As a full-time cartographer with previous experience as an ecologist, our guest blogger Dan Bell is a huge advocate of the outdoors. In his spare time, he enjoys fell/long distance running and is currently training to become a Mountain Leader in the Lake District! If that wasn’t enough, he also runs Middle Earth’s Maps. Here, he tells us how he has used (Ordnance Survey) OS data in his Tolkien-inspired mapping…
Why are maps useful?
Maps are a window into an unknown landscape. They are simplifications of an increasingly complex world, affording us the opportunity to plan our adventures, make memories, and inspire our curiosities. It is these three attributes of maps and map making that continually motivate my work, in my endeavour to explore the realms of fantasy map creation within a real-world setting.
In the months since lockdown restrictions around Great Britain began to be relaxed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Britons valued the chance to GetOutside. During that time, subscribers to OS Maps have logged almost 700,000 routes in the app, showing whereabouts in the country they’ve been outdoors.
OS is reminding people taking staycations this summer to be mindful and prepared of the dangers when adventuring outdoors.
It comes after Keswick Mountain Rescue reported there had been a surge of avoidable callouts after unprepared holiday makers got into difficulties while venturing up mountains in the Lake District.
Nick Giles, Managing Director of OS Consumer, said: “It is fantastic that more people than ever are getting outside and exploring Great Britain and here at OS, we want to make sure that everyone does this safely and enjoys their adventures.
Having OS Maps downloaded to a mobile phone came in very handy for a walker who found himself completely stuck in mud on a cliff bank near Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire.
Aged 20, Barney Lee was seven weeks into a 6,000 mile-charity walk around the coast of Britain when he arrived at a beach between Barton and Highcliffe. Hoping to find a shortcut for the Mudeford ferry to Bournemouth, Barney followed footprints along a track which became wilder and less clear.
Back in May, we supported the launch of Places of Poetry with a blog about the project with details on how our mapping is involved. Led by poet and Radio 4 regular Paul Farley and academic Professor Andrew McRae, to celebrate National Poetry Day Andrew has kindly written a guest blog for us…
Thousands of subscribers to OS Maps have been out in force wandering the streets of London over the summer months – providing some revealing insights for us here at OS.
So many of you have poured out of tube stations, alighted from buses and spilled out of car parks to get outside and enjoy the majesty, wonder and gorgeous green space of London.
Thousands of journeys have been unselfishly logged, recorded and shared as routes in the phone and web app, whether that be cycle routes, gentle strolls or epic walks. And the data has thrown up some interesting results.
The number one place to start a walk in London this year – and end it – was Richmond station.
Top ten places in London where people start a route
As maps can be relevant to pretty much any subject, we are very fortunate to be able to support some amazing projects – and Places of Poetry is no exception!
Have you ever explored the outdoors and found yourself inspired by the beauty around you? Or have you found yourself poring over a map and had a place name spark your imagination? From iconic historical sites to places of personal significance, the Places of Poetry project invites you to write poems and pin them to their map!
Places of Poetry is asking us all to think about the history and environment around us. Through creative writing, the aim of the project is to celebrate the diversity, heritage and personalities of places across England and Wales to prompt reflection on our national and cultural identities. And of course, no project with a sense of place would be complete without an OS map!
Guest blog by OS product manager Tim Newman.
If you’ve spent any time hillwalking or learning basic navigation skills, then chances are you’ve heard of Naismith and his eponymous rule for estimating walking times. It enables you, armed only with a paper map and a piece of string, to predict your route time or assess whether you’re quicker heading straight over a hill, or taking a longer detour round it.
|Allow one hour for every three miles walked.
Add one hour for every 2000 ft of ascent.
Allow one hour for every five kilometres walked.
Add one hour for every 600 metres of ascent.
Despite a number of corrections that have been proposed over the years (e.g. to take into account fitness or slope gradient), Naismith’s Rule has remained a staple on navigation syllabi across the country and is still used by our digital mapping product OS Maps.
Our OS Maps users created over 300,000 public routes across Great Britain in 2018 (covering some 2,950,000 miles…) and we were curious to see where you most (and least) enjoy exploring. Our Data Scientist Andrew Radburn set to work analysing the data before our Data Visualisation expert Charley Glynn set to work to showcase the results.
Analysing OS Maps route data
Here at OS, we get asked some curiously specific questions by our Twitter followers. Our teams are always up for a challenge and, as this query required map exploration, who better to ask than our amazing Consultation and Technical Services (CaTS) team? Please see the query embedded below.
@OrdnanceSurvey Hello! An enquiry if I may…..what (and where) is the longest distance you can walk in a straight line in England/Wales/Scotland without crossing a road (defined as a paved surface for vehicular use)?? Planning a potential expedition. Ta!
— Roger Dalton (@100in7) November 15, 2018
Now, not only were our CaTS team able to identify the longest distance in Great Britain you can walk in a straight line without crossing a road (which consequently you may have read about in some newspaper articles), but as this was in Scotland, the team also decided to find the longest in both England and Wales too.