If you hadn’t heard about it before, Digimap for Schools is a fantastic service available to all schools in Great Britain, giving teachers and pupils access to a wide range of our maps, from our most detailed dataset, OS MasterMap, to the famous OS Explorer mapping at 1:25,000 scale which is ideal for outdoor activity. Now Digimap for Schools has added a new historic map layer, extending its potential for use in schools across a wider spectrum of the national curriculum.
The new historic map layer features our maps from the 1890s and covers the whole of Great Britain. Teachers and pupils can overlay the historic maps over current mapping and compare changes in the landscape in their areas and beyond, including changes like those in Sandbanks, shown below.
It’s that time of year when many children and parents (and teachers!) are looking towards the summer holidays. And while those spending time in a school will think they know it insider-out – would they recognise it on a map? Changes to school buildings form a part of the 5,000 changes a day Ordnance Survey capture as we maintain the master map of Great Britain.
We’ve also recently launched OS MasterMap Sites Layer, which provides customers with an easy way to identify an extent that includes all the real-world features that form part of the function of that school on a map. For example, the extent of a school is most commonly made up of buildings, playing fields and associated car parks. You can find out more about it here.
Some schools have been in use for a very long time and are also in historic buildings and popular locations, making them a little easier to spot. We’ve picked eight well-known public schools in Great Britain, using OS MasterMap. Can you name the schools? Post your answers on the blog and we’ll let you know the correct answers later.
To celebrate the official launch of the Wales Coast Path on 5 May 2012, Ordnance Survey has created a new map showing the entire country of Wales including the coastline at 1:25 000 scale. Nothing exciting in that, you might think, except that this one is pretty huge!
In fact, it’s massive!
At 10 metres by 8 metres, this isn’t one you’ll be talking out with you on a walk. This is one that you can walk on.
And people have been walking on it in their hundreds. Initially, shown to the public at the Cardiff launch event for the Wales Coast Path, hundreds of people can now say they have walked all over Wales.
Over the last week, it’s been on display in the Ordnance Survey head office in Southampton for staff to see and it’s proved very popular with staff sharing their favourite walks and recommending holiday destinations. We also let our older nursery children have a look and you can see how much fun they had!
Regular blog readers will be aware of the work we do to support the teaching of geography in schools. It’s an important area for us and we are keen to support teachers to inspire children to learn about the benefit and use of geography particularly through our joint project with Edina – Digimap for Schools.
We also sponsor some awards which recognise the commitment and passion shown by Geography teachers. This week, two outstanding teachers have been recognised by being presented with the Ordnance Survey Award for excellence in secondary geography teaching by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). They received their awards from Ordnance Survey’s Director General and Chief Executive, Vanessa Lawrence CB.
Our Education team have been running a series of twilight workshops for teachers aimed at showing them how to make the best use of Ordnance Survey’s mapping in the classroom. The most recent sessions have been for teachers in Southampton and Hampshire, but there are plans to take them out across the country if there is enough demand.
With the fourth workshop recently completed, we thought you might like to find out about how geography is taught in schools these days as it’s changed quite a bit from my schooldays when we all pored over (and fought over) a large paper map. A very precious and much revered Ordnance Survey map at 1:25 000 scale showing contours and footpaths was shared amongst a gaggle of teenagers trying hard to identify the map symbols and work out why things were where they were.
This week is ‘Walk to School Week,’ a national initiative designed to encourage parents to ditch the car and get their kids walking. The campaign is run by Living Streets, the national charity which campaigns for pedestrians. They aim to help create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets, where people want to walk.
Now, I’m sure there are very few people who would object to the idea of getting children to be more active whilst getting some school run vehicles off the road. That’s good news for everyone involved. It saves money, lowers congestion, pollution and is great exercise.
But I can understand why some parents are reluctant to let their children walk to school alone. Roads are dangerous places, particularly early in the morning. And with that in mind I was reminded to something going on in Daventry.
We were really pleased when Digimap for Schools won Gold in the annual Geographical Association Awards recently. The award was made in recognition of the fact that it represents a major step forward in the way schools can access and use Ordnance Survey maps. The pupil-friendly web service gives access to all the mapping scales that a school needs to teach geography, including providing full access our most detailed mapping of the whole of Great Britain to schools for the first time.
Maps can be used on personal computers and interactive whiteboards and can be printed or saved at A4 or A3 size. All output carries a watermark, the name of the school and copyright information, providing complete assurance to teachers that they are complying with the license terms and conditions.
Digimap for Schools has been developed by EDINA, University of Edinburgh, who are also responsible for mapping services to higher education. EDINA are working closely with the geography teaching community to enhance Digimap for Schools in line with their needs, with the first enhancements due in a few weeks time.
Any teachers wanting to find out more about Digimap for Schools should visit: www.digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk
When we were planning the move to our new head office, we had quite a dilemma over how to dispose of our excess furniture in as environmentally friendly a way as possible.
We were moving from a block purpose built for our needs in the 1960s, with space for over 3,500 people, to a new head office, planned and built for around 1,000 people. This meant we had excess racking and shelves, desk screens, filing cabinets, cupboards, desks, desk chairs, meeting chairs, plan chests, pedestals, soft seating, plants and much more. While some certainly seemed to be reusable, other items, once unbolted from walls and floors and moved, would be of little use to anyone.
Have you come across this problem in the past? How did you deal with it? We worked with a company called Go Green Reprocess Ltd to ensure our excess furniture was disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. As well as recycling every scrap of material they possibly can, Go Green Reprocess work to sell and donate reusable items in the local community. In total, they processed some 17 895 items for us, amounting to 484.6 tonnes – and not one piece of our furniture went to landfill.
In fact, around 20% of the furniture was either sold or donated for reuse. Some 30 organisations benefitted, most local to our Southampton head office, and a handful local to Go Green Reprocess’ base in Shropshire. The rest of the furniture was then stripped apart (often a painstaking task, I’m told) and recycled.
While we know a number of contacts at local schools and charities, Go Green Reprocess spread the net much wider and contacted 123 schools in the area as well as many local charitable groups. They arranged viewing of the items available and then collated lists of requested items and arranged collection times. Local organisations that received donations included Romsey District Scouts, Nursling and Rownhams Village Hall, Hounsdown School and Oakwood Primary School.
Go Green Reprocess have already had some great feedback:
There is no budget allowance for this type of equipment in schools at the moment, therefore the school really do appreciate the generosity of Ordnance Survey and Go Green. Thank you for your help.
Doreen Longman, Community Development Officer, Hounsdown School
Thank you so much for allowing us to collect items from the clearance at Ordnance Survey, we are extremely grateful. I attach our certificate of thanks…
David Sutton, Vice President, Romsey District Scouts