Running a safe and secure major national event with geospatial information

Ordnance Survey (OS) provided geospatial information and intelligence to meet the needs of the 2012 Olympics

At OS, we draw on our mapping knowledge to help other nations across the world run similar, successful large-scale events.



Once the Games were awarded to London, we swiftly engaged with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG); the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and their many contractors. More than 2.4 million people visited the Olympic Park during the London 2012 games and more than 4 million viewed the games at live sites.

Such a large event brought with it a variety of key challenges:

  • A number of different organisations in both the public and private sector were involved in delivering this major national event.
  • Linking the work of these organisations with location-based data.
  • The need for current, accurate and trusted geospatial information to understand and address a range of issues.
  • All logistical aspects of the London 2012 games, including pre-planning, design and construction to traffic management, public safety and emergency response – including the final staging of the Games itself.


We engaged with the wider stakeholder community to work together on geospatial support for all facets of Olympic planning and delivery – forming a Production Coordination Group (PCG).

Operationally focused, and comprising more than 20 different organisations, the PCG ensured that all parties had access to all the geospatial information they required. The group made sure any data was collected efficiently and cost effectively.

We also provided coordination and technical consultancy for reference frameworks, positioning services, primary data collection, spatial analysis and web services and applications to ensure a safe, secure and operationally sound Games.

Mapping more than half a million additional objects specifically required to plan, secure and deliver major special events.

"Thanks for all your help, especially to Ordnance Survey who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that mapping and GIS data for the Olympics and Paralympics has been so effective, it’s been a pleasure working with you all."

Shaun Bennett, LOCOG


Our data and products were key in the success of the Games including:

  • A successful and secure London 2012, with geospatial support, 24 hours a day.
  • Online mapping for Transport for London (TfL) to help identify real-time traffic hotspots.
  • Planning and mapping the Olympic and Paralympic Relay Torch Route around the entire British Isles.
  • Producing more than 7,000 unique maps and plans, as well as spectator mapping, athlete and media guides, bus map routes, workforce training materials, and security and transport plans.
  • Metropolitan Police using our complete range of standard and especially collected mapping data – the large scale containing more than 300 layers of information in common GIS formats.
  • Distributing six million walking maps to encourage people to walk to their destination, lessening the demand on public transport.
  • A single common operating picture of London 2012, avoiding conflicting information.
  • The collaborative approach with all involved agencies and sharing 400 different datasets resulted in significant financial savings.

"On behalf of TfL, ODA and LOCOG, we would like to thank you for all the help and support that Ordnance Survey has provided in preparing for the games."

Richard Hartley, Transport for London

Control today. Shape tomorrow.

See how the right data insights can solve your utilities and telecoms challenges and help you create your own success story. 

Get data-driven insights