international mapping


Support in Sudan – how mapping makes a difference!

As an organisation, we sponsor the charity MapAction. they provide mapping support in the aftermath of disasters where thousands of people can suddenly find themselves battling to save lives and livliehoods.  Before aid agencies can help them, the first requirement is information. Which areas have yet to be reached? Where are the relief resources? Where are the people in greatest need?

MapAction delivers this vital information in mapped form, from data gathered at the disaster scene. Creating a ‘shared operational picture’ is crucial for making informed decisions and delivering aid to the right place, quickly.

Ordnance Survey support the charity, both with funding and occasionally with personnel. Recently our colleague Chris Phillips has been in Sudan to help provide mapping and information management services following the impact of the serious flooding in the country.Heavy rain and flash floods in several areas of Sudan had affected up to 530,000 people. Between 15,000 and 18,000 houses had been destroyed, with Khartoum being the most-affected state. Read More


Supporting the United Nations on Global Geospatial Information Management

Guest post by Ordnance Survey’s John Kedar

In the past you may have read about or seen us tweet about @UNGGIM or read about the Cambridge Conference 2013, which was coupled with the Third Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM3). Ordnance Survey has a hard-earned reputation as one of the world’s leading National Mapping Authorities. This is reflected by the role Dr Vanessa Lawrence plays on the global stage, explaining and promoting geographic information.  You can find out more about our work with the UN in this guest post from Ordnance Survey’s John Kedar.

The United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management, or UN-GGIM as we more commonly refer to it, was established by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in July 2011 in order to realise a vision that could help address making ‘accurate, reliable, maintained and authoritative geospatial information readily available, in all countries, to support national, regional and global development.’

In order to deliver the vision globally, Regional Committees are being set up to ensure that more localised progress is made, ensuring that the UN-GGIM Committee of Experts delivers its remit. UN-GGIM: Asia-Pacific and UN-GGIM: Americas are running and work is on-going in the Arab Countries and in Africa to form similar regional entities. Europe has never had a UN Regional Committee although one is being established with the co-chairs during formation being Walter Rademacher, Director General of Eurostat and Dr Vanessa Lawrence, Ordnance Survey’s Director General and Chief Executive.

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Ordnance Survey International in pole position

Guest blog by Steven Ramage, Head of Ordnance Survey International

I joined Ordnance Survey two months ago to take on the role of building Ordnance Survey International. At that time I knew the overseas awareness of the Ordnance Survey brand was strong, but I had no idea how strong a reputation we had until last week.

We were invited to support an event in Abu Dhabi entitled Advances in British Engineering hosted by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event was scheduled just prior to the Formula One meeting in Abu Dhabi and was supported by a dozen leading British organisations; mostly engineering firms and us!

As you can imagine, the event was extremely well organised and the attendees were honoured by the attendance of Sir Jackie Stewart the legendary British Formula One driver. It was personally pleasing to see Jackie Stewart there, because I’ve followed him since I was a wee boy growing up in Scotland  – not far from where he started life.

So what does this have to do with national mapping you ask? Well…we are working on a number of government initiatives in the Middle East as Ordnance Survey International, so we were also there to support our customers who are developing their economic growth plans underpinned by location. We took along some posters and pull up banners highlighting the exactness and quality of Ordnance Survey national mapping:  OS MasterMap showing Brands Hatch and Silverstone race tracks. We explained our extremely comprehensive data capture, production, maintenance and delivery processes to almost all the attendees and highlighted this as another type of British engineering.

We should like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for attending and to thank both the UKTI office in Abu Dhabi for inviting us and i4detail for supporting us at this great event. It was very useful to be a part of the event and to have the opportunity to show that Ordnance Survey is a true ‘Great British’ player in the international market – providing strategic advisory services and guidance on authoritative mapping to other countries.