We’ve just launched the new augmented reality (AR) layer in our OS Maps app which uses your phone’s camera view to display over 200,000 locations across Great Britain. You can identify hills, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and woodland around you and on the horizon. It’s the first time we’ve made AR widely available, but not the first time we’ve used AR. Our Computer Scientist, Layla Gordon, leads the team that experiments with geospatial data and new technologies to create proof of concepts that are shared with partners. Find out about Layla’s work on OS Maps, and the AR projects that came before it.
It’s fantastic to see the OS Maps app AR layer released and being used. You simply point the camera of your Android or iOS device at the landscape and, using GPS and the compass, accurate points of interest that sit in that view will be highlighted.
Taking a look behind the scenes, I created it using Apple iOS Core Location and Core Motion framework. The app accesses the readings from Gyroscope and Accelorometer, to give the accuracy we need. It calls on the OS Placenames API to retrieve the OS populated places, which delivers points of interest within a set radius based on position and orientation. We’ve then set rules within the app to identify which points of interest to prioritise – as the screen could get cluttered with too many points.
If you haven’t tried it yet, take a look at https://www.os.uk/getoutside/AR. But while this is the first AR experience I’ve created which made it to public release, I’ve been working on AR projects for a couple of years.
By Tim Newman, Consumer Product Manager
For over a decade, OS has been active in the field of augmented reality – proving the concept back in 2006 with a thought-leading paper on Mobile Augmented Reality, and more recently prototyping 3D maps of Mars, and creating a navigation app for a Shoreditch basement. We’re now really excited to be using this augmented reality technology to introduce a new feature for OS Maps.
The recently released AR feature will help users learn about their surroundings by labelling and categorising the features around them, finally overcoming the big limitation of maps on mobile: the small screen. Have you ever looked out over a stunning vista and found yourself struggling to identify a hill or work out how far it was to the town below you? Now you can simply hold up your smartphone to find out what you’re looking at and how far away it is. If a place catches your interest, just tap on the label to find out more about it.
This fun and informative new feature was made possible by combining sensor data from the phone with OS data of over 200,000 hills, mountains, coastal features, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and areas of woodland. As a company of data experts, it’s fantastically rewarding to make use of our data to help make the outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe. This is what motivates the team and, combined with the great feedback we get from users, drives us to continue improving OS Maps – so keep your eyes peeled for the next bunch of features we’re working on to make it easier than ever to plan your time outdoors. There’s never been a better time to open up OS Maps and GetOutside!
To find out more about AR head to https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/ar/.
Stay tuned to the blog to learn from Layla Gordon in the tech labs team about how it works and the exciting projects that she’s developing with augmented reality.
Did you know that OS Maps subscribers added over 400,000 routes to the service over the last 12 months? We’ve analysed the (almost) 400,000 public routes and found that Snowdon bags the top spot for most routes created.
We broke the country down into square kilometres and counted the number of routes passing through each square, and while Snowdon topped this list, the Edale area of the Peak District grabbed 6 of the top 10 spots, with the Lake District taking the remaining places.
Looking ahead to New Year’s Resolutions for 2017? Trying to decide how to work off those Christmas calories? How about walking? Getting outside and walking in Britain is free, easy and accessible to most of us.
We’ve already seen 2016 prove to be a big year for the outdoor enthusiast with the nation either donning their running shoes or walking boots to #GetOutside.
With the year coming to an end we’ve taken a look back at the most popular destinations searched by walkers on our popular OS Maps online service. An amazing 1.4 million destination searches were carried out via our online version of OS Maps in 2016. So, where were people hoping to explore?
Northumberland National Park are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and volunteer David Wilson is walking the entire length of the National Park, non-stop, later this week to celebrate. On Friday, David will be showcasing the varied landscape of Northumberland National Park throughout his 28-hour trek, following a route created with OS data and being tracked on an OS map embedded on the Park’s website.
David will be setting off from the north of the Park at 7am on Friday 27 May and is hoping to arrive at the Walltown site at the southern-most tip of the Park at 10am on 28 May on his non-stop trek. The final route was created with the help of National Park GIS Officer Ed Hudspeth, using the OS data he has access to. Covering almost 70 miles the route covers stunning areas of the Park, including Yeavering Bell, Newton Tors, Cheviot and Hadrian’s Wall. It also covers the practical areas and takes in places that allow David access to food, water and other supplies.
Psst…did you know you could access OS Maps for free with our seven-day trial? We’re celebrating the full release of our multi-platform map service by giving you the chance to try it out and access maps for the whole of Great Britain.
If you haven’t heard of it before, OS Maps gives casual walkers, ramblers, runners, cyclists, mountaineers and other outdoor adventurers a way to plan and discover Britain. The free app includes our standard and aerial mapping to plot routes on, but with an annual subscription you can unlock a range of extra features – and try them for free for seven days in our trial.
Looking for the perfect gift for the map lover in your life this Christmas? How about the brand new OS calendar for 2016 which has just hit the OS shop? After receiving so many amazing photos in our OS Photofit competition (over 13,000 at the last check!), we wanted to share more of them with you. And, it’s the perfect way to raise some extra funds for our corporate charity, Holding Little Hands.
Tomorrow we’ll be launching 341 new OS Explorer maps, all with mobile download included for smart phone or tablet.
The new Explorers are following on from the sucessful launch of our the 62 Outdoor Leisure (OL) map titles earlier this year. We’ve seen over 15,000 downloads of the mobile maps since their release in June, with OS Maps app being accessed more than 70,000 in one week alone.
Originally published 21/05/2015, revised 01/06/2016
Over the last 12 months we have continued to develop our online mapping system, OS Maps. With some great basic features and advanced options for subscribers, it’s probably one of the best tool for planning off-road activities available.
Now available in your web browser and as an app for Android and Apple phones and tablets, you can view and print maps OS maps for free, plan routes, discover routes created by others, check weather and much more.