Our Flying Unit has been immortalised by the iconic Squadron Prints who produce the highly acclaimed series of aircraft and ship lithographic prints. One of the Cessna 404 Titan’s we use, G-FIFA, features on the stunning print.
Our Flying Unit operate from East Midlands Airport, taking to the skies above Great Britain between February and November each year. Professional pilots take our air camera operators up in two Cessna 404s, G-FIFA and G-TASK, to take aerial imagery of over 50,000 square kilometres of the country each season. From the Scilly Isles to the Shetland Islands, the team will capture over 140,000 aerial images each year, using the 196-megapixel cameras on-board the planes.
We often share the photos taken by our Flying Unit in between their surveying tasks. And you’ll have seen the aerial imagery they take when surveying from the skies. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to do your daily work in the back of a Cessna 404? Roger Nock, one of our Flying Unit, took a photo of his workspace. Take a look.
Roger explained what we can see…
Cabin crew doors to manual and seat belts signs switched off…the 2016 flying season is complete. Jean Martin and her team explain why the season has come to an end and what they’re planning next.
It’s been another busy year for the OS Flying Unit, working from our East Midlands Airport base and taking to the skies in the two Cessna 404s. Flying from Lands’ End to Orkney, we’ve covered some 54,203 square kms of GB and taken over 141,700 aerial photographs along the way.
If you were watching BBC Breakfast this morning, you may have seen their reporter, Graham Satchell, heading out with our Flying Unit and finding out how we survey Britain from the skies.
We’ve actually been using aerial photography to carry out our surveys for almost 100 years. Originally, this had the advantage of capturing information from areas that surveyors found hard to visit on foot. Today, it means we can keep on top of the data capture process – making continuous revisions of the whole nation’s landscape.
Those of you who regularly read our blog will know that at OS, we have a Flying Unit. Based out of East Midlands Airport, our two Cessna 404s fly the length and breadth of the country between February and November. They capture on average 50,000 aerial images covering 40 000 km squared of Britain’s urban, rural, moorland and mountain terrain every year.
There are two questions we’re often asked: ‘Why is there a man (or woman) in a hi-vis OS jacket in my area carrying a pole?’ and ‘Why is there an OS plane going backwards and forwards overhead?’
In both cases, whether on foot or in the air, it’s members of our surveying team, capturing some of the thousands of changes taking place every day and adding them to our mastermap of Great Britain. As well as 250 surveyors on the ground working across the country, we operate two aircraft which are used to take aerial photography and are based in East Midlands Airport. They capture on average 50,000 aerial images covering 40 000 km squared of Britain every year.
Earlier this year we wrote about our role in World War One, from printing 33 million maps to help the war effort, to the 149 men and women sent out to France to carry out mapping near the battlefields.
However, it wasn’t just mapping on the ground that took place. World War One also saw the infancy of aerial photography and modern surveying techniques and ITV’s Simon Parkin discovered this recently.
Our Flying Unit travel the length and breadth of the country each year, capturing some 50,000 aerial images covering 40,000 km2 of Britain’s urban, rural, moorland and mountain terrain.
Our planes are two Cessna 404s called G-TASK and G-FIFA and they each fly with a highly-detailed digital camera – probably one the highest resolution cameras in the country – at 196 megapixels, which allows us to take high resolution images even from the skies. See this example below:
Every so often we receive a tweet from one of our followers saying that they’ve seen an Ordnance Survey plane overhead. Or someone will tweet us a picture like the one below and ask us what we’re up to. The simple answer is that we’re capturing aerial imagery of Britain, as part of our role as the national mapping authority.
Dockland and coastal areas across Great Britain can change dramatically as they are redeveloped for different uses, as the sea erodes the former coastline, or as new warehouses and storage areas can be built in docks themselves. It was a coastline that featured in our first ever map –the Kent coast – and it was published in 1801. The county was mapped out so that defences could be prepared against a possible invasion of England by Napoleon.
Today, as well as 250 surveyors on the ground working across the country, we operate two aircraft which are used to take aerial photography and are based in East Midlands Airport. They capture on average 50,000 aerial images covering 40 000 km squared of Britain’s urban, rural, moorland and mountain terrain every year.
Although our Flying Unit is now based at East Midlands Airport, this imagery was captured in November 2010, when it was still operating from its Blackpool Airport base. The photo was taken at some 6,000 feet above the location.
Can you name the docks shown in this photo – and a bonus point if you can name the famous boat featured. Post your answers on the blog…