We’re heading to London on Friday to take part in a celebration of all things map, geo and cartographic at the British Library’s evening bash. And we’ve already blogged about the Tower of London being a former home to OS. Today we take a look at the staggering amount of change taking place in London, that our surveying team need to capture on foot and from the air.
Our surveyors and aircraft are constantly tracking the changing look of Britain and ensuring the 450 million geographic features in our database of the country are kept up to date. What do all the changes to London, its roads, its rail, its buildings look like over the last 10 years? Take a look in our video and find out:
Our surveying team were given a helping hand to capture the latest changes at Southampton General Hospital on Friday. Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, joined our surveyor Tony Vanderhoek to officially add the new hospital multi-storey car park to the geospatial database for Great Britain. During the visit the surveying duo also captured the modifications to the entrances at both the main hospital building and A&E.
Every day thousands of updates and amendments are made to Britain’s geospatial database, which contains over 500 million geographic features. We use a team of 250 surveyors, supported by aerial imagery, to survey and map the changing face of the nation. Using the latest GPS technology, our surveyors can map to centimetre accuracy, ensuring that Great Britain remains one of the most accurately mapped nations on the planet.
Have you been along to King’s Cross recently? Our surveyor Tony Killilea has been there regularly to capture the many changes taking place.
King’s Cross Station itself has been restored to its Victorian magnificence, and can claim to be one of London’s architectural treasures. And behind it, 27 hectares of former industrial land are being given a bright new future by the developer, Argent, who rely on our OS MasterMap Topography Layer for their base mapping. The development, straddling the revitalized Regent’s Canal, features ten new public squares, theatres, cinema, school, an arts college, supermarket, restaurants, restored gas holders, a skip garden, swimming pond, hundreds of offices and two thousand homes. So it is truly a mixed development.
A fitting surveying article for this time of year, as people head out to do the Christmas shopping…Bruce Ford and Paul Fozard mapped out the Victoria Gate arcade in Leeds. Find out how they went about adding such a large development to the database.
Over 18 months, the 50m high and 200m long Victoria Gate shopping precinct has risen from a 5-acre reclaimed site. Sandwiched between Leeds Bus Station and ‘The Headrow’, the new John Lewis department store, 800-bay multi-storey car park and sophisticated retail ‘street style’ arcade was constructed by Hammerson and cost £165 million. Field surveyors Bruce and Paul from our West Yorkshire team took up the inner-city prestige site task, armed with their GNSS equipment.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been sharing unusual surveying stories with you – from mapping chalk figures to lifeboat stations to the aftermath of a flood. All of these tasks form a part of the 10,000 changes a day taking place in our database of Great Britain. The variety of jobs faced by our 250+ surveyors is unending. We’ve compiled three of our recent favourites to share this week.
Surveying The Queen Mother
A new statue of The Queen Mother was unveiled as the centrepiece of Queen Mother Square, in Poundbury, Dorchester. The Poundbury development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. It’s an urban extension to Dorchester, built on the principles of architecture and urban planning as advocated by The Prince of Wales in ‘A Vision of Britain’. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall all visited on 27 October to unveil the new statue – already expertly mapped by OS surveyor Roger Lewis.
Putting a new Coastguard base on the map
Guest blog by surveyor Bill Cranna
As surveyors, we’re used to working in all aspects of the landscape, but a request from Registers of Scotland (RoS) was a little more unusual. Last winter saw enormous flooding along the River Dee, at Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire. The floods resulted in devastation along the length of the river and in particular, the town of Ballater. The local caravan park was completely swamped and over 30 mobile homes and their contents washed away. RoS asked us to survey 5km of riverbank to check the effects of the flooding.
Did you watch ITV’s Countrywise on Friday night? If you tuned in, you’ll have seen Ben Fogle being an honorary surveyor as it became Scafell Pike’s turn for a re-measure. It marked the finale of the re-measurement of Scotland, Wales and England’s famous three mountain highs – Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike.
G&J Surveys, the team that has made a hobby of measuring the heights of hills and mountains, is ten years old. And the Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH) celebrates its 15th birthday this year. John Barnard from G&J Surveys tells us why the two are linked and how they’ve been celebrating.
DoBIH was founded by Graham Jackson and Chris Crocker as a personal tool to help them log their own hill ascents. However, over the years DoBIH evolved into something much bigger with six editors and many hillwalkers supplying data. DoBIH log ten-figure grid references for the summits of hills and found that summit positions are not always so clearly known to warrant this level of accuracy. So G&J Surveys came into existence.
You’re thinking OS already measure the hills and mountains aren’t you? And they do. In moorland and mountain areas, OS generally use aerial photographs which measures heights to an accuracy of +/-3m. This means that the maps that are superbly fit for purpose if you’re out walking or climbing or cycling, but it can result in Corbetts suddenly becoming Munros! With the increasing popularity of hill bagging, the accuracy of hill lists was becoming more important.
Guest blog by Steve Jones, Production Manager Wales
Over the last few years, the RNLI have been replacing their current lifeboats with the new larger Tamar class. In some cases, this has meant new lifeboat stations being built to accommodate the new craft. And, in turn, this has affected us at OS, as our surveyors need to put the new buildings on the map. This summer was the turn of the St Davids LBS in Pembrokeshire, located to the west of the city at St Justinian – the departure point for Ramsey Island.
The St Davids Lifeboat has been in operation since 1869, with 330 lives saved and 4 of the brave crew lost in that time. In 1912 the current station was built to house the first motorised lifeboat and it has become one of Pembrokeshires iconic buildings. Nonetheless the new Tamar class proved too big to house, so a new station was built alongside.
Our surveying team are working across Britain on a daily basis, capturing all of the changes to our country. From new roads and housing estates to hospitals and shopping centres, the team map it all out. Our surveyor Keith Lanham was asked to survey a more unusual site recently, with particular significance on Remembrance Day.
This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Fovant Badges in Wiltshire. If you haven’t come across them before, they are regimental badges that were carved into the chalk downs above the village of Fovant by the soldiers of those regiments.
To mark the anniversary, the Fovant Badges Society, the voluntary organisation which maintains the badges, commissioned the addition of a centenary badge to mark 100 years of the Fovant Badges, and securing their long term future.