This week from Monday through to Sunday you’ll find us at the Digital Shoreditch festival, an event that attracts hundreds of speakers from the most innovative and successful companies and organisations across creative, technical, start-up tech and digital spaces and beyond. During the week, we’ll be exhibiting, speaking and promoting our digital products and services amongst some of Tech City’s most talented digital and technical creative individuals.
The festival has a different theme each day, comprising of panel sessions, key note speeches and discussions – kicking off with Monday’s “What Tech City” theme. During the day, festival goers collectively explored the many companies and organisations that make Tech City what it is, focusing on developing new ways to exploit the potential for growing global engagement and improving our digital economy and society.
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In a previous blog, we shared news about how we were supporting the BlueLightCamp hackathon, which was a developer event that took place in Manchester last Sunday. Aimed at developers that work in the Fire, Police and resilience services in the public and private sector, the event provided an opportunity for participants to explore and develop prototype ideas that address just some of the criminal and justice issues we face today.
The day kicked off at 10 am, with the event organisers providing a recap of some of the key topics that had been discussed in Saturday’s unconference. One recurring theme related to the increasing role that social media is playing in the provision of such services and the potential that these channels of communication may hold for the future. Many examples were cited of how police forces are increasingly using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with the public. It was highlighted that some forces are even adopting other platforms such as Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr to not only to broadcast information, but to engage with people directly and to open lines of communication that were previously not in place.
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You may have missed it, so we thought it was timely to remind all our GeoVator’s that Ordnance Survey recently refreshed the portfolio of products that are freely available through the OS OpenData portal. Releasing both a new height dataset, as well as making significant updates to one of the backdrop mapping products, here are just a few key points that might whet your appetite.
The portal has been updated with a new version of OS VectorMap District and a new product – OS Terrain 50® being released, we’ll cover the height dataset first.
The image illustrates OS Terrain 50 data overlaid on backdrop mapping
OS Terrain 50®
Developers can also now access a new fully maintained analytical height product called OS Terrain 50. The new product, which has a similar resolution to Land-Form PANORAMA, will enable users to access an advanced product with consistently maintained height content for the whole of Great Britain.
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On the weekend of 27/28 April, we’re supporting BlueLightCamp, which is a free event being billed as both an unconference and hackathon. Attracting workers from across the blue light services i.e. Fire, Police and resilience services, the aim is to innovate through promoting good-practice sharing, exchanging knowledge, networking as well as providing an opportunity for concepts and solutions to be tested through the hackathon.
Through two mapping agreements that we have with the Public Sector, Ordnance Survey already works closely with many of the blue light services, providing: digital map products; the sharing and visualisation of data; supporting better problem solving and helping to reduce costs and drive up efficiency levels amongst other aspects. So it seemed entirely fitting to support the BlueLightCamp as we have a further opportunity to engage with and support the very individuals that work in these services.
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Held at Imperial College, London between 8th April and 26th June, Urban Prototyping (UP London) is an International festival that brings more than 300 developers, technologists, academics, artists, government bodies and community groups together for a series of events that focus on the role that digital technology can play in creating sustainable society.
This year we were invited to participate and contribute to the agenda, which has a specific theme concentrating on the role that digital technology can play in harnessing the creation of resilient environments, economies and communities. We were delighted to accept the invite, as the festival presents an opportunity for us to introduce our range of products and services in such a context, whilst allowing us to engage with communities that might not have previously considered the many benefits geographic information can bring to potential innovations.
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Over the last couple of years Ordnance Survey has been working on a collaborative project with UK Location Programme and Cabinet Office to implement map-based tools, making it easier for users to search and preview public location datasets available on data.gov.uk. The project was completed to further enable the publication of location datasets in support of the UK Location Strategy, and as part of the UK contribution to the European INSPIRE project.
We are now pleased to announce that the code developed by Ordnance Survey for these mapping tools has been released as open source.
The Map Based Search (see image below) allows users to draw a box on a background map, leading to a search for datasets which are wholly or partially contained in that area. It also features a gazetteer, so the user can locate by place name where on the map they want to draw their search box. This provide a richer, more advanced way of searching, at national, regional and local level, for records of data sets and services that are referenced by geographical coordinates.
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On Tuesday evening, we hosted a developer event at the HUB Westminster, London between 6 – 9pm. We thought we’d provide a short write-up to summarise what was covered during the evening, for the benefit of those that couldn’t attend.
If you weren’t already aware, we have just released a new version of our free web mapping API – OS OpenSpace. The new version supports mobile touch devices, meaning any website using OS OpenSpace can now be viewed and panned on tablets and mobile devices.
We organised the event to generally promote the new version but had three specific objectives in mind. First and foremost, we wanted to showcase the new enhancements to our community of users. Secondly; to provide an opportunity for developers to run through some web-based OS OpenSpace tutorials and finally, we hoped to gain feedback about the service i.e. what the developers like, what they think could be improved; and finally, what they would like to see in future releases.
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Do you use any OS OpenData products? If the answer is yes and you’re interested in winning an Apple® iPad 64GB but haven’t yet entered our Developer competition, be quick – as time is running out!
With the competition drawing to a close on 31 March 2013, we felt it was timely to remind all our blog followers that there are just a few weeks remaining to submit your entry. We thought it might be useful to post a blog that recaps what the entry requirements are; along with a summary of the kind of submissions we’ve had to date – so here it is!
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For any of our blog followers that aren’t aware, Ordnance Survey offer a web mapping service called OS OpenSpace®. The Application Programming Interface (API) allows developers to embed our maps into public websites and mobile applications, for free.
But why do developers choose OS OpenSpace above other free web mapping providers? Well, OS OpenSpace map data is based on our world famous paper map series which many are familiar with, so often, developers are choosing OS OpenSpace above alternative offerings. Feedback received from the OS OpenSpace community suggests they believe the quality of the data, particularly in rural areas, is unrivalled and this is another pull factor for many. The level of detail provided means that it is possible to create applications with detailed information on any given area, rather than providing just an overview and again, this is a point that many developers are excited by.
The image illustrates the level of detail of OS OpenSpace in rural areas, compared to other free map providers.
Continue reading 'OS OpenSpace V4.0 released! Find out more at our OS Developer Event'»
Last week, we held our first GeoSurgery of the year at the Google Campus, a venue that’s located in the heart of east London’s Tech City cluster. The GeoSurgery was open to anyone to come along and discuss their project with our resident GeoDoctor. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “everything happens somewhere” (we’ve used it before, here on the blog) well, that’s something that we champion here within the GeoVation team. We believe that location-based information is playing an increasing part in many aspects of modern day society and it’s no surprise therefore, that so many web and mobile developers will have an interest in a location element whilst developing their product/service offering.
The GeoDoctor talked to around a dozen developers throughout the day, each one of them developing products and services for which location is an integral part of the offering. We had one discussion with a new business start-up called Locatable. Locatable’s business idea is to create a web-based service that makes it easier for people to decide exactly where they want to live when moving house. Sounds like a relatively simple idea doesn’t it? Well here’s the clever bit…
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