NHP partnership conference

Along with 17 other Government bodies, six years ago the Natural Hazards Partnership (NHP) was created. This year, we’re delighted to be hosting the annual NHP conference on 26 and 27 March at our HQ in Southampton. Free to attend and aimed at professionals working in the natural hazards and resilience arena including government, responders and academia, register your interest and find out more below. Read More


Where does the rainwater go?

Technical Director of our partners centremapslive.com and this week’s guest blogger, Andrew Terry reports on the topic of rainwater and the SuDS legislation.

Over the last few months, I’ve been watching a new housing development being built near my home. It’s always interesting to see new communities appearing in previously open land and in this case, close to wetland areas and flood plains around Tewkesbury.

While I admire the civil engineering techniques used to create the housing infrastructure, it prompts me to think about the impact of surface water on this development, especially as it is overlooking the floodplain.

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Flood Re – ironing out the last details

Guest post by Miranda Sharp, Head of Commercial Business, Ordnance Survey

The industry and the Government have been working tirelessly over the past 24 months to agree the replacement for the Statement of Principles that allows affordable flood cover for all. However, now the Water Bill has received Royal Ascent; the real hard work is about to begin on Flood Re as the enabling legislation is in place. The Flood Re scheme will allow owners of flood-prone homes to buy affordable insurance, where annual premiums will be capped and payouts for flood damage will come from a central pool of money. Homeowners will continue to buy home insurance in the normal way through insurers or brokers, but their insurers may choose to include their homes into the scheme.


The industry, politicians and the media have been discussing some of the exclusions at length, including the Association of British Insurers (ABI) putting a case for the inclusion Council Tax Band H properties. In light of this discussion, Ordnance Survey, in conjunction with POST have commissioned a report find out where concerns with Flood Re lie. The research asked a range of experts across the insurance market along with 120 professionals for their views on Flood Re. Read More


How to find out your flood risk and minimise damage from floodwater

Today’s guest blog was written by Jamie Gibbs, who writes for the home insurance experts at Confused.com. After successfully safeguarding his house from a two-week deluge, he flooded his kitchen by leaving the sink running.

It’s estimated that one in six properties in the UK is at risk of flooding, either from nearby rivers or from the sea. With the devastating effects that floods can have on our infrastructure, our homes and our livelihoods (as seen over the Christmas period), there is a need to bolster our defences and take extra precautions.

According to the Environment Agency (their flood risk map is shown below), during the summer of 2007 (one of the worst floods in recent memory) 48,000 homes were damaged, with the average repair cost coming in at about £20,000-£30,000 per house.

environment-agency-flood-maps Read More


Expert view: Working together to better plan, manage and respond to flood risk

Richard Brocklebank, Business Development Manager, Ordnance Survey

Last week over 190 industry professionals got together to hear the latest on flood risk and data available to help understand and manage it at a collaborative event organised by Ordnance Survey, Environment Agency, Met Office and British Geological Survey. Our vision for the event was to bring together data creators, application providers, insurers and brokers in one room, with the aim of facilitating discussion and working together to better manage the problem of flood risk across the UK. Through this the industry would gain a greater understanding of the scale of the flood risk problem and available data to help them with their work.

Flood2013 Read More


OS OpenData product update – OS Terrain 50

At the end of March we saw Ordnance Survey’s free data portal, OS OpenData, upgraded with the release of a new version of OS VectorMap District. Today, sees another significant update to OS OpenData with the release of OS Terrain 50.

OS OpenData users and developers can now access a new fully maintained analytical height product called OS Terrain 50. The new product, which has a similar resolution to Land-Form PANORAMA, will enable users to access an advanced product with consistently maintained height content for the whole of Great Britain.

Land-Form PANORAMA was an unmaintained product and was last updated in the 1990s. The new product will give users more confidence in the currency of the data and will be supplied in additional formats, making it far more accessible.

It can be easily integrated with Vector Map District which is available through OS OpenData, or OS MasterMap Topography Layer and will be a welcome addition to the tools used for terrain analysis and 3D visualisation by a wide range of users.

Arriving as a grid file, it is expected that OS Terrain 50 will be used primarily as an analytical tool for landscape visualisation and analysis over large areas. For example interrogating the visual impact of wind turbines or high-level flood risk assessment, transport infrastructure planning, environmental impact assessment (wind farm location for example), signal propagation (radio, telephone) and security and defence planning

OS Terrain 50 is part of the new OS Terrain family; OS Terrain 5  a mid-resolution DTM, designed to be interoperable with our large-scale data will be released in the near future.

 For now, OS Terrain 50 is available through the OS OpenData portal to download now.

Please select OS Terrain 50 and chose the ‘Supply format’ as ASCII GRID AND GML (GRID) – GB and tick the box to download the files.


How Ordnance Survey plays its part in a flooding emergency

Flooding has featured in the news regularly over the last few years, Boscastle, Cockermouth and Bournemouth to name a few examples. I wanted to share with you how Ordnance Survey can help with flood relief operations and working with The Environment Agency, to provide a flood risk application.

In August 2004, Boscastle in Cornwall was badly effected by a flood that cause major damage through the town. 75mm fell in the space of two hours, the average rainfall for the whole of August alone. The sudden deluge caused two nearby rivers to burst their banks and a torrent of water to sweep through the village’s main street

Bournemouth flood

Bournemouth flood

Cockermouth in Cumbria saw water levels rise to about 2.5 metres in November of 2009. The heavy rainfall caused the rivers Derwent and Cocker to burst their banks; both the rivers meet in the town of Cockermouth where torrents of water carried cars and debris away Read More


Why poor maps left Queenslanders without insurance

A few weeks ago, I came across this article from the Australian news site ‘news.com.au’ entitled: ‘Bad maps reason for lack of flood insurance.’

It reports on how an Australian company was unable to offer some Queenslanders flooding insurance because the mapping available to them lacked detail and accuracy.

Insurance Australia Group Chief Executive Michael Wilkins is reported as saying: “Had better quality flood maps been available more insurers would have offered flood insurance in Queensland,”

“Basically, flood mapping data is the province of local councils and some of those councils simply don’t have the data available to them or have been unable to provide that information to the industry.”

“Without that information we can’t assess the risk and hence can’t price the risk.”

Visualising flooding

Visualising flooding

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Mapping in emergencies

In recent years we’ve seen geography underpin the response to a range of different national and regional emergencies ranging from flooding and terrorism to pandemic flu – all of which have endangered parts of our critical infrastructure. Whatever the emergency, given the myriad of differing organisations involved, geography is really the only way of quickly visualising information in a consistent and integrated way.

Through the use of GI based emergency planning tools, Bristol City Council has reduced the amount of time it takes to produce analysis and reports of relevant geographic data from 6 hours to just 20 minutes. This huge improvement supports those involved in the response effort, providing rapid access to data on which to base decisions and will essentially speed up response times and help save lives.

Visualising flooding

Visualising flooding using OS MasterMap

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