Places of Poetry: ‘your places, your poems, our national story’

As maps can be relevant to pretty much any subject, we are very fortunate to be able to support some amazing projects – and Places of Poetry is no exception!

Have you ever explored the outdoors and found yourself inspired by the beauty around you? Or have you found yourself poring over a map and had a place name spark your imagination? From iconic historical sites to places of personal significance, the Places of Poetry project invites you to write poems and pin them to their map!

Places of Poetry is asking us all to think about the history and environment around us. Through creative writing, the aim of the project is to celebrate the diversity, heritage and personalities of places across England and Wales to prompt reflection on our national and cultural identities. And of course, no project with a sense of place would be complete without an OS map!

The map consists of two layers: an artistic map, based on decorative seventeenth-century county maps, and a second layer of Ordnance Survey data, allowing users to zoom in to a high level of detail. Read More


Things to do in Pembrokeshire

Pembroke CastlePembrokeshire, with its craggy cliff faces, golden beaches and quaint fishing towns, has won hearts and minds across countless generations. In fact, the list of its most notable residents includes such luminaries as Henry VII, Sarah Waters, Rhys Ifans and Christian Bale. Fellow resident Nicky Wire of Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers told theguardian.com how the area was “utterly magnificent”, mentioning that the tourist hotspot of Tenby “just makes me a bit of a better person when I’m down there,” before adding “it’s not easy to do that!”

Though Pembrokeshire is the fifth largest of Wales’ 22 counties, it drops to 18th for population density. As such, visitors can expect plenty to see and do, without too many crowds of people getting in the way. For just some examples of these things to entertain, look no further.
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Ordnance Survey Welsh site launched

We are pleased to announce that in line with the launch of our new website we have also created a scaled back Welsh language version to enable Welsh speakers to access key areas of our content. The Welsh site covers areas such as our Business products, Partner programme and Map Shop. Visitors are able to obtain high level information in Welsh before accessing the main Ordnance Survey site via direct links to the relevant areas.

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Using OS OpenData with AditNow

It’s always great to hear how our OS OpenData is being used by people. In today’s guest post, AditNow tell us about their mining history/mine exploration hobby website which uses OS OpenData.

AditNow is a website for people with an interest in mining history and mine exploration. The site is perhaps best summed up as:

AditNow is an information sharing resource and discussion forum for the mine exploration community as well as industrial archaeologists, researchers, historians and anybody with an interest in mine exploration or mining history.

The website was started in late 2005 by two people with an interest in mining history and industrial archaeology as an online collection of photographs of the underground exploration of the abandoned and accessible slate mines of North Wales.

Map search tool showing all slate mines and quarries in N Wales

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Five top Welsh walks for health, happiness and some amazing sights

Jamie Gibbs is the fitness blogger and rambling ambler for healthy living life insurance comparison site Confused.com. He’s currently training to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge, and feels more out of his depth than the distance he has to climb.

Are you looking for a Welsh getaway and want to find the best places to visit? Here are some beautiful walks for anyone looking to see more of the “Land of My Fathers”. 

The Welsh love to walk. Almost a third of Welsh adults enjoy walking as recreation, and walking is one of the main activities for people who come to visit. When you look at what the country has to offer, you can see why.

If you’re going for a healthier, leaner you this year, then taking in the fresh, Welsh mountain air will do you the world of good. Angela Charlton, Director for Ramblers Cymru, says that “walking can form part of a regular exercise pattern … for adults, 150 [of aerobic exercise] per week is recommended to keep in good health.

Walking in Wales offers fantastic opportunities for residents and visitors alike. You can visit cathedrals, castles, forests, woods and coast.”

With so much to choose from, which walks are best? Here are five of my favourites.

North Wales 

Cadair Idris

Total distance: 8-10km (to the summit and back)

The seat of the legendary giant Idris, Cadair Idris offers routes to the summit that suit both the casual and the adventurous walker. If you’re looking for a pleasant stroll, the Pony path is the longer but easier of the three paths where the only surprises will be the sudden changes in weather.

If you’re after something a little more exciting, the Minffordd path is a shorter but much steeper hike that veers away from any defined path but one that rewards you with an amazing view of Llyn Cau, the supposedly bottomless lake that has become popular with wild swimmers.

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Wales – a big country needs big thinking

Wales is big. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Not just in size (it’s estimated at 21 588 kilometres, 8 335 square miles or around 2073511 hectares) but as a comparison, if something is as big as Wales, it’s considered quite significant by the media. Deserts, forests, and asteroids are all measured using Wales as a geographical reference point by scientists and news teams.

So – big countries like Wales with many living in remote locations and near undulating countryside can be challenging to run. To manage things efficiently, public sector bodies need to work together, linking data, systems and organisations to maintain efficiency.

Here are some great examples of how this has been happening recently thanks to some innovative use of digital geographic information and map products in the public sector

Newport council – address data improves the benefits system

A collaborative project between the Welsh Government, Cardiff City Council and Newport Council hopes to generate up to £500,000 in revenue when deployed across the country, by more effective address management relating to council tax collection.

Using AddressBase (available under the public sector mapping agreement or PSMA) and Unique Property Reference Number and Local Land and Property Gazetteer, the councils are able to ensure any changes to the property or occupancy are updated across a range of systems. This improves the accuracy and efficiency of council tax collection and reduces the potential for fraud or non-payment.

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Walking all over Wales

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!

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Wales Coast Path Challenge – time for the judging to begin

We had some great ideas submitted on the GeoVation Challenge ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path? ’ – so thank you if you submitted an idea or voted or commented on one.  There were 62 ideas posted between 14 March and 2 May and 732 people registered on the GeoVation Community during that time – which is fantastic!

The next stage is for the judges to start reading all of the ideas and select a shortlist of the best of these which will be announced on 29 May. The shortlisted ideas teams will be invited  to a GeoVation Camp in Cardiff  over the weekend of 22-24 June.

You can find out who the judging panel are below:

The Judging Panel Chair is:

Andy Middleton – a social entrepreneur,designer and facilitator who helps leaders and teams in business,  government and community build resilience for sustainability. He uses ecology, psychology and action learning to help people connect what they see, know and feel to ways of doing things that are lighter on, and inspired by nature. He is Founder Director of the TYF Group, a well-established and innovative adventure, education and leadership business based in St Davids, Pembrokeshire. His imagination is caught by working on city and country-scale sustainability projects and by the creative retreat centre he’s building that overlooks islands and ocean on the western edge of Wales.

Andy will be joined by:

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To begin at the beginning…

Ahead of the official opening of the Wales Coast Path on Saturday, we have a guest post from Jane Davidson, President of Ramblers Cymru, explaining how the Wales Coast Path came into being…

Dylan Thomas’ most famous poem, ‘Under Milk Wood’, starts, ‘To begin at the beginning’. Somehow, it’s a lot easier to say than do.  I have been asked many times about when I first had the idea for a Welsh coast path. It would be great to be able to trace it back to one moment, but life isn’t like that; like many ideas, it took years in gestation, although it was helped by two critical events on the way – first, at the age of 16, walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path with schoolfriends and seeing my first dolphins; the second was the brilliant decision of two Cardiff youth clubs to walk around Wales for International Youth Year in 1985.

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Official opening of the Wales Coast Path

There’s been much excitement here at Ordnance Survey about the new Wales Coast Path which will be officially opened this Saturday. Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths will officially open the 870 mile route which runs from the Welsh border near Chester in the North to Chepstow in the South. It features some amazing coastline and takes you the entire length of the stunning coastline. It looks ideal for walkers and holidays and seems destined to become a big tourist attraction. As the World’s first continuous coastal path around a country, it deserves no less!

Members of the public are invited to come along to the opening of this landmark project and take part in a community event which will see local businesses, community groups and children’s entertainers as well as a team from Ordnance Survey who will be running a fun competition to win a fantastic Memory-Map Adventurer 3500 GPS.

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