‘Make Your Mark’ interactive painted map

Working with Solent Showcase Gallery, we’ve supported Southampton-based illustrator and mural artist Nathan Evans in illustrating a map of Southampton on the floor. We caught up with Nathan to hear a bit more about his process and how he found painting a map…

As an artist specialising in typography, my work usually focuses on lettering. The opportunity to explore something new is what originally sparked my interest about the ‘Make Your Mark’ project. I work in lettering because you can create an immediate and clear connection with the viewer, and I feel this way about maps too. They seem to be able to seamlessly connect to an audience and evoke a pure emotional response to the sense of place that we all feel.

It was really exciting for me to have OS on board as a partner and, as Southampton is the home of their HQ, it worked perfectly to have their support on mapping the city. Read More


Go! Rhinos

In celebration of its 40th anniversary this year, Hampshire’s Marwell Wildlife is bringing a world-class mass public art event to Southampton.

The Go! Rhinos event, will take place in the city over a 10-week period this summer. Southampton will be the home to a herd of sponsored rhino sculptures, which will be placed at various locations across the city centre to form a rhino trail.

Various organisations will be sponsoring the rhino sculptures, and the rhinos will be decorated by local professional artists, providing a unique design on each piece – part of the fun will be following the trail and choosing your favourite rhino!

Reggie the rhino and some friends

As well as providing the opportunity to showcase local artistic talent, the event encourages outdoors exploration, whilst raising significant funds for local charities; Marwell Wildlife, The Rose Road Association and Wessex Heartbeat’s High 5 Appeal.

Ordnance Survey will be involved in a variety of ways. We are sponsoring one of the rhinos, which will be forming part of the rhino trail, and will be producing the official Southampton trail map. We’ll also be plotting the route of the rhinos online using OS OpenSpace data.

Read More


Mapping experts set to arrive in Southampton

Senior representatives and leaders from mapping organisations from across the world are about to descend on Southampton next week.

They’re here for the The Cambridge Conference – so named because of its historic ties to the city – which this year is taking place at our new head office in Southampton. It is a unique occasion, giving top international experts the chance to discuss developments in mapping, changes in technology and issues of global importance.

Professor Nigel Shadbolt will be chairing a session on open data

Read More


Mapping the Southampton Blitz 70 years on

Damage to Ordnance Survey's London Road building

Damage to Ordnance Survey’s London Road building

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Blitz, and whilst for some people the word might be almost synonymous with the bombing of London, many other towns and cities across the country also suffered terribly from Luftwaffe attacks.

One of those was Southampton. As an important dockyard on the south coast of England, home of the Supermarine factory and birthplace of the Spitfire, it was a prime target.

During the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940, the Southampton Blitz reached its climax as the city came under sustained attack. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, whilst on 30 November alone some 634 individual properties were left ablaze – including our then head office on London Road.

A report by the Ministry of Food describes how the resulting destruction “equalled anything so far in aerial attack on this country” but even so, it is very hard to now comprehend the scale of the damage, let alone the impact it had on the people who lived through it.

So with the help of The National Archives and Southampton City Council, we’ve built a map using OS OpenSpace that pinpoints where 712 of the bombs fell based on records from the time. We hope that by seeing the bomb sites overlaid on modern mapping, it will help people better relate to the scale of the damage and the courage and suffering of those who lived through it.

You can clearly see the heavy concentration of direct hits around the docks and industrial areas in Woolston and Itchen, as well as the city centre itself.

Read More


Visiting the Director General’s House

Vanessa Lawrence, our Director General recently paid a visit to a particularly special building in Southampton. 15 Rockstone Place is near the centre of the city and is now the home of a solicitors firm, but it for many years it had a very close association with Ordnance Survey as the ‘Director General’s House’.

Vanessa at the Director General's House

Vanessa at the Director General’s House

The house was built in 1840, and was one of the last projects of Samuel Toomer, who died in 1842 at the age of only 41. It was originally called Avenue House and for the next 25 years it served as a private residence. Read More