Today marks 226 years since Ordnance Survey was founded. In the late 1700s the government at the time ordered its defence ministry – the Board of Ordnance – to begin a survey of England’s vulnerable southern coasts, worried that the French Revolution might sweep across the English Channel. In June 1791, the Board purchased a new Ramsden theodolite, and this is seen as the foundation of our organisation.
We’re marking the occasion by giving you the chance to win a limited edition OS print. Artist Bradley Hutchings paid tribute to the graphic artists of our past with a signed limited edition print, digitally created and inspired by iconic British landscapes. For many people, it is the historic Ellis Martin hand-drawn map covers that grab the imagination. Bradley has paid tribute to this era with his limited edition print. Only 250 signed prints were made – and we’ve got 3 of them up for grabs. To enter, tell us which year OS will turn 230. Just post on the blog by midnight on Sunday 25 June. We’ll draw 3 winners at random from all of the correct answers.
A fantastic way to inspire a love of cartography at an early age, have you heard of the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017? Barbara was a leading cartographer whose work related to children. In her memory, the International Cartographic Association holds a biennial competition.
2015 overall winner: The world in our hands by Pan Sin Yi (aged 15)
Hands up if you were the lucky recipient of a copy of The Great British Colouring Map this Christmas? Or if you decided to treat yourself to a spot of mappy colouring in? We’ve loved seeing some of you sharing your photos on Twitter and Instagram of your pristine new books, and of progress as you get started with the colouring. And it gave us an idea for a competition…
Hands up if you’re looking for some free family activities over the summer holidays? We thought so…how about a spot of trig bagging to get the family outside? This year we’ve been celebrating the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar, those concrete pillars that are often found at the top of hills and create a handy photo opportunity.
Once a key part of our surveying network, and since superseded by GNSS, they stand tall and mark the summit of many a walk. With around 6,000 still standing around Britain you stand a fair chance of spotting one when you’re out exploring, and you can spot them on your map as the small blue triangle with a dot in the centre.
It’s not just OS celebrating an 80th anniversary this year (for the trig pillar), A-Z are 80 years old too. Laura Quittenden tells us more…
This year Geographers’ A-Z Map Company is celebrating its 80th anniversary. A-Z maps have been based on OS data since the company first produced their London Street Atlas in 1936.
In case you missed it, we’ve been celebrating #TrigPillar80 this week, marking 80 years since the lovely trig pillar was first used to help us map out Britain. Although we no longer need the trig pillar to map the country, now using newer technology, the trig pillar remains as a British icon, guiding the way for explorers of the great outdoors.
#GetOutside and bag a trig pillar
The trig pillar can now be seen in many a photo, showcasing the British countryside and marking the high point of a walk. We asked our #GetOutside champions whether they had a favourite trig pillar to bag when out walking, fell-running and cycling and they came up trumps with some real beauties. From the wonderfully named Doughnot Hill in Scotland, to the Isle of Man to Dartmoor, our champions picked their best spot to bag a trig.
Was your New Year’s resolution to get out on your bike more? Has it already started to fall by the wayside? We’ve got some great cycling events coming up this year that you could get involved in, whether it’s taking part in a sportive or joining the spectators at The Aviva Women’s Tour this summer. And there’s the chance to win an OS cycling jersey…
OS Spin Series sportives
When we set a #FreebieFriday competition on Twitter last week to win two of our mappy Rubik’s Cubes, we were overwhelmed with the response as hundreds of people entered. If you haven’t spotted them before, we had the Cubes produced as corporate gifts last year. We had a handful left over and thought we’d share them with all of our map fans out there.
The Rubik’s Cube has been around since 1974, so most of us are familiar with the tricky little puzzle. The record for solving the puzzle currently sits with Lucas Etter of the United States, set in November 2015 with a time of 4.90 seconds. We haven’t been brave enough to try the map Rubik’s Cube yet, as we’re not sure we could cope with the maps in disarray!
We’ve talked about our history a number of times in 2015. Earlier this month, the history of OS was covered in BBC4’s fantastic Timeshift programme. And back in February we launched the OS brand refresh and looked back at what we’ve achieved in our 224 years as Britain’s mapping agency.
The Aviva Tour Ride, the official sportive of the Aviva Tour of Britain, takes place in Worcestershire on Sunday 4 October. And we’re offering you the chance to win a place in the sportive. There’s a choice of three routes starting and finishing from the Worcester Arena and Racecourse on the banks of the River Severn. If you win a place, you’ll have the chance to feel like a professional with the same Tour of Britain finish straight at the end of your ride.
Why are we giving away four free spots on the sportive? We’ve been the official mapping sponsor for the Aviva Tour of Britain. We helped the organising team to define the individual stages and provided detailed mapping to all the race teams to enable them to plan the best race that they can. Our cartography team were involved from the very initial planning stages, in assisting the race organisers to come up with interesting and challenge routes.