Recreating the Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps with Open Data

Originally posted on xyHt: http://www.xyht.com/spatial-itgis/recreating-ordnance-survey-explorer-maps-open-data/
I made a map which resembles the OS Explorer Maps…only using (free) Open Data

Originally posted on xyHt.com

The holy grail for many map users is the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale “Explorer” map. Not only are they easy to read due to the fantastic cartography used but also have information which is hard to source such as public rights of way, National Trust & Woodland Trust sites, even wind farms…to the casual rambler the map provides everything they need. To a business user, the maps provide enough detail to undertake high level scoping exercises and basic site analysis. It really is a great product, unfortunately it is only available as a raster dataset at a cost, for around 10km² is currently around £50 at best.

SouthamptonOS25k

So what if there was a way of recreating the Explorer map for free?…

With the recent release of the OS OpenMap (free) product it has become possible to get pretty close using data available in the public domain. Here is a map I created for a British Cartographic Society competition:

Skeuomorph MapYes, there are public rights of way, contours, even heritage sites…let’s go through where this data came from and how it was all compiled, the data can be downloaded from here:

I’m not going to teach you to suck eggs, if you have got this far you obviously know what you are doing and know how to manage the data. Therefore I am going to skip the steps on merging data and/or tiling data, instead we’ll move on to the styling of the OS OpenMap. Until recently OS would not provide styles for their digital data, I have heard legend of users being told that it is up to the user to style the open data…times have changed and OS have not only started to provide styles in both QGIS and ESRI formats but also advice on cartographic principles!

The public rights of way are provided in several different formats, GML, KML, Shapefile & MapInfo. To get this to work I used QGIS and the modeller to get one single set of data. The styles for them were based entirely on the OS 1:25,000 legend (here) – Thank you (again) to QGIS and the colour picker tool!

Woodland Trust sites & Heritage sites were relatively easy to symbolise, colouring them is a synch but the only way I could render the icon (well) was to create a point datated from the polygons. Tourism Points were something else…I wanted to ensure that I had the symbols relatively close to the originals and started out drawing them up as icons….until I came across a font set in my ArcGIS called “Strategi”. Yes, it turns out that Ordnance Survey released most of the tourism symbols with their Strategi release, you can obtain them here

Like the public rights of way, the renewable energy projects require a bit of work, if you obtained the CSV file, then creating some points of the locations isn’t hard using the Eastings and Northings provided and then removing or correcting any which may land in “Null Island”.

Its at this point I had to make a cartographic decision, it would be quite easy to go further and add the MOD danger sites (available from navigation charts), Cycle Routes (from Sustrans) and Youth Hostels (from YHA) – Though the purpose of the map (for me) is as a base layer to put other data on top of, to understand how my information relates to real world features and those on the OS Map.

Styles can be obtained here for both ArcGIS 10.3 & QGIS 2.10

GIS Tips – Getting OSTN02 to work with QGIS 2.2

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know how frustrated I have been lately with QGIS and getting the Ordnance Survey transformation to work fully. With QGIS 2.2 came a lot of great changes, the best for me was the ability to add custom transformations, this gave me the ability to apply 7 parameter transformations to my data which would get within 4m accuracy (2m on average).

Recently Sourcepole released a blog which highlighted how grid transformations could be added directly to the core SRS database in QGIS. I’ve adapted what is shown on here to work with the OSTN02 NTv2 file.

First a small disclaimer – This is the method which I used on a Windows 8.1 machine running QGIS 2.2 on an OSGEO4W 64bit install, if you are a developer and have a better method, pleeeeeaaaasssse provide it, otherwise I provide this as an easy fix until this is made part of the next QGIS release.

Required:

Steps:

1. Unzip the OSTN02 zipfile and save the OSTN02_NTv2.gsb file to the ./share/proj folder of your QGIS install (for the OSGEO4W, this is C:/OSGEO4W/Share/Proj/ )

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2. Open the SQLite browser you installed and click “File” and then “Open Database”. Navigate to .\apps\qgis\resources\ and open the srs.db file.

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3. Once open, select the “browse data” tab and select the tbl_datum_transformation table.

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4. Scroll to the bottom of the table, the cells can be changed by double clicking on each cell in turn and changing the value, then selecting the bottom right “save changes” option. Once all changes have been made, save the table using the save option at the top left of the GUI.

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For my version, I just changed the values in the last record (line 775). The values I used were as follows;

epsg nr: 27700

coord op code: 100012

source crs code: 4277

target crs code: 4326

coord op method: 9615

p1: OSTN02_NTv2.gsb

p2: LEAVE BLANK

p3: LEAVE BLANK

p4: LEAVE BLANK

p5: LEAVE BLANK

p6: LEAVE BLANK

p7: LEAVE BLANK

Remarks: Put what you want in here, I put the Ordnance Survey disclaimer text to ensure copyright was adhered to.

Scope: As above, put what you want

Preferred: 1

depreciated: 0

area of use code: 1264

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5. Goto line 210 (should be the Helmert toWGS84 transform) and change the preferred cell to 0 and the depreciated cell to 1.

6. Save table and close.

7. Open QGIS and go to “settings” and then options. Remove any default datum transformations and then ensure the “ask for datum transformation” option is selected.

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Add a WGS84 data and then an OSG36 data into the same frame, when the OSGB36 is added you should get a pop up with the option to use the OSTN02!!

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So far I have found this to be reliable and and levels of shift are almost invisible, inline with the 0.001m claimed by Ordnance Survey.

Now that you have changed the srs.db you won’t be too interested in downloading the one here to replace yours to save you time.

If you need 2 files to test, there are 2 shapefiles (1 in WGS84 & 1 in OSG36) available here, they are both the same data but in different coordinate systems and should perfectly align, if they don’t, then there is a projection shift problem!

Nick D

Return of Ordnance Survey’s free OS OpenData Masterclasses

Data makes the GIS world happen, good quality data is essential and FREE good quality data is rare. So when Ordnance Survey released their Open Data product it was met with a mixed review. Initially there was some disappointment that there wasn’t the full level of detail that one would expect from the Mastermap product, but then we all knew, in the back of our minds that it was never going to happen.

Over time I have grown to love the OS Open Data, it links seamlessly into so many other data and there is never a question of the data quality. Last year I got the opportunity to go to the OS Open Data Masterclass at the Ordnance Survey here in Southampton, UK. Interestingly, the class was ran using QGIS 1.8 and had hands on demonstrations, showing how the data can be used to solve spatial problems.

So, how excited was I to see this morning, that Ordnance Survey are going to run another set of classes!! Have a look below at the blog from the Ordnance Survey and book yourself a place!!

From the Ordnance Survey blog: By , 8, October, 2013 8:00 am

People across Great Britain are being given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques to use open datasets, through a series of free masterclasses, hosted by Ordnance Survey and supported by Horizon Digital Economy Research.

OSOpenData masterclass icon

materclass being delivered

This series of masterclasses will follow the format of previous workshops in combining theory and practical sessions, though we have updated the workshop material, still following the same journey of downloading the data, importing it into open source software and mashing with other open datasets to provide analysis. This class is ideal for those new to working with location data or anyone wishing to brush up on their skills.

We shall also be working with OS OpenSpace, Ordnance Survey’s free web mapping service that allows users to display up-to-date Ordnance Survey mapping in a web page or online environment. The workshop for this session will explain how to create file formats that can be easily imported into web mapping to show a list of locations.

For more advanced users, we will introduce our cartographic design principles and run through how to style map data features using open source software, and add the finishing touches to their map such as legends and scales bars.

Peter ter Haar, Director of Products and Innovation at Ordnance Survey, said: “The masterclasses are a great opportunity for people to experiment and start to develop with Ordnance Survey’s open data products and services. The sessions will provide the attendees with the tools and techniques needed to use, analyse and style a range of open datasets relevant to them.

“Today we are seeing thousands of ventures, products and applications underpinned by location data, and we want to make ensure that when developers are using digital mapping they think of Ordnance Survey. Through OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace anyone can access, for free, detailed and trusted digital mapping to support their products, services or applications.”

Ordnance Survey is able to offer up to 40 places at each master class, running from 9.30 am until 5.00pm each day. Locations and dates of the sessions:

Use our OS OpenData Masterclass finder to see where the nearest one is to you, and book your place today, or click on the relevant link above to reserve your space and obtain a ticket.

open data masterclass finder

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ordnance Survey Open Data Certified!!

Source: Ordnance Survey Blog 13th Aug 2013

There are so many different types of open data being released that it is becoming increasingly difficult for users to know the best to use in their applications, systems and technology.  To address this, the Open Data Institute (ODI) has launched the ODI certificate, which publishers can check their open data against.

The certificate runs through a series of questions that have been designed to help publishers:

  • explain what their open data is about
  • improve quality with other people’s help
  • respect people’s privacy and rights
  • build communities of interested people
  • deliver open data that people can depend upon

There are 4 kinds of certificate levels available; Raw, Pilot, Standard and Expert. Progressing through each level demonstrates an increased support network and robust information infrastructure.

“The Expert level sets a very high bar. This ambition underpins the potential we see in open data if it is published well. We don’t know who will be the first to attain an Expert certificate, but whoever it is will be celebrated!” (Jeni Tennison, Technical Director, ODI)

We put our Linked Data products, Code-Point Open, Boundary-Line and 1:50 000 Scale Gazetteer through the certification process and all are now certified “Standard Level”.

The application is really easy to use and the recommendations provided on how to improve the data to increase its rating have given us a clear steer on improving the openness of the data.

We now plan to put all of our other OS OpenData products through the same process to help to prioritise future developments and will published the results on our website.

Just where are the standards nowadays? (rant)

I am sure I am not the only one, you have the mother of all projects to get some spatial analysis done on by close of business and you go to merge the data for a spot of spatial join action and……there is no consistency, in fact every single data has a different way of structuring its attribute data.

Okay, so maybe you won’t be merging your data together for a spatial join, only a complete noob would be doing that (hello :P) but the point is, where are the standards? You buy survey data and most of its own data uses different attribute labelling formats, you download some Government Open Data and you spend 90% of your time trying to work out what the columns are about…if they are labelled at all!.

This is the modern age, we are looking at big data and cloud based systems yet we can’t even produce 2 data which talk to each other, it is well, embarrassing!! The ironic (or frightening) thing is that I have sat in a few meetings and discussions on Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and each meeting has its own ideas about what needs to be addressed – The hydrographers want something specific to them and then the survey guys want something specific to them….and so on…

Well there are many SDIs about but here’s the problem….too many chiefs and not enough Indians (excuse the analogy), there are too many rules and regulations from too many sources for anyone to make sense of it & without any single specific governing body we end up with everyone having their own ideas over what they think should be right….only most of these guys are analysts, theorists and conspirators, not the people that work with the geospatial data on a day to day basis.

Just a quick scout on Wikipedia reveals just how many different standards are flying around at the moment:

My question to you all is why can’t the field with the object names in be called “Names” or the field with the WGS84 Latitude coordinates (in Decimal Degrees be called “Lat_DD”? Is this too complex?

I’m looking at my Twitter right now and I see 2500 of the best people to answer my question, if not, to spread the word and help to find the BEST answer to the question –

HOW DO WE GO ABOUT GETTING A DEFINITIVE SDI FOR FEATURE ATTRIBUTION?Please feel free to prod me and poke a stick at me if I am completely wrong and there is a standard which should be adhered to, in 10yrs of geospatial work I haven’t found it but I may have been looking in the wrong places. The closest I have got so far is the amazing work being done as part of the Inspire directive, though trying to comprehend it is a real pain and a few of the attribute names are not compliant with shapefile format eg “meanhigherhighwatersprings” & “Gradeseperatedcrossing” is never going to work!

All I want to do is to inter-relate my geospatial data and not spend hours having to rename and re-order the fields so that it I can join 2 tables together! It can’t be that hard….can it?

Nick D

Ordnance Survey release New Height Product – OS Terrain 5 & Update to OS Terrain 50

Sourced from the Ordnance Survey Blog –  , 8, July, 2013 9:55 am
 OS Terrain 5 is our new fully maintained analytical height product modelling the shape of Great Britain’s landscape. OS Terrain 5 is a digital terrain model designed to work together with our large-scale products to provide the third dimension to analytical applications, such as flood risk assessment, development and wind farm location. You can see OS Terrain 5 below.

We’ve ensured additional modelling for features that are often used for analytical applications – such as such as major communication routes, lakes, quarries and urban areas. See the example below with the motorway network and Killington Reservoir.

OS Terrain 5 will be updated quarterly to ensure that latest data is available for customers. Featuring over 2.3 million contour lines and more than 280,000 spot heights, OS Terrain 5 provides highly-accurate, intelligent data.

Our first commercial product to be made exclusively available for download, OS Terrain offers 5 metre grid and 5 metre contour options within the one product.  We’ve also embraced open source standards and made the product available in a variety of formats, such as ASCII grid, Esri shapefile and GML 3.2 with detailed xml metadata for each tile of data.

The level of consistency and currency and ability to integrate with our large scale products makes OS Terrain 5 a welcome addition for terrain analysis and 3D visualisation by a wide range of customers.

Below: OS Terrain 5 overlaid with OS VectorMap Local, OS MasterMap Networks Water Layer and OS MasterMap Networks Rail Layer

Update to OS Terrain 50 now available

OS Terrain is the new family name for our height products and we launched OS Terrain 50 in April this year as part of our OS OpenData product portfolio. The national scale 50 m grid format has already proved popular for download and we’ve now updated the grid and released the 10 m contours for the product. You can view and download OS Terrain 50 in grid and contour format via our website now.

OS Terrain 50

Ordnance Survey release New Height Product – OS Terrain 5 & Update to OS Terrain 50

Sourced from the Ordnance Survey Blog –  , 8, July, 2013 9:55 am
 OS Terrain 5 is our new fully maintained analytical height product modelling the shape of Great Britain’s landscape. OS Terrain 5 is a digital terrain model designed to work together with our large-scale products to provide the third dimension to analytical applications, such as flood risk assessment, development and wind farm location. You can see OS Terrain 5 below.

We’ve ensured additional modelling for features that are often used for analytical applications – such as such as major communication routes, lakes, quarries and urban areas. See the example below with the motorway network and Killington Reservoir.

OS Terrain 5 will be updated quarterly to ensure that latest data is available for customers. Featuring over 2.3 million contour lines and more than 280,000 spot heights, OS Terrain 5 provides highly-accurate, intelligent data.

Our first commercial product to be made exclusively available for download, OS Terrain offers 5 metre grid and 5 metre contour options within the one product.  We’ve also embraced open source standards and made the product available in a variety of formats, such as ASCII grid, Esri shapefile and GML 3.2 with detailed xml metadata for each tile of data.

The level of consistency and currency and ability to integrate with our large scale products makes OS Terrain 5 a welcome addition for terrain analysis and 3D visualisation by a wide range of customers.

Below: OS Terrain 5 overlaid with OS VectorMap Local, OS MasterMap Networks Water Layer and OS MasterMap Networks Rail Layer

Update to OS Terrain 50 now available

OS Terrain is the new family name for our height products and we launched OS Terrain 50 in April this year as part of our OS OpenData product portfolio. The national scale 50 m grid format has already proved popular for download and we’ve now updated the grid and released the 10 m contours for the product. You can view and download OS Terrain 50 in grid and contour format via our website now.

OS Terrain 50