Do you know your stately homes?

The popularity of the ITV series Downton Abbey, has lead to a dramatic increase in visitors to Highclere Castle, the Berkshire stately home where the series is filmed. It seems that the writer of the series, Julian Fellowes, was a long-standing friend of the Carnarvon family, owners of Highclere Castle, and had it in mind as he wrote Downton Abbey.

Of course, there are many stately homes, and historic ruins, around the country that are worth a visit. Some are in private ownership, while some belong to the National Trust and other organisations. Many also afford the opportunity to enjoy a walk around their grounds and the surrounding countryside, a great way to see somewhere new and enjoy the great outdoors at the same time.

These historic buildings are captured by our team of surveyors or through aerial imagery and available on our mapping. They are far more substantial than the average home, but would you recognise one on a map? We’ve chosen eight properties from across Great Britain to test your knowledge on stately homes. Post your answers on the blog and we’ll see if you’re an historic homes buff! And no, Highclere Castle isn’t one of the featured properties!

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Time for some geo-fun

We’ve enjoyed writing quizzes and finding images to test your mapping knowledge this year – so whether you’re sat at home and feeling too full to move after the festive feasting or at work and wishing you weren’t, have a go at some of the geo-fun from 2011.

Try our map symbol game – simply swap one map symbol with an adjacent one to create a line of three or more identical symbols horizontally or vertically.

Do you know your map symbols? – How well do you think you know the symbols that appear on our OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps?

A location challenge when addressing fraud – do you recognise these well-known places on a map?

Play spot the difference with our Cartography team – have you got what it takes to be a cartographer?


The return of the map symbols quiz

Back by popular demand…welcome to the second edition of our map symbols quiz. In the past tree symbols were hand drawn by our cartographers, later symbols were ‘stuck’ to the map by hand and now, of course, the symbols are added by our cartographers via computer systems.

When you’re out and about using our well-known OS Landranger and OS Explorer Maps – do you know what all of the symbols mean? They’re there to give you valuable information about the environment you’re in.

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Try our new map symbol game

We thought we’d have a little geo-fun this week and have a map symbol game for you to try out.

To play Map Symbol Slide, you simply swap one map symbol with an adjacent one to create a line of three or more identical symbols horizontally or vertically. As symbols disappear, new symbols will slide down to fill their space.
The game is over when no more moves can be made.

Let us know how you get on and post your high scores on the blog.



Football ground map quiz

Next week sees a number of FA Cup round one replays taking place, with round two kicking off from 2 December. While many football fans will recognise a picture of their team’s stadium and be able to recite all the stats and facts and figures – would you recognise your local ground on a map?

Our team makes some 5,000 changes each day to the master map of Great Britain and thanks to the work of our 300 surveyors and an extensive aerial photography programme, significant changes are ‘on the map’ within six months of them appearing.

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A location challenge when addressing fraud

Where am I?

Last week we exhibited at the annual Welfare to Work conference at the Business Design Centre in London. The event, in its fourth year, gave our government team a chance to showcase the new AddressBase range of products, which were launched at the beginning of October and made available to all public sector bodies via the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA).

The focus of the event was to educate delegates on the important role that accurate addressing information can play in tackling fraud. Every year in the UK, fraud costs public services an estimated £21 billion.

Our team were highlighting how delegates can combine their own department’s intelligence and third-party information with Ordnance Survey location data to become more effective in preventing, detecting, highlighting and acting on fraudulent claims.

Visitors to our stand were also set a location challenge to identify the addresses or buildings of eight well known landmarks featured. Can you identify the locations of the mapping clips? We’ll give you some clues if you struggle!

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Do you know your map symbols?

It’s time for one of our famous quizzes…this week we’re testing your knowledge of map symbols. How well do you think you know the symbols that appear on our OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps? They are there to help you get the most out of your outdoor experience – whether it’s guiding you to the nearby campsite or helping you to the nearest bus station as you can’t face the walk back to your car!

Test yourself on you map symbol knowledge, post your answers on the blog and we’ll let you know how you’ve scored:

Map symbols quiz

Aside from highlighting tourist and leisure information, map symbols also provide vital information to let map readers know what to expect on the terrain they’re crossing. Information ranges from the kind of vegetation you can expect to encounter to detail on roads, public rights of way and even different rock features.


Our first annual festive geography quiz

frustrationThinking about winding down the grey matter as Christmas approaches? Well think again, as it’s time for our first annual (hopefully) festive geography quiz! To be honest, the questions aren’t very festive but they most definitely are geography related.

Alas in the age of austerity the only prize we can offer is a sense of pride at being a geography wizard and generally more intelligent than everyone else.

The first person to leave all the correct answers as a comment will be officially crowned as the winner – thinking caps on and try not to resort to Google immediately! And you never know, just some of the answers might be lurking in previous blog posts…

1. What name do islands in England, Scotland and Wales all share?

2. Britain’s longest river rises in Wales; what is it called?

3. Which islands lie between Iceland and the Shetland Islands?

4. Which area of land in England is administered by Verderers?

5. What is the most easterly point of mainland Great Britain, and which OS Landranger Map is it on? – OSGB grid reference please!

6. What is the length of the coastline of Great Britain, including all major islands, at Mean High Water at 1:10,000 scale, to the nearest 10 kilometres?

7. What is England’s Second Largest Cathedral?

8. Why is Sixpenny Handley, Dorset, so called?

9. Name the three towns or cities that have contained Ordnance Survey’s Headquarters?

And finally,

10. What was the first map to contain the words Ordnance Survey?

[Image by Sybren A. Stüvel via Flickr]