You'd be lOSt without us

You may be aware, Ordnance Survey are going on the road and raising awareness of how their data is used….I initially thought “Why? They are Ordnance Survey!” but it is all too easy to forget how their data is integrated into everything, from your SatNav, through to your car insurance quote!

Ordnance Survey have done a great job of putting together a website to kick things off (I have been lucky enough to be asked to write some text for them) . I think this will be a good page to keep an eye on to see where this goes, interesting stuff……

From the Ordnance Survey blog today 23rd May:

If you are a regular reader of our blog you will know about the wide range of things we get up to and about how our data is used in all manner of things from helping determine insurance premiums to working out which properties are likely to be affected by flooding, from getting your supermarket shopping delivered to the satellite navigation system in your car.

However, you’d be among a very few people in the country who are aware that we are involved in so many things. Sadly, the majority of people only know Ordnance Survey for our popular pink and orange outdoor leisure maps – OS Explorer Maps and OS Landranger maps  – and although they might know that we offer a mapping app for iPphones and iPads and an online portal, they probably don’t know about all the ways our data is used in our everyday lives.

But we have plans to change that!

And this week, we’ll be taking to the road to explain more about our data and how it gets used in our everyday lives and how, as a nation, we’d be lost without Ordnance Survey!

So, if you are heading to the Hay Festival, do visit our stand and meet the team. We’ll be there until Sunday 2 June chatting to people and running an interactive quiz to test your knowledge of what we do and how our data is used – with the opportunity to win some great prizes!

We’ll be explaining all the ways our data is used – by councils to save money through running services like waste collections more efficiently to insurance companies tackling fraud and making sure that your insurance is relevant to your location. We’ll be talking about some of the great case studies we have of our data being used to combat obesity in children, both by Change 4 Life, the Department of Health’s campaign and by a local authority who discovered (using a map) that in deprived areas, nearby takeaway restaurants were being used as an alternative to school lunches.

We’ll also be running a series of map reading workshops, helping you to understand the basics of navigation, sponsoring some author sessions and asking you to create your very own custom made map symbol!

Below is an extract of the “You’d be lOSt without us” page:


Our digital mapping data is used to support a whole range of activities and services which you might not be aware of.

From providing the data used by satnavs in cars to supplying information that means your insurance premiums can be tailored to your location, our data is working behind the scenes in everyone’s lives.

In fact, we’d all be pretty lost without Ordnance Survey’s digital map data.

In car sat-nav

Call centre representative at work

Imagine a world where the fire engine couldn’t find its way to you in an emergency, where town planners don’t know where main roads and pipes are, where outdoor enthusiasts can’t rely on maps to get them up (and down) mountains, and where houses are built without any understanding of how the location will affect the lives of residents. Powering the search engines, helping the supermarket or pizza delivery guy deliver to your front door at the time you are expecting, digital location data is a fundamental part of how this country works.

Fire engine


Hiker in morning sunshineCourier delivering a parcel

And local authorities are using our data to help make efficient decisions, from whether local children need another takeaway restaurant next to their school or where health visitors should target their resources to improve immunisation rates to keep everyone safe from routine diseases. They use our data to plan the routes school buses take and make bin collections the most efficient they can be!

Our data helps the NHS decide where to put services, such as family planning clinics or rehab centres, so they get used by the right people.

It is also used by commercial companies to improve the services they sell to you. From insurance companies knowing whether your house is likely to be affected by flooding to financial services companies tackling fraud, our data underpins the systems and processes which we’d be lost without!

Girl at laptop

School bus header sign

First response motorcyclist

Fraud - shredded paper

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