Add OSTN15 to QGIS 2.16

As you may be aware, the United Kingdom has a new transformation model that is OSTN15…..But why? What does it mean to the geospatial community?

Without being too nerdy, tectonic plate movement means that the “model” surface (the geoid) is slowly moving from best fit for the coordinate system. It has been 13yrs since Ordnance Survey implemented OSTN02 so the shift since then is enormous…..a whole 1cm and vertically it is 2.5cm. See this article here from Ordnance Survey.

The whole story is that sensors and our ability to calculate our positi0n relative to both the mathematical models and our relative position to those is constantly evolving too. So, just as OSTN02 revolutionised the accuracy of projecting GPS (WGS84) coordinates using a grid transformation (250 points over the 7 parameters used until 2002), OSTN15 both uses the OS Net of 250 points but has also been improved further with 12 zero order stations with accuracy of 2mm horizontal and 6mm vertical.

So how will this change the way you use your GIS?

If you are already using OSTN02 for your transformations between EPSG 27700 and EPSG 4326 – then you will only see a 5cm improvement over a 1m area at best and this is based on the worst places in the UK, on average you will only see a 2cm improvement anywhere in the UK. To put this into context, when you are zoomed in to an A3 map to about 1:100, you are talking about a few pixels on the screen….it won’t be groundbreaking [at the moment].

Currently, as this goes to press, the OSTN15 transformation has only been available for a few weeks and it is still being tested on different software to ensure it works, I am told that ESRI UK have been testing it with their software as this is being written.

As with OSTN02, I’ve created a fix for QGIS and OSTN15, I will describe how to implement this further in this.

It’s all about the Proj

Proj (Proj.4) is a cartographic library which is based on the work of Gerald Evenden of USGS back circa 1980. Over time it has evolved to consume grid transformations and is used by GRASS GIS, MapServer, PostGIS, Thuban, OGDI, Mapnik, TopoCad,GDAL/OGR as well as QGIS.

There are many ways to use proj, without a GIS you can use it through a command line by defining parameters. QGIS uses the proj library by accessing a spatialite database called srs.db. This is held at .appsqgisresourcessrs.db in Windows and Linux.

The proj spatialite database is a relational database which, when analysed, holds tables for coordinate systems, epsg codes & transformations. What is really clever is that it recognises direction of transformation.

Why is direction important?

Most coordinate transformations go from the projected coordinate system to the geographic coordinate system, for example epsg 4277 to epsg 4326, OSTN15 bucks the trend and is the reverse direction, from 4326 to 4277.

As I found when I first tested OSTN15 with QGIS, I was getting a uniform 200m shift in the data which was being translated and I was really confused. After talking with the gridfile creator, I discovered that the file was created from ETRS89 to OSGB36, therefore the 200m shift I was getting.

QGIS is awesome, you’ve probably overlooked just how clever it is and so did I. Next time you run a transformation, or when you try this one, you may notice that there are 2 fields noted in the columns SRC (source) and DST (destination)…and this is a godsend for solving this issue, as QGIS can read the coordinate in both directions.

transformation-in-qgis

Show us the magic

So, I talked with Ordnance Survey and found that OSTN15 has been given the epsg of 7709 and created a new record with the srs.db which is distributed with Windows, Linux & Mac releases. To utilise this, all you need to do is to download the OSTN15 file from Ordnance Survey (here) and then place the OSTN15_NTv2.gsb file in the shared projections folder .shareprojOSTN15_NTv2.gsb this has been found to be correct in Mac and Windows (there should be similar in Linux). You know it is the right folder as there should be other .gsb files in there!

qgis_folder_location

You can download the updated srs.db from here, this should be placed in the resources folder which can be found at  .appsqgisresourcessrs.db – I highly recommend changing the name of the srs.db file in this folder to something like srs.db.old before adding the new version, just in case it doesn’t work for your particular set up BUT it has been checked on Mac and Windows distributions of QGIS from version 2.12 through to QGIS 2.17.

Enjoy

Dragons8mycat

 

Many thanks to Ordnance Survey for their help

Further reading about the model for Great Britain and OSTN15, I recommend this paper: A guide to Coordinate systems in Great Britain

Mapillary Raises $8 Million Series A to Democratize Maps by Connecting the World's Photos

Technology has made the farthest corners of the planet more accessible than ever before. We can video call loved ones on the other side of the world; and we can view photos of foreign landmarks at the click of a button. At Mapillary, we are taking this accessibility to the next level by letting anyone and everyone create their own street­level maps.

We’re connecting millions of photos taken by thousands of users around the world, allowing users to create maps of previously uncharted territories in an instant, and giving people the ability to map the places they care about.

With more than 50 million photos, we have mapped more than 1.2 million kilometers in more than 170 countries to date. Through our app (available on iOS and Android), anyone can contribute photos from their smartphones, GoPros and other action cameras. Furthermore, our open­sourced technology lets anyone use existing images on Mapillary — and the data that we extract from them.

Today, we’re announcing $8 million in Series A funding from Atomico, Sequoia, LDV Capital, and PlayFair to help us map the world beyond where cars can go. We not only plan to fill in the blanks on existing maps, but to create our own complete representation of the earth to benefit governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and curious explorers alike.

“Mapillary is reinventing the way we map and navigate our world,” said Niklas Zennström, CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico. “Their ambition is to transform the way we plan our cities, develop transport networks and understand other parts of the globe. We’re proud to invest in the next phase of their growth and look forward to working alongside Jan Erik and his team as they advance their technology and scale the business.”

The 3D visualization of famed monuments like La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and hard­to­access locations like Pyongyang, North Korea opens up the possibility for crowdsourced virtual reality. The immersive virtual world is not just a tool for geographic data collection, but for a cultural shift that puts the documentation of unfamiliar land in the hands of the people who walk it. While the world collects the data, we’re working to make it valuable. Google’s Street View pictures aid the occasional navigator, but Mapillary’s collection is a tool for more serious decisions. Mapillary’s partnership with Esri — the world leader in Geographic Information System (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications — enables governments and businesses to see their cities evolve in real time through our ArcGIS platform. Because our maps are updated as soon as photos are uploaded, cities gain insight into infrastructural problems like public transportation and road conditions instantly, allowing them to fix issues efficiently.

Through partnerships with nonprofits, we are using our technology to improve infrastructure in developing nations. In collaboration with the World Bank, local university students and community members are mapping Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in an effort to combat the devastating flooding that the rapidly growing metropolis experiences during its rainy season. The Red Cross has been using Mapillary for their Missing Maps project, which aims to chart underserved areas from Haiti to Uganda.

From suburban backyards to the ice shelves of Antarctica, Mapillary allows people to immerse themselves in places both familiar and unknown through stunning imagery. As we continue to grow, so will our capacity to make the world virtually accessible for users — and physically accessible for those who put our data to good use.

 

Mapillary

 

About Mapillary

Mapillary is a community­based mapping photo app where anyone in the world can capture, share and explore photos that document the world in real time. From hiking trails to remote villages, Mapillary goes beyond where cars can go. Mapillary is able to provide versatile, instant data for any group that depends on geographic intelligence: nonprofits, cities, governments, and companies.

The Geotest….some interesting stats

Over 300 people have taken the test I set on the internet so far, for those who have taken it, I thought you might like to see some statistics on it.

So far over 300 of you amazing geofolk have had a go at my fun Geotest…and I collated some interesting results, don’t worry, there will be no naming and shaming (though someone DID call themselves GEOGOD??!!), what is interesting though is the skill level(s) and knowledge of those taking the test. Read on…

Question 1

All of the above Measurement of the Earth Representation of the Earth
Geodetics is the the study of what? 47% 40% 13%

Question 2

Gary Sherman Jack Dangermond Nicholas Duggan Roger Tomlinson
Who is the Father of GIS? 9% 21% 10% 60%

Question 3

Allocating a data with a reference in physical space Allocating a data within a sphere Allocating a geographic barrier to the data Gridding a dataset
What is “Georeferencing” 91% 4% 2% 3%

Question 4

AutoCAD, QGIS, ArcGIS AutoCAD, QGIS, ArcGIS, GRASS QGIS, ArcGIS, GRASS
Name 3 GIS software (Pick 3 below) 8% 1% 91%

Question 5

Metadata Metafile
What is the name for “data about data” which normally accompanies geospatial data? 95% 5%

Question 6

FALSE TRUE
Best practice when using text on maps is to use fonts with serifs 73% 27%

Question 7

A line which gives indication of distance A list of data & symbols for reference of the user
What is a “legend” 1% 99%

Question 8

FALSE TRUE
Does a maps scale change when the paper size is changed? 53% 47%

Question 9

Height Length Width
When dealing with datum, what is “z”? 97% 1% 2%

Question 10

Distance weighted analysis Time based analysis
What is “temporal analysis”? 1% 99%

Statistics…we all love statistics

On average the test was taken twice, the first score being 7/10 and the second being 9/10

Over a FIFTH of people think Jack Dangermond is the Father of GIS

The most common name for people taking the test a second time was F*CK

Over 40% of people need to re-read their geodetic books

Over a quarter of people aren’t bothered about serifs

The average score over the current 300 users is 79.9%

 

I’ve really had fun answering your questions and seeing your scores. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TEST!!

WATCH THIS SPACE…..

Nick D

 

 

Ordnance Survey go GovCo

On 22nd of January Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Business, Enterprise & Energy, announced the change of business operating model for Ordnance Survey from Government Trading Fund to a Government Company (GovCo).

A new model for operation of The Ordnance Survey of the UK has been announced. This looks promising for the future of the customer and it is good to note the reference(s) to the use of the term “Open & free where possible”. It certainly looks like there are some exciting times ahead for the UK GIS market; and this could serve as a model for similar operations worldwide.

On 22nd of January Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Business, Enterprise & Energy, announced the change of business operating model for Ordnance Survey from Government Trading Fund to a Government Company (GovCo).

Here is the statement which was made in parliament:

I am today announcing the Government’s intention to change Ordnance Survey from a Trading Fund to a Government Company at the end of the financial year.

The change is operational in nature, and is aimed at improving Ordnance Survey’s day-to-day efficiency and performance. It will provide the organisation with a more appropriate platform from which to operate, and one which provides greater individual and collective responsibility for performance.

Ordnance Survey will remain under 100% public ownership with the data remaining Crown property, with ultimate accountability for the organisation staying with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Further to this change, in the coming weeks I will also be setting out more details on how Ordnance Survey will be building on its existing extensive support for the Government’s Open Data policy and on some senior appointments which will further strengthen the management team.

Ordnance Survey exists in a fast moving and developing global market. There has been rapid technology change in the capture and provision of mapping data, and increasingly sophisticated demands from customers who require data and associated services – including from government. To operate effectively, Ordnance Survey needs to function in an increasingly agile and flexible manner to continue to provide the high level of data provision and services to all customers in the UK and abroad, in a cost effective way, open and free where possible. Company status will provide that.

Mapping data and services are critical in underpinning many business and public sector functions as well as being increasingly used by individuals in new technology. Ordnance Survey sits at the heart of the UK’s geospatial sector. Under the new model, the quality, integrity and open availability of data will be fully maintained, and in future, improved. Existing customers, partners and suppliers will benefit from working with an improved organisation more aligned to their commercial, technological and business needs.

The relationship with Government will be articulated through the Shareholder Framework Agreement alongside the Company Articles of Association. The change will be subject to final Ministerial approval of these governance matters.

Ordnance Survey will also continue to publish a statement of its public task, to subscribe to the Information Fair Trader Scheme and comply with the relevant Public Sector Information Regulations, including Freedom of Information legislation, and make as much data as possible openly available to a wide audience of users. This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS197

Written by Nicholas Duggan – Article originally posted on xyHt.com