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Top 10 blogs of 2020

29 Dec 2020
Ordnance Survey
Behind the scenesCartography
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A big thank you to all of our readers. It’s been a challenging year for everyone in the world and we know it’s been hard to think of anything other than Covid-19, so we hope our content has offered you some form of distraction even if for only a few minutes.

Publishing the content you want to read is important to us, so every December we find out the most read blogs from the past 12 months. This enables us to understand what we should focus more on and it will help inform many of 2021’s projects.

As chosen by you, here are your top 10 OS blogs of 2020…

  1. The Slow Ways project continues

By how much interest our tweets and LinkedIn posts received, we should have known this would be top! If you haven’t heard of Slow Ways, it’s a project that GetOutside Champion Dan Raven-Ellison founded. Utilising OS Maps, the aim is to create a national network of walking routes that connect Great Britain’s towns and cities. If you’d like to find out more, take a look at the Slow Ways website.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/06/the-slow-ways-project-continues/

GB map of Slow Ways - 15th May
  1. When real world mapping meets Tolkien

In at second place is Dan Bell’s brilliantly artistic Tolkien mapping. Now, we love seeing any kind of creative mapping, but the fact that he has used OS data in his Tolkien-inspired mapping of course makes it even better! Whimsical yet geographically accurate, Dan created highly detailed fictional renditions of our favourite places.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/09/real-world-mapping-meets-tolkien/

The Lake District
  1. The GeoDataViz team’s favourite maps of 2019

We were pleased to see the popularity of this blog as it has resulted in us continuing it this year. 2019 was a great year for cartography, especially geo data visualisation. This is what led our GeoDatViz team member Paul Naylor to come up with the idea. If you liked this content, have a read of our favourite geo data visualisations of 2020.
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/01/geodataviz-favourite-maps-2019/

  1. Britain’s top walking spots since lockdown eased

The challenges of 2020 have truly shown us the importance of greenspace. In the months following the easing of restrictions of the first GB lockdown, OS Maps subscribers logged almost 700,000 routes in the app! Back in August, we took this data and analysed it to identify the top walking spots.
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/08/britains-top-walking-spots-since-lockdown-eased/

  1. Can you help colour London’s buildings?

Being able to create accurate theoretical planning and energy scenarios is critical to creating a sustainable city, but this cannot happen without a building dataset.

Created by The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London, Colouring London is a free online platform set up to crowdsource information and share expertise on London’s buildings to make the city more sustainable.

Using OS data for the building outlines, this project is designed to collect, collate and visualise around 50 types of statistical data for every building in London.The project is still live – get involved today.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/01/colouring-london/

Colouring London screenshot.
  1. Using data to explore Great Britain’s AONBs and NSAs

In addition to how much we enjoyed this project, we’re delighted to see this blog in the top 10 as we wanted it to raise awareness of Great Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Scenic Areas (NSAs). Our brilliant graduate Jess Baker took the lead on creating these 78 stunning data visualisations and somehow managed to fit them on one poster!

Fun fact: these scenic areas cover over 34,000 km2 of GB (larger than the 23,000 km2 covered by our National Parks) and include a huge variety of mountain, coastal and countryside landscapes.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/07/using-data-to-explore-great-britains-aonbs-and-nsas/

AONB and NSA data visualisation poster.
  1. A different perspective on the Highlands with OS OpenData

As part of our OS Developer blog series, we had the pleasure of publishing a guest blog from Alasdair Rae (former employee at the University of Sheffield). Using the new OS Data Hub, Alasdair details how he used our digital terrain model data to create a new map of the Scottish Highlands. The imagery for this blog is absolutely stunning, so we’re not surprised this blog performed well.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/05/scottish-highlands-with-os-opendata/

Highlands of Scotland data visualisation.
  1. Using geospatial data to support crisis management and emergency response

Geospatial data can help to manage a crisis more effectively and throughout 2020, our data has been supporting the response to Covid-19. This blog was written to showcase how our data can help to support Covid-19 activity either via Mapping for Emergencies (MfE) or the variety of other ways.
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/03/using-geospatial-data-to-support-crisis-management-and-emergency-response/

  1. Comparing the past to the present with the new OS Maps API layers

At number 9, we’re delighted to see another OS Developer blog on the list. As a Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), Chris Fleet oversees the brilliant NLS website. Accompanied by some amazing imagery, in this blog he tells us how the new OS Maps API layers have a number of advantages over previous OS OpenData.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/07/comparing-past-present-new-os-maps-api-layers/

Side by side of Milton Keynes.
  1. Identifiers, the key to unlock your data

An identifier is a unique reference assigned to a specific thing, to help identify them uniquely from other things. We use identifiers all the time, without even realising it. Reeling off our postcode to help deliveries get to us is probably the most common use.

This blog is about how we’ve been working to make more OS data open, including identifiers. Our data can then be used with other data held by local/central government and commercial organisations.
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2020/06/identifiers-key-unlock-your-data/

Happy New Year – we’ll see you in 2021!

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

Sharing the latest news about OS. We can licence you to use OS maps in print, online and film format. For more information and resources for journalists, bloggers and media professionals, email pressoffice@os.uk or call 023 8005 5565.