The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s certainly a cross-team effort to create and maintain an OS OpenData product within OS. So, in addition to our surveying teams capturing changes across Britain and adding them to the 500 million features in our geospatial database, we caught up with some of the people who work on OS VectorMap District, our customisable backdrop map.
Creating and releasing OS VectorMap District
A couple of months ahead of a new release of OS VectorMap District, Derek Howland and our ‘GenIE’ team extract the data from our core database. We use this core large-scale data to derive OS VectorMap District so that OS OpenData customers can benefit from our meticulous revision policy and enjoy access to open data which is consistent and up-to-date across the whole of Great Britain. The sheer volume of this data means we process it in ‘partitions’ (created using the national road network) and then ‘stitch’ the data back together.
After processing, the data is stored and validated, to ensure consistency of content and currency. Edits which are identified by the system are manual edited in the Cartography team using their wide range of skills and knowledge to resolve any critical non-conformances in the content store data. This is fairly minimal – affecting about 650 features out of 24.5 million features in the content store!
Today’s guest blog is from Oliver O’Brien, a researcher in spatial analysis and geovisualisation at UCL CASA, working on the BODMAS (Big Open Data Mining & Synthesis) project which is led by Dr James Cheshire and funded by
ESRC. Oliver blogs regularly at http://oobrien.com/ about spatial analysis and visualisations of London and other research projects.
Ordnance Survey’s open data has been incredibly useful for a number of city data visualisations. As an academic researcher, I have access to the gold-standard OS MasterMap data for teaching and research purposes here at the CASA lab at University College London. But the ease of access to OS OpenData, and the flexible and lightweight licence, means I can quickly and effectively visualise data for any purpose and audience, be it for blog posts, online maps or even artworks. Here’s four ways I’ve used one of the most interesting datasets in OS Open Data – the buildings layer in OS VectorMap District.
We recruited a number of summer interns this year and one of them, Joseph Braybook, spent his time with our Innovation Labs team. An avid fan of the Minecraft video game, he suggested building a Minecraft world using OS OpenData products. In just two weeks Joe created a Minecraft world representing over 224,000 square kilometers of Great Britain* and now we’re making it available so you can download and explore!
If you’re not one of Minecraft’s 33 million active users, it’s a game set in virtual 3D worlds made up of cubes of different materials. Players build shelters, make things from raw materials and fend off a variety of monsters. Minecraft worlds are often computer generated, though dedicated players have also created meticulous recreations of real and imagined environments such as Hogwarts castle.
There’s a twist to our usual ‘just for fun’ map extract quiz today as we celebrate the 2012-13 Premier League Champions. We have a 2012-13 season Manchester United football shirt personalised with O’Survey on the back to give away.
Wondering why we have an O’Survey Manchester United shirt? The club has used one of our OS OpenData products, OS VectorMap District on their website. They have released a video guide to Manchester and changed the colour of the mapping to match their kit colours. You can see the guide on their website if you are a member, or check the image below if not. As a thank you for using our data, they personalised a shirt for us – and we’d like to give it away to a football and mapping fan!
All you need to do is take a look at the map extracts below, featuring our OS MasterMap products, and tell us:
- the eight football clubs; and
- the link between them.
Recently we told you about the new OS OpenData Award that we’re providing to the British Cartographic Society, offering you the chance to win an Apple iPad. Today we bring you a guest blog from one of our Cartographic Designers, Charley Glynn, who has used one of our freely available products to map all five of our head offices from 1791 to the present day:
As cartographic designers,my team and I get a lot of opportunity to design and develop topographic maps. We’re very familiar with making leisure maps and creating custom styles for contextual maps which is why we are particularly excited when we get the opportunity to submit work into map galleries. They give us the chance to build on our own map ideas, exercise our creativity and try out new tools and techniques. One such gallery is being hosted at the FOSS4G 2013 conference, the global conference for free and open source software for geospatial use, organised by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. With that and our new BCS OS OpenData Award in mind I decided to take this opportunity to create something different from my ‘norm’.
Launching today, 22 March 2013, OS VectorMap District Version 1.0 delivers an enhanced user experience over our previous beta version through the provision of additional formats and styling tools. It has been designed for viewing either as a map on its own or as a contextual backdrop to your own data, enabling you to share information more effectively.
OS VectorMap District Version 1.0 is created and maintained from a large scale database and offers an improved representation of features such as roads, roundabouts and railways. The beta version was voted winner in its category at the 2011 British Cartographic Society Awards.
OS VectorMap District Version 1.0 will be freely available under OS OpenData terms.
The beta release of OS VectorMap District was voted winner in its category at the 2011 British Cartographic Society Awards which form part of the society’s annual symposium.
The judges awarded us Winner of the 2011 Avenza Award for Electronic Mapping.
The award was presented to two of our cartographers at the event’s gala dinner at Shrigley Hall, near Macclesfield. The panel of highly regarded cartographers described our entry as ‘a top-quality base map that is clear and easy to use, displaying class-leading cartography’.
- OS VectorMap District is a map on which you can overlay your own information. It can also be customised by selecting and styling different features in different ways. Ideal for creating web applications, OS VectorMap District contains only the most important information to give you a clear, uncluttered backdrop map.
The question on many people’s lips is will this country ever be ready for snow?
As stranded motorists are forced to spend 13 hours or more in their cars in Scotland, controversy is raging over whether the Government has done all it could to avoid the country once again grinding to a standstill.
However, there is one thing that has definitely got better since the heavy snows last winter, with an increase in councils using mapping to show which routes are being gritted. It’s another example, like our recent Blitz map of Southampton, of how geography can be used to help communicate information in a way that’s clear and meaningful.
Mapping gritting routes by Nottinghamshire County Council
This map, using OS VectorMap District, details main routes, severe weather routes and primary routes and how and when they are gritted. Complete with postcode, street or town name search function.
Gritting route data for Birmingham, Solihull and Walsall
Mappa Mercia uses OpenStreetMap to show which roads in the West Midlands are gritted as well as the location of known grit bins, with the functionality to add bins yourself.
Have you come across any other examples?
I think most of us have played Monopoly at some point in our lives and we all know that friend or family member who can be a bit liberal at their banking…does the thought of taking more than 200 Monopoly dollars to pass “Go” ring any bells? But have you ever wondered where “Go” actually is?
The rest of the board game is well-labelled and “Go” actually sits between Mayfair and Old Kent Road – but where is it? Monopoly celebrated its 75th anniversary on Wednesday and we joined forces with them to pinpoint the location of “Go”.
“Go” is actually centred on Lambeth North Tube Station, close to Queen’s Walk, where Monopoly held their celebration event. As well as locating “Go” we worked with Monopoly to create a bespoke map: from the range of free Ordnance Survey data available within OS OpenData, OS VectorMap District was chosen as the base for the new map.
Highly customisable, OS VectorMap District was stripped back to basics to allow for the Monopoly data to be added and overlaid. The map of London was quickly transformed to highlight the roads and areas shown on the Monopoly board before adding the locations and the title deeds for each property and station.
It was fantastic fun to work with Monopoly and as well as plotting “Go” on the map we also marked the locations of all the other Monopoly board positions. The final ‘Monopoly map’ looks great and really brings the game to life, giving it a whole new dimension.
Visit OS OpenData to create and connect exciting ideas, applications and datasets.
By now you some of you will have started to play with the latest addition to OS OpenData – OS VectorMap District. We’re very keen to know what you make of it, what’s good and what could be done better. It is an Alpha release and is the first product we’ve produced using some new generalisation software so please be forgiving with it! We will be making changes and improvements based on your feedback so it really is worth letting us know what you think, either here on the blog, as you did in my last OS OpenData post or by tweeting us at @ordnancesurvey.
Richard and Rob from the product team have made this short video to talk in a little more detail about the product, how we think it could be used, and why we wanted to make it freely available through OS OpenData.
It’s now also almost 7 weeks since OS OpenData was launched to much excitement both here at Ordnance Survey and in the outside world. I read lots of blogs (including this excellent post from Steven Feldman) and tweets at the time, some from people asking whether it was all really an April Fool’s joke. Well you can all let out a collective sigh of relief because OS OpenData is real and is here to stay. And once the launch day jitters were sorted it’s been a great first few weeks, with a flood of data being downloaded, viewed and ordered.
Its early days but there have already been some mash-ups and apps created. Here are a selection:
·Comparing OpenStreetMap with Meridian 2
·Getting Code Point Open into Google Earth
·emapsite custom delivery service
So, it’s been a good start and now it’s over to you. What are you using OS OpenData for?