What numbers identify you and your belongings? Your National Insurance number? Your NHS number? Your Tesco Clubcard? Your postcode? Your number plate on your car? We are all used to unique letters and numbers to identify us in our daily life. At OS we also use a series of unique numbers and letters, called identifiers, in our location data, from buildings to streets to bridges.
We’ve been working to make more OS data open, including identifiers. Our data can then be used with other data held by local/central government and commercial organisations. With the identifiers to give a geospatial context, those combined datasets become useful information to make efficient decisions.
But what are identifiers?
Did you know, we currently have multiple vacancies in our engineering team? Adding to our series introducing you to the talented people within OS, meet Karen Connell. As a Senior Software Engineer, here she tells us more about her team and life at OS…
What is your background and how long have you been at OS?
It’s been a bit of a journey to bring me to OS. After finishing my Communications, Culture & Media degree at Coventry University, I went to teach English in rural Japan for 3 years. When I returned to the UK, I turned my hand to public relations. As the years went on, I was increasingly focusing on more technical tasks like website management and app creation. Realising I might be more of a technically minded person, I applied for the IT Trainee scheme here at OS and it was the break I needed – I have now been here for 5 years!
Continuing our series to introduce you to the individuals within OS and give you a snapshot of the range of roles we have, meet Charis Doidge. As a Senior Data Engineer, here she gives us an insight into the innovative work she is involved in…
How long have you worked for OS?
After completing an undergraduate degree in History, I started at OS in January 2014. Although I studied history, OS has very supportive training programmes and I was soon proficient in all things “Geography”.
I began my career creating our digital maps as a remote sensing surveyor, and soon learned how to also create our super detailed orthorectified imagery using various software suites. I gathered experience using geospatial tools, software, methodologies, and in doing so demonstrated I was able to problem solve.
As the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) is the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography, we’re sure it won’t shock you to know we often work together on exciting (and of course!) geography-related projects.
This year, we have combined our expertise and arranged several events to help promote and advance understanding of the uses of geospatial data.
On Monday 14 January, Miranda Sharp, our Director of Innovation, will explore how powerful information about location can be used to build a system of smarter infrastructure to help the UK economy and society to thrive in our lecture ‘Creating a master map of the UK: a route to a better future?’.
Additionally, as part of the RGS regional lecture series, on Tuesday 15 January, our Chief Geospatial Scientist Jeremy Morley will join neuroscientist Professor Kate Jeffrey in Southampton to discuss how our day to day navigation abilities can be linked to recent research on how the brain represents details of places.
Continuing our series to introduce you to the amazing individuals within OS and showcase the variety of work we do, meet Lisa Allen. While Lisa is relatively new to OS, she has already made her mark. Here, she gives us an insight into her role in the OS Data Office and how she gives our data a voice…
How long have you worked for OS?
I am a newcomer to OS as I started in April this year. Before I joined I worked across Government on projects such as the Defra Open Data challenge and preparation for the Data Protection Act 2018.
What is your role?
I am the Head of Data Management and Requirements. Being part of the new data office and working for OS’s first Chief Data Officer Caroline Bellamy was an exciting prospect I could not turn down!
While the world enjoyed the action at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, we were just as interested in what was happening away from the ice and snow. Namely the first large-scale 5G pilot service.
For critics it served as a marketing ploy for KT Group, South Korea’s largest telecom, who promoted the event as the first “5G Olympic Games in the world.”
For us though, the games with its driverless buses, immersive broadcasting, 360-degree instant replays and zooming, as well as the opening ceremony’s spectacular 5G-enabled peace dove, the trial seemed like a fun way of introducing the next generation of wireless communications to a wider audience.
However, the surface has yet to be scratched on what 5G can truly deliver to help improve our lives. It’s very much in its infancy, but already we see how more and more devices are increasing their worth to us with services that require reliable Internet connectivity. Even the humble doorbell has received a tech makeover. You can now see and speak to whoever is at your door, no matter where you are on the planet. Imagine one day a surgeon in one area of the country performing vital surgery somewhere else through a 5G-enabled robot. 5G will help the Internet cope with this increase in demand.
In 1899, the Head of the US Patents Office, Charles H. Duell, famously declared: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
Then came the 20th century, the age of mass invention. Nearly 120 years on and, in this context, you sense that 5G is the start of something extraordinary. With some even stating it will: enable the future – accelerating innovation and growing the economy. Exciting stuff for everyone, you’d think. But it’s not that Mr Duell was wrong in 1899, though he was, he just demonstrates how fallible we all are when it comes to imagining the future.
If Mr Duell, a man surrounded by invention and America’s brightest minds couldn’t see computers, microchips, moon rockets and the Internet coming – to name just a few of the 20th century’s stunning breakthroughs that would have bent his head – then what chance do the rest of us have in explaining what the 5G future will be or look like? Except to say: It’s what you make it.
5G and OS
One thing that we know with certainty, and we write about this in two government-funded reports published today, is that the most cost effective and simplest way for the UK to adopt 5G is through the creation of a ‘Digital Twin’.