As a self-proclaimed outdoor enthusiast, it’s no surprise our guest blogger Dan Harris is a Forward Planning Manager at the Cairngorms National Park Authority. In his spare time, he used our data to create a 3D LEGO map and in doing so, enthused many Twitter users. Here, he tells us about the project…
LEGO is an extremely engaging medium that can generate great enthusiasm in almost any subject, whether the audience is young or old. There are hundreds of examples of its use to promote subjects such as history, philosophy, economics, science and more, so I wanted to bring it to the world of cartography and use it to inspire engagement with mapping, landscape and place.
I’ve always really liked the way 3D relief maps can quickly and often dramatically convey the geography of an area. They’re popular and inspiring so to me, LEGO seemed like the ideal material from which to make my own; and where better to make one for than Scotland? With its mountains, islands and intricate coastline, it seemed to me to be the ideal subject. Plus, I live there and if it’s going to be displayed in my house, I want it to mean something to me.
One of my main objectives was to make the map using open data, so OS’s open datasets were an obvious solution. While I did consider other options, I decided that OS Terrain 50 DTM best suited my needs. To be fair, OS Terrain 50 is total excessive for a model of the resolution I had planned, but I wanted to use it so that in future I could create more detailed maps without having to process loads of new data. My map also includes a part of Northern Ireland, so I used the ALOS World 30m DSM to fill in that gap. Watercourses data came from the OS Open Zoomstack dataset, which is a great source of open data.
OS Open Zoomstack is now available as a fully supported open data product. Thanks to the 1200 people who took part in our trial and gave us feedback and helped bring this product to life.
What is OS Open Zoomstack?
A comprehensive vector basemap of Great Britain, it’s fast and easy to use and takes you from national to local in one scroll of the mouse or pinch of the screen. It’s highly customisable and can be used in apps, on websites and even offline. Available as one file (in two different formats) our latest open data offering comes with styles, a simple data schema and guides to get you started.
We’ve had such a great response to the trial and received a huge amount of feedback from the users, that we’re going to invest in making OS Open Zoomstack a supported product.
For both the downloads and the API we’ll be developing Alpha versions and continue to make changes based on your feedback. We’ll be doing an alpha release shortly for the various downloads. We’ll also continue supporting the API, and will update this with the new data from the Alpha while we plan the release of a fully supported version in the future. Please note that this may involve changes in the API URL at a minimum.
At this point we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped us to make this exciting step!
Inspired by the Mapbox blog – Tim Manners in our OS Labs team built this awesome demo application to showcase the dynamic hillshade. The demo includes a widget which enables you to change the light source directly on the client and see the map change in real-time. Tim used our OS Terrain 50 DTM grid dataset to generate a series of Terrain-RGB tiles. These tiles contain elevation data encoded in raster PNG tiles as colour values that can be decoded to raw heights in metres and rendered on the client-side for customisable terrain visualisations. Take a look below for how it appears when combined this with the OS Open Zoomstack Vector Tile API: