Our Director Peter ter Haar is running the London Marathon for MapAction

Guest blog from our Director of Products, Peter ter Haar, on training for the London Marathon in support of MapAction.

Peter Ter Haar profileThis year I will run the London Marathon for MapAction. I only got into running about 18 months ago; I was 51 years old, overweight and often tired for no real reason. I have never been into team sports, probably because as a kid I was always the tall one (6’5’’) that couldn’t control his limbs. Another excuse I used for being inactive was that in my career I have always been travelling a lot, so where would I find the time?

So where did I start? I’ve always been a bit of a geek, so the trend of ‘wearables’ (Fitbit, Jawbone Up!, Garmin Vivofit and many other step counters) was something I was happy to try, to see if it would make me more active. It worked for me; getting the step counter over 10,000 steps a day a few days a week was really cool. But that was not enough, so I dug out the running shoes that my wife and I bought over 10 years ago and I went out for a run. Being honest, I did injure myself a few times in the first six months. Read More


Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games map now available

ICE-commonwealth-games-mapThe World Cup, Wimbledon and British Grand Prix may be over, but the sporting extravaganza continues this summer, with the Commonwealth Games kicking off in Scotland next week. We’ve worked with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to create a special map which showcases Glasgow’s infrastructure works ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

The ‘Engineering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games’ map includes civil engineering firsts such as the Hampden Park surface raising, which lifted the surface six feet on metal stilts to accommodate the running track and athletics field. Read More


Mapping out the Pirelli Richard Burns Foundation Rally

Ordnance Survey data is used across businesses, government and by individuals, but we still enjoy hearing about different uses. When we saw a tweet from the Pirelli Richard Burns Foundation Rally saying they used our maps, we contacted Bev from the team to find out more.

Rikki Proffitt

To prepare for any rally we need to map out the routes through the forest that will be used at each stage – and this is where Ordnance Survey maps come in. We mark the routes out on the maps for each stage before the team head out into the forest, drive the routes on the maps and decide on the best route for each stage. Sometimes, none of them are quite right and it’s back to the maps to draw out a new route to test.

Once we have the stage routes, we then need to map out the road routes to make sure everyone knows the best route to reach each stage.

Once we’ve completed the stage and road routes and worked out the mileage, we work with Rally Maps as they produce official rally maps for the majority of UK rally’s.

In addition to the official maps, we also provide the rally teams with road books, which contain tulip diagrams (see picture) detailing both road routes and the stage routes.

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Name that rugby ground on a map

The Six Nations may have ended last month with victory for Wales, but the rugby season continues in earnest, as does the debate between rugby league and rugby union and which is best. While many rugby fans will recognise a picture of their local 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 250 surveyors and an extensive aerial photography programme, significant changes are ‘on the map’ within six months of them appearing.

These changes would include rugby grounds, of course, and to many of our surveyors and cartographers, the birds-eye view would render them instantly recognisable. But what about you? We’ve got some OS MasterMap extracts below showing the rugby grounds of eight teams, both league and union – can you tell us which teams? Post your answers on the blog and we’ll let you know the answers later.

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Football fan maps

We recently came across this great use of Ordnance Survey maps to display an answer to a very old question – where do the supporters of different football teams actually live?

This question has been debated for some time, but the Oxford Internet Institute came up with a great idea to solve it using digital media.

The team consisted primarily of Joshua Melville and Scott Hale and they created a map that displayed Twitter mentions (tweets) of Premiership football teams, using geo-tagging to show the fans locations. This was based on tweets/data collected between August 18 and December 19, 2012.

Initially the team used pinpoints or dots to show each tweet/mention, but the data quickly overwhelmed the map background, so the decision was made to aggregate the locations to post code areas. This proved a more effective way to display their findings although more processing/geographic data was needed to achieve this.

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Where are we?

The flying season for 2012 won’t be getting started for another month or so, and when it does, our Flying Unit will be taking off from their new home at East Midlands airport. In the meantime, we have plenty of aerial imagery databanked to give you a birds eye view of places across Great Britain.

Rugby fans amongst you will be only too aware that the RBS Six Nations championship kicks off in a fortnight. While many of you will have been lucky enough to visit our home nation’s stadiums – would you recognise one from the air? Our Flying Unit are often over sporting venues as part of their daily job, capturing the changes in our environment ready to be added to our geographic data and made available for our customers.

The stadium below will be in use during the tournament. As my home stadium, I recognised it instantly (although I’m afraid to say I’ve only been there for music events and never for sports)! We captured the image in April last year – can you name the stadium?

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Mapping England’s sporting behaviour

When it comes to sport, are you a Ben? Or a Tim? An Alison or a Chloe? Sadly, I don’t think I can claim to be a Chloe any longer, but I’m pretty sure my colleague is a Jamie!

Sport England have used Ordnance Survey data to help them develop an interesting market segmentation model and have identified 19 different groups with individual sporting characteristics – from Ben and Chloe to Elsie and Arnold.

Analyse sporting behaviour using OS OpenSpace

Analyse sporting behaviour using OS OpenSpace

They have created pen portraits of each group identifying key characteristics and messages that are likely to encourage them to get active. They hope it will help leisure providers to understand the attitudes, motivations and perceived barriers to sports participation. Read More