on 4 key areas:

  • Business – supporting economic growth with accurate and maintained mapping data
  • Innovation – enabling innovation and mapping solutions for the future
  • Skills – world renowned data capture & maintenance
  • Government – enabling public service delivery and efficiencies

To draw attention and to demonstrate the quality of our mapping, we produced a large scale extract of OS MasterMap Topography Layer data covering Victoria Street, London, available to view from the street outside.We also arranged for a surveyor to be present to show people how dedicated we are to state of the art collection techniques and accuracy!

What was the outcome?

By showcasing Ordnance Survey in this way we have been successful in raising awareness of the capabilities of geographical information within BIS. By co-ordinating the display with BIS, we were also able to put out internal communications to ensure that people across their organisation were aware and had the opportunity to attend and find out more about us.

How has this benefited Ordnance Survey?

This event gave us the opportunity to get closer to and build new contacts across new work areas in BIS. It has also built awareness of what we do and how our data can underpin public sector service delivery is key in order to sustain our position as the provider of geographical information to the public sector.


The trouble with sat nav…

You might be surprised to know that one of the most common enquires that comes into our customer service team is around the use of sat navs. Yes, fielding questions about the super useful but oft blamed navigational aid takes up a sizable amount of our time.

Questions range from people wondering whether an in-car sat nav makes a decent walking guide (the answer is no!) to asking for helping setting one up (best to contact the manufacturer) and questioning why a particular route has been chosen (again, best to talk to the manufacturer).

Sat navs have changed how many of us plan journeys.

But of course, we are involved in the sat nav industry, supplying some of the underlying data, and so it’s worth explaining our role in a little more detail.

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How the recession transformed the high street

In an article from the latest issue of Intelligence magazine for the land and property market, Guy Grainger, Head of Retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, gives his views on how shopping habits will change and the importance of location of stores for retailers in the current environment.

High street retailers face an epic battle next year, with consumer spending under pressure and competition from out-of-town parks and supermarkets. When Sir Philip Green announced that he would close up to 300 regional stores operated by his Arcadia brand, it was interpreted as another threat to the vibrancy of the UK high street.

Woolworths was just one victim of the recession

High street Woolworths stores were just one victim of the recession

“This is a very common theme,” says Grainger. “It gets in the press because it’s Philip Green, but really it could be any other retailer out there.” HMV and Game Group are two he names as walking away from less profitable regional stores when leases come to an end. The result? Rising vacancies in the high streets and shopping centres of affected towns.

“London and the South East are proving to be very robust in the downturn, but the regional picture is not nice to see,’ he says. ‘The locations that retailers choose to walk away from could be areas of high unemployment, or high streets that are overshadowed by a large out-of-town retail destination or food store,” he adds.

“Spend has shifted from the high street to somewhere else. The supermarkets are the real powerhouses; they are all expanding, and they sell more non-food lines than ever before.”

What our data shows

By comparing the number of retail addresses across Britain today with the amount in October 2008 (just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers), we can see that:

Estate agencies are down by an average of 9.2%. Our data shows that the North West and Waleswere hit hardest, with numbers of estate agency offices falling far more than the national average at 15.4 %. The South East (down by 14.8%) and West Midlands (down by 11%) also suffered significant falls.



Building societies are down by 28.2%. London suffered the biggest fall, with the amount of building society offices decreasing by 46.9%. Meanwhile, the South East, Scotland and North West were also hit hard, experiencing drops of 33.8%, 33.7% and 30.1% respectively.

The number of auction houses across the UK have fallen by 14%, whilst the amount of employment agencies on the high street has shrunk by 13.4%

In comparison, one of the only types of outlet on the high street to increase in number were bookies, which opened in 280 new locations, reflecting a jump of more than 5%.

[Picture innpictime via Flickr]