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MSc topic area summaries for the 2013/2014 sponsored programme

Ordnance Survey’s general research objectives are centred around two big questions:

> Capability: How can we create and enrich products and services and develop new ways of representing and enabling user interaction with our products and services.

> Efficiency: How can we make the capture, management and delivery of geographic information more efficient for Ordnance Survey?

We are interested in any topic that addresses something within these broad themes and are happy to be challenged with ideas outside these themes.

Enriching our data

Increasingly we are interested in how we can enrich our data either through deriving more information directly from our existing data, or through combining our data with third party data. How much additional information can be derived from our data, how much more through combining with other data? For example what can be inferred about the nature of an area using just Ordnance Survey data?


What are the limits to the usability of our products? For example when performing an analysis using address data, how far can that analysis be performed using postcodes before it is necessary to use individual addresses? The implications for the end user in terms of cost can be significant: postcode data is available free whereas address level data incurs purchase costs. Using addresses when the analysis can be performed accurately using postcodes therefore incurs unnecessary costs, whereas using postcodes when accuracy requires addresses will result in poor results. We are of course not just interested in addressing but all areas where are data is used.

Mobile applications

What novel mobile apps can be developed that address specific problems? How can they be used to aid data capture? How can they be used to develop new consumer or professional services? What novel techniques can be created to aid the user when interacting with mapping? How can services be maintained in the absence of GPS or network signals?

3D & Height applications

What novel uses are there for terrain and surface models? How can our building height data be used to help solve real problems? How can we better capture height data? How does the height of a building relate to the number of floors and its total surface area, what other factors may influence these relationships?

Data Quality

How can the quality of our data be better expressed in ways that are meaningful to end users who may have very different contexts of use? To many users simply stating geometric accuracy is not that helpful. What other measures can be used? How can these be expressed simply to an end user?


What data can be collected using crowdsourcing techniques? How can data of variable quality and, or coverage be integrated with professionally sourced data collected to consistent specification? How can crowds be motivated? How can professional and crowdsourced data be made to be mutually beneficial to an end user?

Fuzzy and rough geography

How can objects with fuzzy or unknown boundaries be represented and used? How useful is data of variable content, e.g. where more is known about one building than another?

Innovative Visualisation and Representation of Geographic information

How can geographic information be represented in novel forms? What novel forms of visualisation can be applied to mobile devices? How can our data be used to support artistic representations? How can verbal descriptions be generated? What other novel ways are there to represent geographic information?


How can the temporal aspects of our data be better represented enabling change over time to be modelled? What are the issues involved in the representation of time? How can features such as markets be represented? How can temporal geographic data be efficiently queried?

Data Sources

What additional information can be derived from remote sensors such as airborne or satellite imagery, Lidar and SAR? What geographic data can be extracted from the Web? What other sensor types might be of interest to Ordnance Survey?

Contact us

For more information:

Contact: Anne Patrick, Research Project Coordinator

Email: universityenquiries@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Phone: (+44) 023­80 055770

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© Ordnance Survey 2016