Our clever colleges in Ordnance Survey have pulled together some facts and figures on our National Parks to inspire you to make the most of National Parks week.
With 15 fantastic Parks to visit across Great Britain, there should be something for everyone – whether you want to go walking, camping, cycling, rock-climbing or even star-gazing.
It’s not too late to put some plans in place so if you do fancy a visit, check out the Ordnance Survey Map shop for discounted National Park map bundles too. Continue reading 'Enjoy National Parks week'»
Today’s guest blog is from one of our finalists who took part in the recent Active Lifestyle challenge Jackie Roby.
One evening, in the depths of darkest January, I logged on to Facebook to find a message from a friend that read ‘Are you going to do it?’ with a link to the GeoVation Active Lifestyles Challenge. I’d never heard of GeoVation and with the challenge closing in less than a week I thought it was unlikely. At the same time I had an idea that had been floating around in my mind that fitted the challenge criteria well and before I knew it, it was the early hours of the morning and I’d entered the competition.
The week passed and a few days after the deadline I received and email congratulating me on becoming a GeoVation finalist. Oh. My. Goodness. This was happening!
My idea to encourage more active lifestyles was ‘Outdoor Discovery Backpacks’, rucksacks stuffed with fun games, ideas and tools to help children and their families explore nature and the great outdoors. I wanted to create a fun and exciting resource that was available from local libraries that, using OS maps, would help families to discover and enjoy their local green spaces.
The GeoVation Camp weekend at the end of February, passed in a complete blur; meeting lots of innovative people with great ideas, learning all sorts of interesting things I’d never heard of such as paper prototyping, hearing from past winners and getting to pick the brains of inspiring people such as Andy Middleton. My teammate Dave and I bounced our way around Ordnance Survey head office, becoming known for our smiles and enthusiasm. I think a bit of delirium crept in too! Continue reading 'GeoVation Opening Doors'»
For the second year running, Ordnance Survey’s Innovation team are supporting Young Rewired State’s (YRS) Festival of Code, which is a week-long hackathon event for young people aged 18 and under. YRS is the philanthropic arm of Rewired state, which is the largest independent developer network in the UK.
We’ve teamed up with The Cathedral Innovation Centre and Totton College to bring one of the YRS centres to the Solent region for the first time. Totton college, along with over 50 other centres, will host four-day sessions for young programmers in its state-of-the-art facilities and members from Ordnance Survey’s Innovation team will be on hand to help the participants create websites, prototypes and apps, demonstrating how geospatial information and technology can enhance their ventures.
Continue reading 'Young Rewired State’s Festival of Code 2014'»
On Monday 30 June 2014 I attended the i-teams – launch event at Nesta. It’s a report aimed at providing inspiration and guidance on the building blocks that a new generation of ministers and mayors can use to solve problems faster and more effectively.
Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive at Nesta since June 2011, welcomed us to the event. Under his leadership Nesta moved out of the public sector to become a charity in 2012; has launched a range of new initiatives in investment, programmes and research; and has implemented a new strategy involving partnerships with other funders in the UK and internationally.
‘Government have pioneered some of the greatest innovations in modern history. Driven by entrepreneurial and visionary leadership, city and national governments are capable of amazing things’ were Geoff’s opening words.
‘Governments face intense fiscal pressures and demands from citizens who want governments not only to tackle complex problems, but also to be effective at using new technologies as the best business. Much of the world’s public sector innovation is organized haphazardly, with short-term initiatives and odd consultancy reports or conferences rather than focused efforts.’
‘All governments need institutions to catalyst innovation.’
Continue reading 'i-teams – making innovation happen in governments around the world'»
Todays guest blog is by Richard Page, of Carbon Prophet, one of our winners from our Challenge in May 2013: ‘How do we help British business improve environmental performance’ – supported by the Environment Agency. Carbon Prophet were awarded £29,000 and also won the Community Award of £1,000.
AR Carbon received the final tranche of its GeoVation grant funding. As we are seven months into our project ‘Carbon Prophet’ and looking to launch ourselves into the open market, it seems the ideal time to see how things are progressing.
Our project is all about encouraging farmers to rebuild the natural fertility of their soils. One of the most obvious ways of achieving this is to encourage the use of compost as a source of nutrients and as a way of improving soil structure. Obviously we don’t want to use peat-based composts, so we need to find significant supplies of an alternative and that means using green waste compost. Unfortunately, this is not as straightforward as you might think; most green waste compost needs significant work to improve it before it is suitable for use on commercial farms. So, in order to ensure sufficient supplies of a quality product, we have opened negotiations with a number of local authorities to work with them to improve the product that they produce and we aim to have high quality green waste compost available for the start of spring 2015.
Continue reading 'The future is bright, the future is CARBON!'»
Ordnance Survey are delighted to be working in partnership with IC tomorrow. Based in London’s Tech City, they are a Technology Strategy Board programme that stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector by breaking down barriers and opening doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs.
The programme serves as a hub for digital innovation, connecting start-ups and SMEs with leading commercial partners and investors across the UK, through funded contests, events, strategic matchmaking and mentoring opportunities.
IC tomorrow runs a range of funded contests across the digital and creative sectors. These contests are run in collaboration with leading partners who help to set relevant contest challenges that will encourage innovation in new digital applications or services. Ordnance Survey is one of those partners. Contest applicants can benefit from the funding that is awarded to successful companies to develop their proposed solutions and grow their businesses; gain from exposure to a range of leading content providers and rights holders; test their proposed application or service with those partner companies and organisations; promote their prototype solution via the IC tomorrow programme and retain their full intellectual property. Continue reading 'IC tomorrow – Technology Strategy Board Network – digital innovation contest'»
With more and more of Britain’s population now living in urban environments, is it possible to harness the power of technology more effectively, to make cities a better place to live in? This is a question the UK’s innovation agency – Technology Strategy Board – posed to 50 cities back in 2012, inviting them to bid for a £24m funding award that would enable the winning bidder to become a ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’ – an initiative that, through the use of technology, aims to improve the integration of services and the urban communities that rely upon them. After taking part in the open competition, Glasgow City Council was awarded with the funding.
Continue reading 'Building prototypes at Glasgow’s Future Cities Hackathon'»
Today’s guest blog is by Neil Taylor from AccessAdvisr, winners of the How can we improve transport in Britain Challenge. Access Advisr is a website that helps you find out, and rate, how accessible different places, and transport networks are. Unlike other sites, Access Advisr doesn’t rely solely upon static audited information, or the ‘official’ information made available by transport system operators. Uniquely, the site enables people to share their advice and experiences (good or bad) on how accessible they find different places and transport networks in the UK.
Since we participated in the GeoVation Challenge focused on ‘How can we improve transport in Britain’, we have continued developing the BETA version of the AccessAdvisr website through a series of projects in Lowestoft, Milton Keynes and Nottingham.
Continue reading 'AccessAdvisr – 18 months on from our Geovation Challenge'»
Since launching Ordnance Survey’s maiden Developer Challenge at the tail-end of 2013, we’ve been busy promoting the competition to all of you budding developers out there! We’re delighted to announce that in total, we received 38 ideas, with the competition now closed for entries. A further stage of the selection process will now take before we announce the winners next month.
Continue reading 'Ordnance Survey Developer Challenge attracts dozens of innovative ideas!'»
Today’s guest blog is from Ordnance Survey’s Cartographic Design team, highlighting the value of good cartographic design.
Applying cartographic styling to geodata makes that data immediately more valuable. It makes the data more efficient to interpret and easier to communicate to others. Good cartographic design may even allow developers to understand their data better and so be able to make better use of it and in turn create better applications.
It is said that design adds an extra dimension to a product (in this case geodata) by making it more aesthetic, usable and human.
Over the last couple of years we have been developing and applying our new corporate map styles which provide visual consistency to our portfolio of vector-based maps. These new styles have been applied to our OS VectorMap products as well as our other digital map products, Meridian 2 and Strategi.
We have developed a full colour style and a backdrop style, with the latter being designed for contextual basemaps that facilitate data overlays. We have applied an element of colour science to ensure that all map features take their place within a clear visual hierarchy whereby the features deemed most important will be perceived first.
Good cartography often takes many years of experience and yet national mapping agencies and cartographic publishing houses are now far from the sole users of geospatial data, so we have decided to share our know-how in the form of ready-made stylesheets. Even simply viewing data in a GIS can be improved by good cartographic styling. Continue reading 'Cartography and the value of styling geodata'»