OS OpenData


Mapping a personal journey with OS OpenData

As part of our #OSDeveloper series, we’re bringing you a guest blog by Liam Mason, spatial analyst and cartographer for the Scottish Government.

A LEGO representation of author (made by author)After months living and working at home, I decided to stretch my legs and walk the West Highland Way, a long distance route from Milngavie to Fort William and one of Scotland’s Great Trails.

Following 96 miles of ancient paths such as drovers’ and military roads, the route passes from the suburbs of Scotland’s largest city, along the shores of the UK’s largest lake, crossing the remains of a supervolcano, before arriving at the UK’s largest peak.


To commemorate my walk, I wanted to make a map. I’d tracked my efforts using a GPS watch, so I had a wealth of data. Points, tracks, distance, pace, heart rate, elevation… So much data it was a bit overwhelming. What was important for the narrative? What style was I looking for? Read More


OS OpenData products now available in GeoPackage format

Four of our OS OpenData products are now available in GeoPackage format – an open standard from the Open Geospatial Consortium.

Following positive feedback on the GeoPackage format trial, where many of you asked us for a greater choice of formats, we made a commitment to make our data more accessible, interoperable and quicker to use.

On 10 April we released these four OS OpenData products in GeoPackage format, in addition to their existing formats:

  • OS Open Greenspace
  • OS VectorMap District
  • OS Terrain 50
  • Code-Point Open

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that this list is longer than we originally announced. We hope to continue expanding the number of products available in additional formats. Read More


How Geovey built on their Geovation Challenge success

If you’re working in the geo industry, you may have heard about Nautoguide and their product Geovey. The former Geovation Challenge winners have expanded from mapping the Battle of Jutland to working with local government and even supplying a feedback service for our OS Open Greenspace product. Dave Barter from Nautoguide tells their story.

We’ve been working closely with OS recently as we won a public tender to supply feedback services for OS Open Greenspace, which launched in 2016. This challenging project saw us work with OS’ brand, design ethos and data requirements to build a feedback system in under two months. This is now live and operational in 19 local authorities and 5 OS field offices with new organisations added each week, and helping OS update OS Open Greenspace.

OS Open Greenspace showing Southsea

This is a huge step onwards from winning a £29,000 grant through OS’ Geovation Challenge on “Helping people to live in better places”. For this we conceived Geovey, a mapping platform designed for public engagement, crowdsourcing, consultation and richer citizen involvement. To our delight we were invited to pitch our idea to the Geovation judges and eventually won the grant, along with mentoring and support from OS. Read More


Find your nearest allotment for #NationalAllotmentWeek with open data

National Allotment Week kicked off yesterday, celebrating the hard work that volunteers, councils and organisations put in on all of the sites across the country.  To mark the week, allotment groups are opening their gates and holding barbecues, plant and produce sales, allotment tours, competitions and exhibitions, coffee mornings and afternoon teas – many of them raising funds to support local charities.

Allotments are a fantastic way to #GetOutside and enjoy some fresh air, meet new people, and grow your own fruit and vegetables. The National Allotment Society say that 30 minutes of gardening on your allotment can burn around 150 calories, the same as doing low impact aerobics. Plus, allotments provide essential habitats for wildlife. Just 1 square metre of land can support hundreds of different species.

Did you know?

In our OS Open Greenspace map covering Great Britain, there are 12,107 allotments and community growing spaces, measuring up 135 km2 of land. That breaks down into:  Read More


Premier League map art

The 2016/17 English Football Premier League season is over and what a great season it has been.

Chelsea are champions for the sixth time while Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull have been relegated. Tottenham Hotspur say a fond farewell to White Hart Lane after 118 years and finish the season in second. West Ham started life at the London Stadium and finished the season in a respectable 11th place.

To mark the end of the season, the GeoDataViz team have created a one-off visual of all 20 locations for each of the Premier League stadiums. Each of the stadiums have been mapped using OS Open-Map Local and styled using the team colours.

Have a look for your favourite team below in the final league table or view and download a poster of all 20 stadium locations.

The 2016/17 Premier League Table

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OS OpenData celebrates 7th anniversary

Blog by Tim Newman, OS OpenData Product Manager

This month sees us celebrate the seventh anniversary of the launch of OS OpenData. This was a big milestone for us as we released 11 of our mapping and analytical datasets under open licensing. Each day, 150 different people download data from our portal taking, on average, two products each. This adds up to over 400,000 orders placed since the launch of OS OpenData in 2010 and an enormous 1.9 million downloads in total.

OS Open Map-Local

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OS OpenData used for a cycling and mapping challenge

Guest blog by Tony Payne

Tony's map created using OS OpenData and overlaid on Google Maps

Tony’s map created using OS OpenData and overlaid on Google Maps

The map on the right shows all the hills in the Cotswolds with over 14% gradient. I created it using a range of OS OpenData products and you can see the original in Google Maps here.

Hill Quest – origins

I’m a keen road cyclist, and regularly ride with the Cheltenham and County Cycling Club. A fellow club member, Simon Boswell, announced his ‘Hill Quest’ – a quest to ride all the hills over 14% in the Cotswolds (14% being a single chevron on OS maps).

Simon had found around 140 hills by sitting down with his OS maps and looking for chevrons. I volunteered a corresponding ‘armchair quest’ to identify them by a database query. The resulting map has nearly 600 hills – more than enough to keep Simon quiet over the summer.

Zooming in on the map, each hill is identified with details such as maximum gradient and total climb. Hills are shown in green, with the 14% sections highlighted in red with a marker showing the start of the steep section.


Hill Quest – progress

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Work experience at OS and using OS OpenData

Guest blog by Victoria Synek Herd

I’m Victoria, and I’ve just finished a fantastic week of work experience at Ordnance Survey. I’m currently a Year 12 student at Colyton Grammar School in Devon, studying Geography, Biology, English and History at A Level.  I decided to come to the OS for work experience as I’m interested in studying Geography at university, and have always wanted an insight into the process behind producing maps. I cannot thank OS enough for such an insightful and fun experience.

Southampton OS VectorMap District

I was stationed in the Products team for the week where I had my own computer and workspace, and I started the week by testing out the OS OpenData ‘Simple Guides’ which explained how to use the OS OpenData on QGIS. I was a little apprehensive to start with, seeing as I was not at all familiar with downloading data or using QGIS, however I soon discovered the guides were easy to follow and gave a good foundation of understanding for the beginner. On completing the four guides, I knew how to create simple maps using several different types of opendata, including OS Open Map Local and OS VectorMap District. This provided a good platform for me to investigate the other sets of opendata available, and I enjoyed creating some of my own maps. Read More

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