OS OnDemand


Eight new things from Ordnance Survey in 2013

We’ve had a busy 2013 so far and there have been a number of new Ordnance Survey products and services released. We thought we’d give you a round-up of our eight  great new and updated products and services of 2013 so far.

OS MapFinder for iOS devices

Our OS MapFinder app for iOS devices launched in January, providing a free-to-download navigation app for walkers, cyclists and more. With over 120,000 downloads of the app in three months, it’s proved very popular and thousands more have downloaded map tiles for the areas they want to explore. We’re currently working on an Android version of the app and we’ll let you know when that’s available. In the meantime, find out more about OS MapFinder for iOS.

Building on the success of OS MapFinder, we recently launched the OS OpenSpace SDK for iOS. Through the new software development kit (SDK), developers can quickly and easily add detailed Ordnance Survey maps to their applications on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The powerful and fast SDK provides a number of significant benefits for both the developer and the end users, including quick rendering and offline mapping, meaning that apps can still function even without a mobile signal. Get started on our website.

Continuing the open theme, we released OS Terrain 50 in April, adding to our OS OpenData product portfolio. Users and developers can now access a new fully maintained analytical height product called OS Terrain 50, available in grid and contour format. You can view and download the product on our website.

In June OS Terrain 5 joined our new height portfolio. Offering maintained national coverage and available in both grid and contour formats, OS Terrain 5 depicts the shape of Great Britain’s landscape. Presented as a Digital Terrain Model (DTM), OS Terrain 5 adds the third dimension to analytical applications such as flood risk assessment and infrastructure development.

We launch the next iteration of our Linked Data service in June at: http://data.ordnancesurvey.co.uk. The improved service is easy to use and access, adhering to new standards and making the data more open.

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Styling maps made easy

At Ordnance Survey we are committed to ensuring that our products are as easy to use as possible.

There is a growing need for our customers and partners to visually present our vector products in a suitable style, increasingly when it comes to serving mapping over the internet. For example, many companies serve Ordnance Survey maps via their Intranet service. Setting up these types of web-based services can be quite a time consuming process. Once all the geographic data has been loaded into a suitable database it can often take a while to apply the cartography – the visual portrayal of the data.

Understanding this, in December last year we released a set of Styled Layer Descriptors (SLDs) as one approach to help reduce the time and resource needed to properly apply cartographic styling. SLDs are commonly used in conjunction with a web server to style data for a web map service (WMS). Our SLDs have been developed in an open structured format and can also be converted to desktop GIS readable style sheets, enabling vector products to reflect the familiar Ordnance Survey look and feel.

Making sense of the data – styling Meridian 2 using our SLDs (raw data on the left vs. styled data on the right)

The SLDs can be downloaded free of charge under an open license which allows the modification of map features e.g. changing the colour of roads. They are available for all the products that we serve through our own WMS, OS OnDemand, including OS MasterMap Topography Layer and OS VectorMap Local.

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OS OnDemand is expanding web service access options

Our OS OnDemand web map service delivers data over the internet directly to our customers, wherever and whenever it’s needed. We have two versions of the service, a web map service (WMS), typically for geographical information system (GIS) access and and a web map tile service (WMTS), up to now accessed only on a browser using our API.

From today, in response to a growing customer need, our WMTS has been upgraded to full OGC standard, enabling users to access via a GIS as well as web browser.

OS VectorMap Local in OS OnDemand

In addition to API access, where you add our API into your web application’s html code, WMTS now supports access for:

  • OGC WMTS tile requests
  • XYZ style tile requests

All things open at Ordnance Survey – using open source GIS

Last week we presented at the fourth Open Source GIS conference at the Nottingham Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham. The annual conference provides a platform for people from across government, academia, industry and open source communities to network and share ideas for future collaborative work in open source, open standards and open data geospatial technologies.

So…for the benefit of those of us that aren’t sure what open source is, well, it is often described as being a way of working that allows the source code for software applications to be made freely and openly available, encouraging a public and collaborative approach to the ongoing development and enhancement of the software. This ensures that everybody can contribute to, and benefit from, these developments.

Image: Nottingham Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham

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South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue using OS OnDemand

It’s always good to see how organisations are making use of our data especially when it’s being used to make services more effective and potentially save the tax payer money.  However, our favourite examples are when you can see the obvious benefit that our data can bring and with emergency services examples, the improved capability and information always has the potential to save someone’s life.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) has become one of the first public sector customers of a ground-breaking new ‘on-demand’ service from Ordnance Survey. The OS OnDemand Web Map Tile Service (WMTS-like) will help SYFR to implement a single web based view of their location data across a range of systems and platforms from fire incident data to the location of fire hydrants to improve the accessibility of its operational information.

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