Tom Armitage

Aug 012018
 

On 1st August 2018 EDINA launched a new Digimap Collection, one that aims to provide data for the whole world, not just Great Britain.

Global Digimap is now available as a beta service as we look to build a suite of datasets, themes and formats that best meets the needs of our users. We will continue to develop the Global Digimap service over the coming months, shaped by the feedback that you give.

During this development phase, and in return for engagement with the development process, the service will be free of charge for institutions that subscribe to another Digimap Collection. We would like to know what you like and don’t like about it, what features and what new data you would like to see added.  We can’t promise to include everything but the more we hear from you the better able we are to prioritise different requirements and create the best possible service.

“We are developing this service in partnership with the community; it will be subject to continuous improvements.  Please keep checking back to see how it develops; please keep the feedback coming; please be understanding if the service is different today from yesterday!”

Below are details about the data and service available now, and what we plan to include in the short term. It is never too early to let us know what else you would like to see, we are very keen to hear from you; our contact details are at the bottom of this post.

Overview

The service is currently built around two key datasets, OpenStreetMap and Natural Earth, but we will be looking to add more on your recommendation. We will also be using the two familiar Digimap interfaces, Roam and Data Download to provide access to the data.

OpenStreetMap

This is a global dataset created by contributors either volunteering their time or working on projects that are adding information to the dataset. Feature types and attribute information is carried mostly in a single data column as tags in the data’s raw format. We have created our own instance of the data which we update on a daily basis. From our own database we will be creating a set of more usable data tables each weekend, to provide users with data to download in more usable themes.

There is an amazing amount of information in OpenStreetMap but it is quite inconsistent; there are areas where the quantity and quality of mapping is incredible, most of Germany is covered in great detail and Edinburgh too. There are of course other areas where not much detail has been captured at all, however the great thing about OpenStreetMap is that you can contribute and capture the data yourself. The data should never be considered to be definitive but in many cases it is the best data, sometimes the only data, available for a location.

We have categorised OpenStreetMap data so that we can deliver it in a set of themes for download:  Buildings, Landuse, Natural Places, Place of Worship, Points of Interest, Railways, Roads, Traffic, Transport, Water, Waterways. We are also hoping to add Addresses and Administrative Boundaries as layers soon too.

We will provide the data in Geopackage and File Geodatabase formats for ease of use in QGIS and ArcGIS but hope to add DWG format data too. The DWG format will mean that  building outlines from around the globe will be available for CAD users.

We are also creating cartographies for the data so that you can view, annotate and print it using the Global Roam interface.

Natural Earth

Natural Earth data is a curated set of small scale, (1:10m, 1:50m and 1:110m)  mapping datasets that are great for using in overview maps or to show global analysis. This is an Open dataset so can be used for any purpose, not just academic. We will be using the Natural Earth data in Global Roam and Global Download as the interface maps at the most zoomed out levels.

As we have the data we will be providing through the download interface which will be a more convenient way to get multiple layers of data than the Natural Earth website. When we introduce clipping of vector data downloads in the future this will add a very useful dimension. This will enable you to select your own areas of data rather than having to take global coverage.

What can I see now?

Global Download

The download interface will allow you to take OpenStreetMap data in Geopackage and File Geodatabase formats. There is the ability to select themes limiting the number of features you get in your data. Not all the OpenStreetMap data falls into one of the themes but we are working to incorporate as much as possible. As such the themes are subject to change.

Going forward we will be adding the Natural Earth Data and others requested by users where possible. We will also be looking for feedback on new themes to add to the OpenStreetMap data and extra feature types to add to existing themes.

Global Roam (Coming Soon!)

The familiar Roam interface with the usual annotation tools and a global search will be added to the collection very shortly. The most zoomed out maps will use Natural Earth Data which will change to OpenStreetMap as you zoom in. We will be creating grey-scale and colour themes, but we want to grow this range quickly. Our print interface will be integrated, allowing high quality printed maps up to A0 too though this will come later. We also plan to allow customisation of the maps using the groups and themes we develop, later in the year.

What we’d like you to tell us:

Global Digimap is going to be a collaborative project between the academic community and EDINA.  We want to produce a service that will meet the needs of the majority of the community, making global datasets accessible to as broad an audience as possible for teaching and research. This is ambitious and we accept that we won’t be able to meet everyone’s needs all the time, however if you never let us know what they are we won’t have a chance to try.

Are there any other datasets you like to see us include in this collection?

If you know of global datasets that you’d like to see in the collection please let us know. We aren’t always able to include datasets but we will try to include any that are possible. Please note that many Open datasets have non-redistribution clauses that prevent us from simply delivering them through Digimap. However it is always worth bringing them to our attention as we may be able to secure an exemption.

Are there any additional Themes you want us to make available for download?

OpenStreetMap data is huge and very complex, so if there is any way we can make it more accessible then let us know. We are aware that many features have been captured in different ways in different countries, regions or sometimes simply by different people. We are also aware that it is difficult to get large areas of the data with all the features you need or in the format you want If there is a particular subset of features that you need then let us know. If there is wider demand for this then we will aim to create them for the service.

What basemap styles would you like to see in Roam?

We would like to see the OpenStreetMap data utilised to its full potential and so we would like to create different basemaps to highlight different feature types. If you’d like a basemap that highlights natural features like forests, marshes and protected areas;  one for road networks;  residential, commercial and industrial zones; or perhaps a heritage and antiquities basemap then we’d like to hear from you. If you have already done some work with OpenStreetMap to create a particular style for your field of study then we’d be very interested if you would like to share your work to make the style more widely available through Digimap.

What formats suit the research you want to carry out?

For OpenStreetMap we are aiming to cover GIS and CAD with the Geopackage, File Geodatabase and DWG formats. However if there are other formats you’d really like to see then please let us know.  We appreciate that many users may like to see Shapefile formatted data and if demand is strong enough we may provide some limited feature sets in this format. Do note that the file size and geometry type limitations of Shapefiles don’t make them ideal for OpenStreetMap data.

Natural Earth vector data comes supplied as Shapefile so we will pass this format on to users, we will look to convert the data in to other appropriate vector formats like Geopackage and File Geodatabase. We will also be looking to clip these datasets to the area defined by the user in the interface, to keep download sizes small and to make the data fit the users requirements more closely.

Natural Earth Raster Data comes supplied as GeoTiffs and again we will make these available for download. If there are any other raster formats that you need then please get in touch. Again we will be looking to clip these datasets to the user defined area in the interface.

Get in touch

This is what we have planned but there is scope for so much more, so please get in touch with your ideas so we can start to build something amazing:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk [Subject: Global Digimap]
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302

 

 August 1, 2018  Posted by at 5:29 pm Digimap News, New Features Tagged with:  Comments Off on Global Digimap: a new collection
May 172018
 

You can now search and download the imagery data from Aerial Digimap by the year it was flown.

This allows you to be sure that you are downloading only the latest data, but it also allows you to download multiple images for the same location taken on different dates. We currently have data from 1998 through to 2016, with more English and Welsh images coming for 2016. When you are in Aerial Download you can see the extents of each year using the Show Availability Grid tool on the right side of the map as shown in the image above.

There is a table below detailing how many 1x1km images there are for each year, with the majority coming from 2013 to 2016, but some of the older images will be very useful to compare to the newer ones where they overlap:

Year Number of Images
1998 165
2000 855
2001 891
2002 75
2003 11
2005 423
2006 4,620
2007 7,799
2008 5,757
2009 25,066
2010 35,607
2011 18,642
2012 16,619
2013 54,534
2014 71,404
2015 81,378
2016 18,769

 

Here are two images of Lerwick taken 8 years apart:

Lerwick 2008 from Aerial Digimap

Lerwick 2008 from Aerial Digimap.

Lerwick 2016 from Aerial Digimap

Lerwick 2016 from Aerial Digimap.

As you can see there has been construction in the West of the area with new buildings and car parks added.

We hope that you find the ability to make this sort of comparison useful for your research. If you have any questions about this or any other aspects of the Digimap service then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
 May 17, 2018  Posted by at 10:32 am Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features, Of Interest Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on Aerial Imagery Data available by Year
Mar 302018
 
new building height coverage

Building Height Coverage

Ordnance Survey have released nearly 5000 extra 5km squares of building height data, with the total coverage increasing from 2578 to 7302. Each square has at least one building with height attributes added, with most fully covered. We have added this data to Digimap’s Data Download facility allowing you easy access to the data you need.

The Building Heights data is available from Data Download in a range of formats created especially for Digimap users. The most straightforward to use are DWG, File Geodatabase and KML which can be viewed directly in CAD, GIS and Google Earth respectively. You can also take the data as a CSV list that can be joined to the attribute table of any existing MasterMap Building data you have, using the TOID identifier. This means that you don’t have to recreate your project work with new data if you have already spent a lot of time working on it; as long as the buildings still have a TOID in their attribute data you can add the height information to it.

The Building Heights data is ideal for anyone working with the MasterMap data in 3D and has a range of applications in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Modelling, Archaeological Reconstructions and many more different disciplines. Here are a couple of examples:

OS MasterMap Topography Layer Building Height Attribute data on top of OS Terrain 5 Contours

OS MasterMap Topography Layer Building Height Attribute data on top of OS Terrain 5 Contours

 

3D model using Aerial Imagery, OS Terrain 5 DTM and MasterMap Building Height Attribute

3D model using Aerial Imagery, OS Terrain 5 DTM and MasterMap Building Heights Data

 

 March 30, 2018  Posted by at 10:43 am Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, Of Interest Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on OS MasterMap Building Height Data gets significant update
Mar 292018
 

The Points of Interest (PoI) data is great for research and you can make fantastic looking maps too as we have been showcasing on our twitter account. You have certainly been making the most of it too, with 16,877 PoI downloads being made since May 2015. Here are 3 dot density maps we made to show a single class of PoI data:

Points of Interest: Camping and Caravanning Dot Density mapPoints of Interest: Cattle Grids Dot Density mapPoints of Interest: Allotments Dot Density Map

However until today you had to take all the different classes of points for your specified area and you were limited to taking no more than 10,000 Km2 in a single download. As PoI data is split into 9 groups, 52 categories and over 600 classes (see the full scheme here), we though it would make things easier if we exposed some of this hierarchy in Digimap’s Data Download service.

You can now select one or more of the groups or categories to download, taking some of the data processing load off you and making your downloads more manageable. Being able to filter the features in your download by group or category means smaller downloads so we have also removed the limit on the area you can take; you can now take the whole country in one download if you want.

One note of caution though, the PoI data has around 4.5 million records and is over 1gb in size as a simple CSV file. So if you are taking national coverage you may want to only take one group or a few categories to minimise the amount of data you are dealing with.

To select a group or category of features simply add PoI data to your basket then use the drop down menu in the layers column to choose what you are interested in.

Points of Interest data in the digimap download basket

We hope that you find this change really improves the accessibility of the Points of Interest data, we look forward to seeing some of the interesting analyses and maps you produce!

 March 29, 2018  Posted by at 4:24 pm Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on Points of Interest now easier to download
Mar 272018
 

Bush HouseEDINA were delighted to co-host an event with King’s College London exploring the benefits of Digimap.  We were joined by a full complement of staff and students from both King’s College and other neighbouring universities at the impressive Bush House, and would like to offer our warmest thanks to staff at King’s College for making the arrangements.

We heard two fascinating talks from Dr Stuart Dunn (KCL) and Dr Stuart Brookes (UCL).  Dr Dunn talked about the identification and mapping of corpse roads by combining different types of data from a variety of sources, including historical texts and map data from Digimap. These ancient pathways exist in several areas of the country but their location is shrouded in the mists of folklore.

 

 

Dr Brookes gave a fabulous insight into how our reading of historical landscapes can explain and inform the development of our country today and how maps and spatial data play a key part in this analysis. Not only can this analysis explain the past but can also begin to predict future developments.  In particular he demonstrated how spatial data has assisted in demonstrating how ancient roads have impacted the growth of modern day transport networks and urban areas.

 

 

EDINA’s Director, Janet Roberts, gave a short talk about the value of Digimap and the use of data, highlighting particularly the importance of data skills to graduate employability and economic activity in both the short and medium term.

Both Dr Dunn and Dr Brookes have made use of a range of data from Digimap in their research and demonstrated the immense value that Digimap can bring to so many aspects of research and teaching. Having a wide range of data available in one place, with support available from EDINA, makes maps and map data easily accessible and usable for all staff and students from any discipline, novice and expert user alike.

This event was held in part to help broaden the use of Digimap at King’s College into more departments. There is a recognition that Digimap is a key resource at a high level at King’s College…

“An astonishing resource to have available which could be useful to all sorts of surprising research and teaching contexts across the faculty”

Professor Simon Tanner, Pro Vice Dean (Impact & Innovation), Arts & Humanities

… so we were very happy to do what we could to help. If you would like to showcase your own use of Digimap and promote the use of maps and spatial data throughout your institution, please get in touch (edina@ed.ac.uk). We look forward to co-hosting other similar events elsewhere.

 March 27, 2018  Posted by at 5:05 pm Digimap News, Training & Events Tagged with:  Comments Off on Digimap for Digital Humanities: An event at King’s College London
Sep 222017
 

We recently helped out the very talented Alasdair Rae from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield with some research on the buildings of Great Britain. Here is his blog post which is a great work of GIS sleuthery: Buildings of Great Britain

As mentioned in his post we assisted Alasdair by backing up the figures he created using Ordnance Survey’s OpenMap – Local dataset with information from the more authoritative OS MasterMap data.

So what did we find out?  First of all, we had to measure how big OS MasterMap says Great Britain is and instantly we hit an issue, tides.  It was quite tricky trying to unpick what is and isn’t covered when the tide comes in from the OS MasterMap classifications.  After a bit of data wrangling we came up with the fascinating factoid that Britain shrinks and grows by 3454 Km2 twice a day!

infographic-tides

With this settled, we could then move on to figuring out how much of each of the home nations was covered by buildings (at high tide!).  We found 42.5 million objects in OS MasterMap classified as buildings, which we then had to measure and divide up into England, Scotland and Wales. Note that we were just working out the area covered by buildings, not paved areas or roads etc. EDINA has the OS MasterMap data held in a PostgreSQL database with PostGIS installed for spatial analysis like this. Despite the database’s very large size the queries came back relatively quickly from our server, and showed that Alasdair’s figures were very close.  The figures based on OS MasterMap were slightly higher and we think that although generalisation tends to enlarge the building polygons, the inclusion of thousands of smaller buildings omitted from OpenMap – Local accounted for a larger amount.

  • England – 2635.87 Km2

  • Scotland – 316.15 Km2

  • Wales – 195.67 Km2

To give some sense of what these values look like we put them into another infographic for you:

infographic-builtarea

Thanks again to Alasdair Rae for letting us collaborate on his research and for raising such interesting questions we can ask of the data. Thanks also to Ordnance Survey for creating all this data in the first place so we can find these things out!

One last interesting fact that came out of the research was that Great Britain has 22.75 Km2 of glass houses, that’s the same as 3155 football pitches!

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 4:44 pm Digimap News Comments Off on How much of Britain is built on?
Aug 072017
 

GeoForum 2017 Welcome CropThis year’s GeoForum, held in the Geological Society of London on the 22nd of June, was a very successful event for all those who attended. Academics and support staff from subscribing institutions got to meet representatives from the Digimap team and experts from our data suppliers and the wider geospatial community.

In the morning session we heard from John Murray who explained some of the complexities involved in using Lidar data for extracting meaningful information to address real world scenarios. The Lidar data used by John is now available through the Digimap Lidar Collection, which is the latest collection to be added to the service. This collection makes data available from the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) easily downloadable through the easy to use Data Download application.

Following John was an informative and engaging presentation by Clare Rowland from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) who produce the Land-Cover Map datasets. Clare was heavily involved in the production of the latest version of the Land-Cover Map (LCM 2015) which is now available to view and print in Environment Roam and to download via Environment Download. Clare highlighted some interesting uses for the data including analysis of how land cover changes are affecting the numbers of bees.

The final presentation of the morning was a round up from EDINA’s Emma Diffley covering the achievements in the last 12 months and the plans for improvements to the service in the next 12 months. Of particular note were the introduction of two new collections: Aerial Digimap, launched in October 2016, and Lidar Digimap, launched in June 2017. The major work being undertaken by the team at the moment is a rewrite of all Roam clients to bring them up to date with the latest technology available, which will give them all a more modern look and feel whilst retaining all the existing functionality.

There was a great chance to network over lunch, when we also got to see William Smith’s pioneering Geological Map of Britain.

In the afternoon we held a feedback session where all the delegates had their chance to let us know how they feel Digimap is performing and what else they would like to see included in the service. This was then followed by a presentation and demonstration by EDINA’s Ian Holmes on how to use the Data from Digimap in various software packages to create 3D models. He showed us Ordnance Survey data GetMapping Aerial Imagery and some of the Environment Agency’s Lidar data in ArcGIS Pro, QGIS with the QGIS2Threejs plugin, and AutoDESK Infraworks.

 

The Presentations

John Murray: We have the Technology… We have the data… What next?

 

Clare Rowland: Land-Cover Map 2015

 

Emma Diffley: EDINA Report: GeoForum 2017

 

Ian Holmes: Creating 3D models in CAD and GIS using Digimap data

Feedback Session

GeoForum included a workshop involving all participants on how EDINA runs the Digimap Service. We asked  participants what they would like us to add or improve in terms of the data, service and support we provide.

Data

The main theme that came out of this discussion was that there is a great demand for overseas data, both global datasets and national data for other countries. Datasets such as OpenStreetMap and some of the global satellite data are now part of our long-term investment plans for Digimap.

There were also calls for Ordnance Survey’s AddressBase data. We have enquired about this particular dataset with Ordnance Survey before and the sticking point is the joint intellectual property rights with third party organisations.  We will keep up the pressure and do our best to make this data available.

Service

The common theme running through most of the service enhancement requests was to be more joined up. Improvements would come by making maps, tools and data more interoperable between collections, improving the ability to analyse all the data that individual users are licensed to use. Other features highlighted come more under the banner of personalisation, allowing users to customise their experience more, or to share maps they have created with other Digimap users.

Support

There was broad consensus that the support we provide for Digimap is excellent, with the content and the broad range of support channels proving very useful. There was most appetite for more webinars and video tutorials which we are committed to expanding in the coming academic year. We also had requests for more marketing materials and detailed usage figures for Site Reps so that they could better support and promote Digimap.

Closing Remarks

Finally EDINA’s new director Janet Roberts closed the day with a strong message about improving the Digimap service for the academic community and the importance of feedback sessions to help guide this process. Janet also reiterated the University of Edinburgh’s commitment to the Digimap service and making further developments beyond the core offering to better meet the sector’s needs.

We feel that the day was a complete success and we learned a lot from the delegates, particularly in the feedback session. With the great presentations we know that the delegates got something from the day too. We see the feedback session as good start in a process whereby we can engage as many users of Digimap to help us continually improve the service specifically for Higher Education.

 August 7, 2017  Posted by at 11:07 am Consultations, Digimap News, Training & Events Tagged with:  1 Response »
Aug 012017
 
3D scene with Aerial imagery and Lidar

3D scene showing imagery with hillshading derived from the 50cm Lidar DSM. © Getmapping Plc, © Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2016

We have now reached the end of the Lidar Digimap Preview. We hope that everyone who has used the service has found it a great way to access the Lidar data available. From now on the service will continue to be available to Digimap Users whose institution subscribes to the Aerial Digimap service.

Find out here if your institution subscribes

Lidar Point Cloud Forth Rail Bridge

Lidar Point Cloud Forth Rail Bridge. Crown copyright Scottish Government, SEPA and Scottish Water (2012).

Despite the addition of Lidar Digimap, Aerial Digimap subscription prices will not be increased for the 17/18 academic year. We will also be looking to add further datasets to Lidar Digimap over the next 12 months, these include:

  • Additional Point Cloud datasets ideal for use in CAD software for creating 3D models like this one of the Forth Rail Bridge
  • Photography; aerial images captured at the same time as the Lidar data

We’d also like to thank the hundreds of people who took the time to fill in our user feedback survey on Lidar Digimap, we have seen a huge range of uses for the data across a very broad range of disciplines. This feedback exercise has been very successful and we will be making the draw to see who has won the Amazon vouchers very soon. Keep watching the blog for the announcement in the coming weeks.

If you would like any more information about the Lidar or Aerial Digimap collections or details on how to subscribe then please do not hesitate to contact us:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk

 

 August 1, 2017  Posted by at 10:58 am Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features, Service Availability Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Lidar Digimap now included with Aerial Digimap
Jun 062017
 

LidarToday we have launched our new Lidar Digimap Collection. The new Collection is available to preview for all Digmap users until the 31st of July 2017. Lidar data can be downloaded through the Lidar Download for use in GIS and CAD applications; there is no Lidar Roam application for viewing the data.

Lidar Point Cloud Forth Rail Bridge

Lidar Point Cloud Forth Rail Bridge. Crown copyright Scottish Government, SEPA and Scottish Water (2014).

The service allows you to download current and past Lidar data from the Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

There is already a large amount of data available in the service but we are still processing some of the datasets. Once it has all been processed the service aims to have complete coverage of all the data available from these agencies, including the raw LAS point cloud data and Orthophotography captured during the flights (where available).

Lidar data is very useful when creating 3D terrains and models as can be seen from the images to the left and below. For creating 3D scenes such as the one below, it is very useful to use a Digital Surface Model (DSM) to create a surface and hillshading from which you can drape other data over, such as the imagery from Aerial Digimap in this example:

3D scene with Aerial imagery and Lidar

3D scene showing imagery with hillshading derived from the 50cm Lidar DSM. © Getmapping Plc, © Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2015. All rights reserved.

The following datasets are available through Lidar Digimap at present:

Dataset Availability and publication date
Digital Terrain Model and Digital Surface Model (DTM and DSM) England

  • 25cm: 2009-2015
  • 50cm: 2009-2015
  • 1m: 2010-2016
  • 2m: 2010-2015

Scotland

  • Phase 1 (1m): 2011-2012
  • Phase 2 (1m): 2013-2014

Wales

  • 25cm: 2015
  • 50cm: 2009-2016
  • 1m: 2010-2016
  • 2m: 2010-2016
Point Cloud Scotland

  • Phase 1: 2011-2012
  • Phase 2: 2013-2014

 

We are currently processing the following datasets and hope to have them available in the service shortly:

Dataset Availability and publication date
Digital Terrain Model and Digital Surface Model (DTM and DSM) England

  • Historical data: 1998-2015

Scotland

  • 50cm
  • 2m
Point Cloud England

  • 2005-2016
Orthophotographs England

  • 2006-2015

 

The data was collected for flood risk analysis and modelling and primarily follows water courses and coastal habitats. The data covers approximately 72% of England, 20% of Scotland and 70% of Wales. The image below shows the 1m resolution DTM coverage in England:

1m DTM Lidar coverage in England

1m DTM Lidar coverage in England [click to expand]

We are also very keen to know what you have been doing with Lidar data in the past or what you plan to do with the Lidar data you are going to get from the new service. To find out this information from you we have put a survey in the interface and you have the chance to win a £20 Amazon just for filling it in!

Digimap Lidar Survey

Lidar Options

We hope you like using the new Collection, if you have any questions about the data please contact us:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
 June 6, 2017  Posted by at 3:44 pm Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on Lidar Digimap: new collection of data available now!
Sep 282016
 

kim traynor [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh by kim traynor [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

EDINA’s annual Geoforum conference for all its geospatial services and projects was held at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Geography this year. It was attended by nearly 50 delegates who came to find out what we have been up to over the past year and to see what we new things they can expect in the coming months.

The morning session started with talks from Tim Urwin, EDINA’s geo-data manager, and Guy McGarva, from the Geosupport team. Tim’s talk informed us all about the design decisions made when updating the OS MasterMap cartographic style. The new styling, originally developed for the Digimap for Schools service, has some great advantages over the old cartography and was put into service just after the conference:

More Details about the new Cartography

Guy’s talk highlighted the main changes to EDINA’s geospatial offering in the last 12 months. We have mainly been working on things that you can’t “see” in Digimap with huge improvements to the way the service is delivered. We now can make sure that interruptions to the service are rare as it can be delivered from one of two physical locations at the University of Edinburgh.

One obvious change we delivered was the improved Digimap home page. This came about through work to make the service usable on a touch screen or tablet device. To ensure that the service could work on these devices we needed to use new web technologies meaning a redesign had to be carried out. We like the cleaner design but best of all you can now just click on the application you want to use, log in when prompted, and be taken straight to the thing you want to do. No more remembering to log in to the service before clicking the link in your Data Download email!

The next two talks were all about Aerial Imagery as EDINA will soon be launching the Aerial Digimap service. The new service will contain 25cm resolution aerial photographs for the whole of Great Britain from Getmapping.

Firstly we head from Richard Evans from Getmapping who spoke about the history of aerial imagery and also the modern technology and techniques that go in to it’s creation.

Then we heard from Ian Holmes from EDINA, who showed us what the new Digimap Aerial collection would look like. As with the other Digimap collections there will be Roam and Download interfaces to either view the data or to take it away to analyse in the user’s own software.

Ian also highlighted some of the interesting and quirky things captured in the images, such as the shadows of giraffes at Chester Zoo.

Please keep watching the blog and other Digimap information channels for an announcement on when the service will be launching.

After a good lunch spent networking we started on the afternoon session where we heard from two students and two members of teaching staff about their uses of Digimap and data from the services.

Firstly we heard from Trevor Draeseke who told us about his Masters Thesis, Visualising Geographical Information in Augmented Reality.

Trevor’s proof of concept mobile app the “Arthur’s Seat Augment Reality Visualiser” allowed the user to view geological data and other layered geographic information on the live video feed coming from the phones camera. He said his work was made possible by the “easy and flexible access to the underlying geographical information layers through EDINA’s Digimap Service.”

Next we heard from Kathy O’Donnell who is now in the first year of a PhD that is building on her MSc thesis on the Quarries of Hadrian’s Wall.

Kathy has been mixing layers from the various data collections in Digimap: Ordnance Survey, Historic and Geology, to identify where the Romans were quarrying the stone to build Hadrian’s Wall. Kathy’s work is one of the best examples of making use of the various collections we have seen and she is looking forward to hopefully being able to use Aerial Digimap as another important source of data.

After a short break we heard the perspective of teaching staff from the University of Stirling and Lancaster University. Firstly Phil Bartie, University of Stirling, talked about how Digimap Roam was useful for introducing students to digital mapping and and also that it was “very important that students and academics have access to high quality spatial data for teaching and research.”

The final talk of the day came from Duncan Whyatt and Gemma Davies from Lancaster University. Duncan first reminisced on life before Digimap, and how difficult it was to get hold of maps and spatial data. After subscribing they have concentrated more heavily on the data downloaded from Digimap in the Geography Department. Duncan and Gemma took us through the various exercises the students were given using data downloaded from Digimap at each stage of their degree. Duncan stated that “Digimap has underpinned Undergraduate teaching in GIS at Lancaster for 15 years…”

Despite showing how important Digimap is and has been in studying and teaching all four of the presentations contained mentions of what they’d like to see in the future and a final challenge from Duncan to stay relevant in a world with an increasing amount of alternatives. We have heard this challenge and are working with those who fund the service to make sure our offering stays up-to-date and continues to deliver what academia wants. However we would like to remind all users of Digimap to keep letting us know what you want from the service so we have enough evidence to shape future developments in the right way.

A final thank you to all those who gave a presentation, the Institute of Geography for providing a venue, and to all the attendees; we felt it was a very successful event and look forward to the next one in 2017.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback on this post then let us know:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk