Tom Armitage

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 No Responses »
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

 

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
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
Aug 032016
 

We are now taking bookings for EDINA’s GeoForum 2016 with this year’s event being held a the University of Edinburgh on the 7th of September.

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

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

Reserve your place now:

GeoForum 2016 Booking

GeoForum is a free all day event aimed at lecturers, researchers and support staff who promote and support the use of geospatial data and services at their institution. Throughout the day we there will be talks and demonstrations to inform you of current geospatial developments at EDINA and the wider community. It is also an opportunity to give EDINA feedback on the services we provide and discuss geospatial issues with the team.

Full details of this years event will and the programme will appear on the website when available:

GeoForum 2016

This year we will be introducing some changes to the geospatial data services offered by EDINA to the academic community. These include new Ordnance Survey data products and updated licence agreements for most of the Digimap Collections.  We also hope to present some case studies from staff and students who have been using data from Digimap and the other geospatial services from EDINA.

The conference will be located in the University of Edinburgh’s geography department on Drummond Street.  We will also be highlighting what we have done over the summer to improve Digimap.

The conference is free to attend and runs from 10:00 till 16:15, for all the details and to book your place please visit the conference website: GeoForum 2016

Please contact us if you have any questions:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk

Find out what happened at last year’s event: GeoForum 2015

 August 3, 2016  Posted by at 1:49 pm Training & Events Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Aug 022016
 

We are now at the start of a new academic year and Digimap has new licence agreements in place for the Ordnance Survey, Geology and Historic Map and Data Collections. You may have noticed already that you have been asked to agree to the licence again when you logged in.  This is because some of the terms are different and you are required to agree to these new terms prior to accessing the data within the service.

When you login you will notice the Licence Agreements button at the top right of the home page.

Licence Agreement Button

Clicking on this will allow to you to view the licences you have agreed to and to agree to those you have not yet agreed to.

New Licence Agreements 2016

If a Collection has a new licence, the applications (e.g. Roam and Data Download) in that Collection will also appear grey. By trying to access an application which has a new licence, you will automatically be taken through the process of agreeing to it if you have not yet done so.

All you need to do is accept the licence and restate your purpose for using the service (which may or may not have changed since you agreed to the previous licence) and you will have access to the service once more.

If you have any questions or need any help or guidance have a look at the Agreeing to Licences for Digimap Collections section half way down the following help page:

Or send us an email:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk

 

Aug 022016
 

The new look home page we told you about in the last blog post, has now been launched.

Home Page August 2016

Along with the fresh new look for the start of the new academic year we have also updated the registration and licence agreement pages. The structure of the pages and access to the applications has not been changed, so you should have no problem navigating around the page.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need any more information:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
 August 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:43 pm Digimap News, New Features, Of Interest Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 212016
 

We have been hard at work developing a fresh new look for Digimap which we will be launching for the new academic year. Here is a sneak preview, though please note that nothing has been finalised just yet:

Digimap Home Page July 2016

The operation of the page remains the same and the layout is almost identical, we have just given it a modern fresh look. We hope you like it!

If you have any questions or require any more information then please feel free to contact us:

  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
 July 21, 2016  Posted by at 4:40 pm Digimap News, New Features, Of Interest Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jan 122016
 
Money and Calculator

Image Courtesy of Images_Of_Money

EDINA has again calculated the commercial cost of all the data downloaded and maps created for printing in all Digimap Collections for the period August 2014 to July 2015.  This was done per subscribing institution  and then totalled; the grand total is approximately £77.25 million.  This estimate is a conservative one because we reduce the quantity of data downloaded by 60% to account for duplication of usage. When all the maps printed and data downloaded were included in the calculation (i.e assuming users would continue to take their own data and maps, and not share them) this total rises to almost £128.5 million.

Click to enlarge image

We know that some data is downloaded multiple times within an institution, for example by students during a class exercise or by individual researchers working on the same study site. We found that on average only 40% of the data taken from Digimap over a period of time was unique within an institution. We believe that if institutions were paying commercial rates for their data they would be more likely to download it once and circulate it to those who need it; this is why we reduce the amount of data included in our calculation. However, there is considerable variation between institutions as to how much is unique; those that do more research or are smaller in size tend to have a greater proportion of unique downloads (i.e. fewer people downloading the same areas, for example, for the same study site), so we have included the 100% figure as a ceiling value.

Click to enlarge image

Click to enlarge image

In total, over the past five academic years over £435 million (£248 million at 40%) worth of print maps and data has been served up from Digimap to subscribing institutions. The steep increase in 2013-14 was caused by more Ordnance Survey products being downloaded and printed than ever before and also by the high commercial costs of several products added to the Geology Digimap service. The upward trend in the total commercial costs has continued in 2014-15, though at a steadier rate, however we are seeing the same year on year growth in the number of logins to the service.

How the Costs are Calculated

Click to enlarge image

The costs used in our calculations for the data are sampled from the list prices published by a range of data suppliers, and include any relevant multipliers or discounts declared publicly on their websites.

Each data product is assessed individually because many are priced differently.  The obvious example is OS MasterMap, which is charged on the basis of the TOID density per square kilometre.  TOID density changes according to the area mapped. Each product is price-checked annually against a range of suppliers.

We calculate the values on a per product / per institution basis, with the data preparation and licensing charges assigned only once per product, per institution (rather than per data request). Many of the data collections are commercially licensed based on the number of users who have access to the data; with increasing numbers of users a multiplier is applied to a base cost.  We applied the relevant multipliers according to the number of active registered users for each Collection at an institution.

We capped data costs at the price of national coverage for each product, making it impossible to assign greater cost for any one product than it would be to supply the entire dataset for use by a whole institution.

The values for the print maps (including saved maps in all Roam applications) are calculated by finding the cheapest commercially available map prints from websites such as eMapsite, NLS and FiND.

What We Didn’t Include

Digimap Screen Maps Made 2010 to 2015

Click to enlarge image

No monetary values were assigned to the millions of screen maps that are produced from Digimap.   The value calculated also doesn’t take into account any of the help materials, training courses and support facilities that are all part of the Digimap service.  Many commercial service providers may charge an additional fee for this part of the service.

All OpenData products (both prints and data downloads) are excluded from the calculation, despite the advantages of producing them from Digimap over other websites.

However, the biggest saving that isn’t included in these value calculations is your time. We only charged the data supplier’s preparation and licensing costs once per product or order, in line with each company’s policy where it applied. In reality there would be many orders occurring throughout an academic year as new research questions are raised. This all costs time, time spent submitting data requests and waiting for them to return; time to create and manage a repository for spatial data; time to acquire the knowledge on how to use the data you receive. Commercial providers mitigate these delays but may charge fees for the convenience.  By providing 24 hour access to high quality data, customisable maps and detailed support materials through purpose built interfaces, Digimap saves this time and expense for its users.

Digimap avoids students, academics and support staff having to wait longer than necessary for the information they need and the instruction on how to use it.

We will be sending out each institution’s data cost calculations to Digimap site representatives. If you are interested in the commercial costs of the maps and data your institution has been using please contact your site representative.  If you are unsure who your site representative is, please contact us:

  • email: edina@ed.ac.uk
  • phone: 0131 650 3302
 January 12, 2016  Posted by at 4:01 pm Digimap News, Of Interest Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »