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Encyclopedia > Ordnance Survey
Part of an Ordnance Survey map at 1 inch to the mile scale from 1945

Ordnance Survey (OS) is an executive agency of the United Kingdom government. It is the national mapping agency for Great Britain[1], and one of the world's largest producers of maps. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2011x1253, 1990 KB)1 inch to the mile OS map of High_Wycombe 1945 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2011x1253, 1990 KB)1 inch to the mile OS map of High_Wycombe 1945 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... An Executive Agency is a British public institution that carries out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. ... A map is a simplified depiction of a space which highlights relations between components (objects, regions) of that space. ...

Contents

Origins

The roots of Great Britain's Ordnance Survey (OS) go back to 1747, when King George II commissioned a military survey of the Scottish highlands following the Jacobite revolt of 1745. William Roy was the engineer responsible for this pioneering work; one of the staff involved was noted artist Paul Sandby. It was not until 1790 that the Board of Ordnance (the predecessor of the Ministry of Defence) began a national military survey starting with the south coast of England in anticipation of a French invasion. George II may refer to: George II of Württemberg-Mömpelgard (1626–1699). ... The Scottish Highlands are the mountainous regions of Scotland north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault. ... Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, wearing the Jacobite blue bonnet Jacobitism was (and, to a very limited extent, remains) the political movement dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England and Scotland. ... William Roy (1726 - July 1, 1790), was a Scottish surveyor, military draughtsman and antiquary, born in Carluke, South Lanarkshire. ... Paul Sandby (1725 – 9 November 1809) was an English map-maker turned landscape painter in water-colours, who, along with his older brother Thomas, became one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768. ... The British Board of Ordnance was responsible for the design, testing and production of armaments and munitions. ... The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and the headquarters of the British Armed Forces. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II  -  Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification  -  by Athelstan 967  Area...


By 1791, the Board had purchased the new Ramsden theodolite, and work began on mapping southern Great Britain using a baseline that Roy himself had previously measured and that crosses the present Heathrow Airport. A set of postage stamps, featuring maps of the Kentish village of Hamstreet, was issued in 1991 to mark the bicentenary. The Ramsden theodolite was used in the first Ordnance Survey of Southern Britain. ... “LHR” redirects here. ... Image:Hamstreet - Kent dot. ...


In 1801 the first one-inch-to-the-mile (1:63,360) map was published, detailing the county of Kent, with Essex following shortly after. An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... A mile is a unit of length, usually used to measure distance, in a number of different systems, including Imperial units, United States customary units and Norwegian/Swedish mil. ... A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. ... coat of Arms of Kent For other uses, see Kent (disambiguation). ... This article is about the county of Essex in England. ...


During the next twenty years roughly a third of England and Wales was mapped at the same scale. (see Principal Triangulation of Great Britain.) It was gruelling work: Major Thomas Colby, later the longest serving Director General of the Ordnance Survey, walked 586 miles in 22 days on a reconnaissance in 1819. In 1824, Colby and most of his staff moved to Ireland to work on a six-inches-to-the-mile (1:10,560) valuation survey. The Principal Triangulation of Britain was a triangulation project carried out between 1783 and about 1853 at the instigation of the Director of the Ordnance Survey General William Roy (1726-1790). ... Thomas Frederick Colby (September 1, 1784 – October 9, 1852), a British major-general and director of the Ordnance Survey (OS), was born at St. ...


Colby was not only involved in the design of specialist measuring equipment. He also established a systematic collection of place names, and reorganised the map-making process to produce clear, accurate plans. He believed in leading from the front, travelling with his men, helping to build camps and, as each survey session drew to a close, arranging mountain-top parties with enormous plum puddings. Christmas pudding is the dessert traditionally served on Christmas day in Britain and Ireland, as well as in some Commonwealth countries. ...


After the first Irish maps came out in the mid-1830s, the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 led to calls for similar six-inch surveys in England and Wales. After official prevarication, the development of the railways added to pressure that resulted in the 1841 Ordnance Survey Act. This granted a right to enter property for the purpose of the survey. Following a fire at its headquarters at the Tower of London in 1841, the OS was in disarray for several years with arguments about which scales to use. Major-General Sir Henry James was by then Director General, and he saw how photography could be used to make maps of various scales cheaply and easily. He developed and exploited photozincography not only to reduce the costs of map production but also to publish 'facsimiles' of National Manuscripts. Between 1861 and 1864 a 'facsimile' of the medieval Domesday Book was issued, county by county. The Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 (6&7 Will. ... This article is about the country. ... Her Majestys Royal Palace and Fortress The Tower of London, more commonly known as the Tower of London (and historically simply as The Tower), is a historic monument in central London, England on the north bank of the River Thames. ... Henry James (1803-1877) Described by the Ordnance Survey itself as perhaps Ordnance Surveys most eccentric and egotistical Director General. Henry James was commissioned as second lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in September 1826. ...


After the fire, the OS relocated to a site in Southampton, and the twenty-five inch to the mile survey was completed by 1895. Southampton is a city, unitary authority and major port situated on the south coast of England. ... 1895 (MDCCCXCV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


The 20th century

Front cover of new popular edition 1 inch to the mile from 1945
Front cover of new popular edition 1 inch to the mile from 1945
The old site of the OS in Southampton city centre, as seen today.
The old site of the OS in Southampton city centre, as seen today.

During the First World War the OS was involved in preparing maps of France and Belgium for its own use, and many more maps were created during World War II, including : Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1568x2484, 2082 KB)Author. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1568x2484, 2082 KB)Author. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1500x650, 141 KB)The old headquarters of the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, occupied from 1841 to 1969. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1500x650, 141 KB)The old headquarters of the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, occupied from 1841 to 1969. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

  • 1:40,000 map of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1:100,000 map of Brussels, Belgium
  • 1:5,000,000 map of South Africa
  • 1:250,000 map of Italy
  • 1:50,000 map of Northeast France
  • 1:30,000 map of the Netherlands with manuscript outline of German Army occupation districts

After the war Colonel Charles Close, then Director General, developed a marketing strategy using covers designed by Ellis Martin to increase sales in the leisure market. In 1920 O. G. S. Crawford was appointed Archaeology Officer and played a prominent role in developing the use of aerial photography to deepen understanding of archaeology. Colonel Sir Charles Frederick Arden-Close, FRS (10 August 1865 – 19 December 1952) was a British geographer and surveyor , he was Director General of the Ordnance Survey from 1911 to 1922. ... Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford (28 October 1886–November 28, 1957) was an English archaeologist and a pioneer in the use of aerial photographs for deepening archaeological understanding of the landscape. ...


In 1935 the Davidson Committee was established to review the Ordnance Survey's future. The new Director General, Major-General Malcolm MacLeod, started the retriangulation of Great Britain, an immense task involving erecting concrete triangulation pillars (trig points) on prominent (often inaccessible) hilltops throughout Great Britain. These were intended to be infallibly constant positions for the theodolites during the many angle measurements, which were each repeated no less than 32 times. Major-General Malcolm Neynoe MacLeod (23 May 1882–1 August 1969) was Director General of the Ordnance Survey from 1935 to 1943. ... In 1935, the new Director General of the Ordnance Survey, Major-General Malcolm MacLeod, started the retriangulation of Great Britain, an immense task which involved erecting concrete triangulation pillars (trig points) on prominent hilltops throughout Great Britain. ... A trig point near Wootton Wawen. ...


The Davidson Committee's final report set the OS on course for the twentieth century. The national grid reference system was launched, with the metre as its unit of measurement. An experimental 1:25,000 scale map was introduced. The one-inch maps remained for almost forty years before being superseded by the 1:50,000 scale series, as proposed by William Roy more than two centuries earlier. The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using latitude or longitude. ... The or meter (see spelling differences) is a measure of length. ...


The OS had outgrown its site in the centre of Southampton (made worse by the bomb damage of the Second World War), and in 1969 moved to the suburb of Maybush, towards the edge of the city, where it remains today. Some of the remaining buildings of the original city-centre site are now used as part of the court complex. Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ...


In 1995 the Ordnance Survey digitised the last of about 230,000 maps, making the United Kingdom the first country in the world to complete a programme of large-scale electronic mapping. The OS is now a civilian organisation with executive agency status. An Executive Agency is a British public institution that carries out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. ...


UK map range

Ordnance Survey maps are available in most bookshops, in a variety of scales:

  • Route (1:625,000) - Designed for long-distance road users. One double-sided map (dark blue cover) covers the whole of Great Britain.
  • Road (1:250,000) - Designed for road users. They have green covers; 8 sheets cover the whole of Great Britain.
  • Landranger (1:50,000) - The "general purpose" map. They have pink covers; 204 sheets cover the whole of Great Britain and the Isle of Man.
  • Explorer (1:25,000) - Specifically designed for walkers and cyclists. They have orange covers; 403 sheets cover the whole of Great Britain (the Isle of Man is excluded from this series). Explorer maps have replaced two older series of 1:25,000 map:
    • Outdoor Leisure - Also for walkers and cyclists. These 33 maps specifically covered tourist destinations. Identified by their yellow covers and often double-sided, they predated the Explorer maps. They covered a larger area than Pathfinders.
    • Pathfinder - Pathfinders, with their green covers, were the predecessors to the Explorer series. These maps were smaller than the new ones and generally had no overlap between adjacent sheets. There were over 1,300 maps in the series. Some Pathfinders were phased out by the arrival of Outdoor Leisure maps, the remainder being later replaced by the new Explorer series.

Also produced are various historical and archaeological maps, and road maps of certain popular "tourist" areas, all at a variety of scales. The Ordnance Survey produces a free mapping index, showing which parts of the country are covered by which maps. The Ordnance Survey also produces more detailed mapping at 1:10,000 and 1:1,250 scales, which is available from some of the more specialist outlets. This is produced to order from digital data, so the customer can choose exactly which area the map should cover.


Cartography

The Ordnance Survey maps of Great Britain use the British national grid reference system
The Ordnance Survey maps of Great Britain use the British national grid reference system

The original maps were made by triangulation. For the second survey, in 1934, this process was used again, and resulted in the building of many triangulation pillars (trig points): short (approx 4 feet/1.2 m high), usually square, concrete or stone pillars at prominent locations such as hill tops. Their precise locations were determined by triangulation, and the details in between were then filled in with less precise methods. Modern Ordnance Survey maps are based on aerial photographs, but large numbers of the pillars remain. Image File history File links Graphic by Keith Edkins File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Graphic by Keith Edkins File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using latitude or longitude. ... The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using latitude or longitude. ... Triangulation can be used to find the distance from the shore to the ship. ... A trig point near Wootton Wawen. ... The Georgian terrace of Royal Crescent (Bath, England) from a hot air balloon Dulles Airport in Reston, Virginia, from an airplane Intersection of E42 and E451 from an aircraft soon after takeoff from Frankfurt International Airport Moreton Island in Queensland, Australia Aerial photography is the taking of photographs from the...


The OS still maintains a set of master geodetic reference points to tie the OS geographic datums to modern measurement systems including GPS. The Ordnance Survey maps of Great Britain do not use latitude and longitude to indicate position but a special grid. The grid is technically known as OSGB36™ (Ordnance Survey Great Britain 1936), and was introduced after the retriangulation of 1936–53. Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ... The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using latitude or longitude. ...


OS MasterMap

The Ordnance Survey's flagship digital product, launched in November 2001, is OS MasterMap. This is a database that records every fixed feature of Great Britain larger than a few metres in one continuous digital map. Every feature is given a unique TOID (topographical identifier), a simple identifier that includes no semantic information. Typically each TOID is associated with a polygon that represents the area on the ground that the feature covers, in National Grid coordinates. MasterMap is offered in themed "layers", for example, a road layer and a building layer, each linked to a number of TOIDs. Pricing of licenses to MasterMap data depends on the total area requested, the layers licensed, the number of TOIDs in the layers, and the period in years of the data usage. OS MasterMap is Ordnance Surveys flagship digital product, launched in November 2001. ... In computing , a database can be defined as a structured collection of records or data that is stored in a computer so that a program can consult it to answer queries. ... A TOID is a 16–digit reference number assigned by the Ordnance Survey to identify a topographic feature in the United Kingdom. ... The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using latitude or longitude. ... Area is a physical quantity expressing the size of a part of a surface. ...


MasterMap can be used to generate maps for a vast array of purposes, and maps can be printed from MasterMap data with detail equivalent to a traditional 1:1250 paper map.


The OS claims that MasterMap data is never more than 6 months out of date, thanks to continuous review. The scale and detail of this mapping project is unique. Around 440 million TOIDs have so far been assigned, and the database stands at 600 gigabytes in size. MasterMap is currently (August 2005) at version 6.


The OS is encouraging users of its old OS Landline data to migrate to MasterMap.


Geographical information science research at Ordnance Survey

Since about 2001 Ordnance Survey has had a Research & Innovation department (renamed Ordnance Survey Research Labs in 2007) that is very active in several areas of geographical information science, including:

  • Spatial cognition
  • Map Generalisation
  • Spatial Data Modelling
  • Remote sensing and analysis of remotely sensed data
  • Semantics and ontologies

Ordnance Survey actively supports the academic research community through its External Research and University Liaison team. The R&I department actively supports MSc and PhD students as well as engaging in colloborative research. Most Ordnance Survey products are available to UK Universities that have signed up to the Digimap agreement and data is also made available for research purposes that advances Ordnance Survey's own research agenda.


More information can be found at Ordnance Survey Research Labs


Criticisms of Ordnance Survey

In recent years there have been a number of criticisms of Ordnance Survey. Most of these centre on the argument that OS possesses a virtual government monopoly on geographic data in the UK.[2] Although OS is a government agency it is required to act as a "trading fund" or commercial entity. This means that it is totally self funding from the commercial sale of its data whilst at the same time being the public supplier of geographical information.


The Guardian newspaper have a long-running "Free Our Data" campaign, calling for the raw data gathered by - and for, often by local authorities, at public expense - the OS to be made freely available for reuse by individuals and companies, as happens, for example, with such data in the USA. [3] The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ...


On the 7 April 2006 the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) received a complaint from the data management company Intelligent Addressing[4]. Many, although not all, complaints were upheld by the OPSI, one of the conclusions being that OS "is offering licence terms which unnecessarily restrict competition". Negotiations between OS and interested parties are ongoing with regard to the issues raised by the OPSI report, the OS being under no obligation to comply with the report's recommendations. April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the new body incorporating Her Majestys Stationery Office (usually abbreviated as HMSO). ...


See also

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), is a department of the government of Canada responsible for natural resources, energy, minerals and metals, forests, earth sciences, mapping and remote sensing. ... The Institut géographique national (English: National geographic institute) or IGN is a French public state administrative establishment, whose task is to produce and maintain geographical information for France and its overseas departments and territories. ... Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI; Irish: Suirbhéireacht Ordanáis na hÉireann) is the mapping agency in the Republic of Ireland. ... Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) is the official mapping agency of Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. ... The National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Data Processing (Spanish: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI)) is a unit of the government of Mexico dedicated to the collection and organization of statistical, geographical and economic information on the country. ... Statens kartverk is Norways national organisation for land surveying, hydrographic surveying and cartography. ... Swisstopo is the common name for the Swiss Federal Office of Topography (in German: Bundesamt für Landestopografie. ... InsertSLUTTY WHORES≤ non-formatted text here{| class=toccolours border=1 cellpadding=4 style=float: right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em; width: 20em; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 95%; clear: right; |+ United States Geological Survey |- |style= align=center colspan=2| [[Image:USGS logo. ... A grid reference is a standard method for the location of a point on a map. ... The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using latitude or longitude. ... The Irish national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Ireland. ... Cartography or mapmaking (in Greek chartis = map and graphein = write) is the study, practice, science and art of making maps or globes. ... Hydrography focuses on the measurement of physical characteristics of waters and marginal land. ... Hydrographic survey is the process of gathering information about navigable waters for the purposes of safe navigation of vessels. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Hydrographic office. ... This page is about the cartographic mechanism called Romer, for the person, see Ole Rømer. ... For considerations of sea level change, in particular rise associated with possible global warming, see sea level rise. ... This is a list of topics related to the United Kingdom. ... Maps of the UK and Ireland are available in various media. ...

References

  • Margary, Harry (1992). Old Series Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales. Unknown. ISBN 0-903541-01-7. 
  • Official Homepage. Official Homepage. Retrieved on September 29, 2005.
  • History of Cartography. Academic research by the University of Exeter. Retrieved on September 29, 2005.
  1. ^ Note that the Ordnance Survey currently deals only with maps of Great Britain (and to an extent, the Isle of Man). Northern Ireland, whilst an integral part of the United Kingdom, is mapped by a separate government agency, the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
  2. ^ Guardian
  3. ^ Free Our Data website
  4. ^ OPSI

September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) is the official mapping agency of Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. ...

External links

Footnote

  1. ^ Note that the Ordnance Survey currently deals only with maps of Great Britain (and to an extent, the Isle of Man). Northern Ireland, whilst an integral part of the United Kingdom, is mapped by a separate government agency, the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
  2. ^ Guardian
  3. ^ Free Our Data website
  4. ^ OPSI

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ordnance Survey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2126 words)
Ordnance Survey (OS) is an executive agency of the United Kingdom government.
It was not until 1790 that the Board of Ordnance (the predecessor of the Ministry of Defence) began a national military survey starting with the south coast of England in anticipation of a French invasion.
For the second survey, in 1935, this process was also used, and resulted in the building of many short (approx four feet high), square, triangulation points (trig points) - concrete pillars on top of various high points and the working out the exact position of these by triangulation.
Ordnance Survey - definition of Ordnance Survey in Encyclopedia (1587 words)
The Ordnance Survey (OS) is now a civilian organisation and government agency in the United Kingdom, and one of the world's largest producers of maps.
It was gruelling work: Major Thomas Colby, later the longest serving Director General of the Ordnance Survey, walked 586 miles in 22 days on a reconnaissance in 1819.
A similar system is used jointly by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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