Feb 232017
Infraworks3D model

3D model created AutoDesk Infraworks using OS MasterMap Topography Layer and Building Height Attribute

Digimap are running a free webinar, on Wednesday 15th March between 13:00 – 13:30pm.

The webinar is likely to be of interest to architecture staff and students, who use detailed Ordnance Survey urban map data in AutoCAD. We will:

  • show you how to download Ordnance Survey map data from Digimap
  • demonstrate AutoCAD and:
    • Discuss issues relating to the use of the two most popular detailed topographic data products, OS MasterMap and VectorMap Local
    • Give tips on the use of Building Heights data for OS MasterMap.

Registration is required – please note that spaces are limited, so it’s advisable to register early.

Register now!


 February 23, 2017  Posted by at 3:23 pm Digimap News, Training & Events Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on Digimap Webinar: Urban map data in CAD, 15th March 13:00 – 13:30
Jan 092017
Aerial imagery: giraffes at Chester Zoo

Aerial imagery: Giraffes at Chester Zoo

EDINA will be running a free webinar about Aerial Digimap on Wednesday 25th January at 13:00 – 13:30pm.

Please join us to learn more about Aerial Digimap and the benefits the data can bring to research, teaching and education. The webinar is free, but you will need to register (see link below). Places on the webinar are limited with only 100 available, so book now to secure your place.

Register here:


Land Use

Aerial imagery: A solar farm in Wiltshire

In the webinar you will hear about the new Digimap Aerial Collection launched in October 2016.  We will give you a guided tour of the new Aerial Roam application explaining the data and functionality available.

You can read more about the Aerial Digimap service in this previous blog post:

Aerial Digimap – open for subscriptions

 January 9, 2017  Posted by at 9:55 am Digimap News, Training & Events Tagged with: , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Free Aerial Digimap Webinar: 25th January 2017
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: ,  Comments Off on GeoForum 2016: Booking Now Open
Jun 292015
University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

For this year’s GeoForum we were lucky enough to be in the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, now home to the University of Greenwich. Around 60 delegates enjoyed a programme of talks and presentations aimed at keeping them up-to-date with the maps and mapping technology available to higher education.

The day began with Professor David Maguire, Jisc Chair, Vice principle of the University of Greenwich, former chief scientist at Esri and an acknowledged expert in computer mapping, outlining his vision of the future of  both Jisc and Geographic information science. There was emphasis in his talk about the need to incorporate the Cloud in both Jisc’s services and into the Geographic Data and software services.

Cartographic Design Principles

The first full presentation of the day came from Christopher Wesson, one of the founding members of Ordnance Survey’s digital Cartographic Design team.

Cartographic Design Principles – Christopher Wesson

Christopher gave some background about Ordnance Survey and the data they are now creating.  He then took us through eight key principles that used to create successful cartographic designs: User Requirements, Display Format, Visual Hierarchy, Simplicity, Legibility, Consistency, Accessibility and Good Composition.

Building a 3D Model

The Next presentation came from Jason Taylor, a technical tutor at Ravensbourne responsible for the production of physical models and prototypes. Jason took everyone through the step by step process of taking terrain data along with building foot prints and heights to create scale models of cityscapes.

Creating Physical Models with Digimap Data – Jason Taylor

The result of his work combined milling of MDF particle board and also 3D Printing of a miniature Millennium Dome.  Nearly all of the data used in the production of the model came from Digimap (the details of the Dome’s shape came from a different source), and Jason highlighted the help pages as a great resource for helping him and his students begin to create their models.

The Ordnance Survey Licence

Emma Diffley, EDINA Geoservices Support team leader, then took the audience through the major changes made to the Digimap Licence for Ordnance Survey data.

Digimap Copyright and Terms of use – Emma Difley

This important presentation highlighted the main differences between this agreement and the one it replaced, showing that it is more permissive than before, and that there is now an End User Licence Agreement (EULA) which places emphasis on the individuals to ensure they are abiding by the terms and conditions.


During the Lunch break we had presentations from Esri‘s Addy Pope about the ArcGIS Online service; from the CadCorp team who highlighted their free GIS data viewer, MapExpress, and their discounts for educational use; and finally from the British Geological Survey who highlighted their subsurface data and Groundhog website.

Digimap Update

After lunch the delegates were split into two groups with half doing the excursion while the other half was updated on the latest work going on with Digimap and the other Geoservices run by EDINA.

Guy McGarva, EDINA Geoservices Support, gave the Digimap Update presentation highlighting the past year’s achievements and the plans for the coming year. Much of the coming improvements are to do with improving access to the service for mobile devices and also to the data for CAD users.  There are also a lot of new products and cartographic improvements to old products going into the Roam online mapping interfaces.

Digimap Update – Guy McGarva

Guy also highlighted some future trends including better integration between services and a shift to delivering more training through interactive webinars rather than face-to-face training.

Fieldtrip GB

During the Fieldtrip GB excursion Ian Holmes, EDINA Geoservices Support, took the delegates through the process of designing a data collection form, deploying it to the groups mobile phones, collecting data points from around the Greenwich campus and then uploading the data and viewing it on a map.  The entire process was carried out live for each group with the minimum of fuss, highlighting the mobile app’s usefulness for carrying out citizen science or group fieldwork.

Fieltrip GB – Ian Holmes

We also found out about a few of the enhancements coming to the app, including:

  • more stable data management
  • the ability to longer and more complicated multi-page data entry forms
  • an entirely new version with OpenStreetMap data for use worldwide
  • the ability to upload your own maps or way-points to highlight where to collect data

Final Summary

geoforum15_signWe’d like to thank all the speakers and delegates at this years conference for taking part in a very successful event.

All the presentations throughout the day highlighted the changes in the world of digital mapping occurring right now.  We hope that the changes highlighted in the Digimap Update presentation along with the rest of the planned at EDINA will mean the Digimap will continue to be relevant for it users and help them prepare for future work with maps and digital data.

Finally we’d also like to thank the University of Greenwich for providing a first class venue and event coordination team to ensure it was a memorable day.


 June 29, 2015  Posted by at 5:09 pm Digimap News, Training & Events Comments Off on GeoForum 2015 Summary
May 112015

logoWe have now released the programme for this year’s GeoForum, you can find it on the conference website here:

GeoForum 2015

The highlights of this years conference will be:

  • An introduction to the day from Professor David Maguire, Jisc Chair, Vice principle of the University of Greenwich, former chief scientist at Esri and an acknowledged expert in computer mapping and geographic information systems.
  • A talk given by Ordnance Survey about their cartographic principles and how they apply them when designing the visual representations for features on their maps.
  • A presentation given by architecture and design staff and students from Ravensbourne showcasing the physical models they have been producing using or inspired by Digimap maps and data.
  • A round-up of all the things you need to know about from the recently updated Ordnance Survey licence.
University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

As well as these presentations we will have our data and software suppliers present to tell you about their new and up coming products such as OS Open Map data, BGS Groundhog & ArcGIS Pro. We will also be bringing you up to date with all the new developments at EDINA and taking you outside in the impressive grounds of the old Royal Naval College to have a look at some new developments with EDINA’s Fieldtrip App.

Finally there will be time for you to chat with people from all the other institutions about how they support and promote geospatial data and software, there are already over 50 people registered to attend with over 25 different institutions represented so far.

If you haven’t booked your place yet then please do so soon, places will be limited:

Please let us know if you have any questions about the event:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
 May 11, 2015  Posted by at 10:00 am Digimap News, Of Interest, Training & Events Tagged with:  Comments Off on GeoForum 2015: Programme announced
Apr 212015
University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

We are now taking bookings for EDINA’s GeoForum 2015, with this year’s event being held at the University of Greenwich on the 16th June.

Reserve your place now: GeoForum 2015 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 2015

This year Ordnance Survey’s cartography team will be telling us about how they go about creating cartographic representations of the map data.  We’ll also be showcasing the work of students of architecture and urban design, highlighting how data from Digimap is crucial to their studies.

The conference will be located in the historical Queen Anne Court at the University of Greenwich, part of the Old Royal Naval College. In such surroundings we hope the weather will allow us to go outside for an afternoon excursion where we can show you the enhancements to our Fieldtrip mobile app while exploring the area. We will also be highlighting the many new datasets that have been added to Digimap over the recent months and giving you a sneak preview of what we will be doing over the summer to improve all the geoservices offered by EDINA.

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 2015

Please contact us if you have any questions:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302

Find out what happened at last year’s event: GeoForum 2014

 April 21, 2015  Posted by at 11:38 am Digimap News, Of Interest, Training & Events Tagged with:  Comments Off on GeoForum 2015: Booking Now Open
Dec 092014

Last week EDINA Geodata Services were exhibiting at the GeoDATA Showcase 2014 event in London. This was our second time to exhibit at this event which is aimed primarily at the commercial end of the GI industry covering current data and technology topics. This follows on from other events in the series as described previously on the GoGeo Blog.

EDINA Geo stand at GeoDATA 2015

EDINA Geo stand at GeoDATA 2015

A summary of the talks can be found online.

We had a small stand, but the positive responses we got from visitors was very encouraging: from students who are currently using Digimap in their studies, to the lecturer in a university who said that Digimap was a great resource and essential to his teaching. Even more encouraging was the number of delegates and staff on other stands, with successful careers in the GI industry, who came up and said that they had used Digimap during their studies and it was a vital to their degree. It’s good to know that the future generations in the GI industry have the expectation that they will have easy access to high quality geospatial data, readily available from Digimap (at least while they are in education!).

We talked to delegates from a wide range of industries including environmental consultancies, government, data providers, local councils, defence and education as well as visiting and talking to many of the other exhibitors. We got a lot of useful feedback on what we’re doing and ideas for what we could be doing in the future including potential opportunities for collaboration. Of particular interest to delegates was the Fieldtrip GB app we were demonstrating which is a mobile data collection platform – especially once the magic word ‘free’ was mentioned, and also that there is an Open version available on Github.

Mince pies and mulled wine near the end were a welcome break from a long day, so busy that we didn’t actually get a chance to attend any of the talks, many of which looked very interesting, however it was a very useful event to attend. We look forward to next year’s event on the 3rd December 2015.

 December 9, 2014  Posted by at 1:22 pm Digimap News, Training & Events Tagged with:  Comments Off on EDINA Geo at GeoDATA London Showcase 2014
Jun 262014

Geoforum 2014 RegistrationEDINA’s Geoforum 2014 was a great success with an audience of around 80 delegates and EDINA staff all enjoying an informative and entertaining programme.  The aim of the event was to engage with users and support staff and highlight new features in EDINA’s core Jisc funded services.

Other than this summary there are several other ways to find out what happened at this event:

Keynote Address

Peter GibbsPeter Gibbs is a well known for his BBC and Met Office weather forecasts and in his presentation he showed us the work that was being done by the Met Office and Environment Agency in combining their data and resources to predict not just where there is going to be rain but where the rain is likely to cause flooding.

The slides for Peter’s talk can be viewed here:

Flood Forecasting – Peter Gibbs

Peter has a keen interest in improving public levels of understanding of science through better communication and this was very evident in his presentation.  He managed to explain the complexities of how weather data was collected and used for forecasting in a very accessible way, leaving the audience with a much better understanding of how our weather and in particular flooding is predicted. We also got to see just how much data the met office use, up to 70 recordings at different heights for grid cells up to 1km2.

Peter Gibbs at Geoforum 2014

A key message implied in Peter’s talk was the critical importance of be able to create usable and appropriate information for your audience from the large amounts of complex and varied data available. This is something that as scientists we should all aspire to.

Data Usage

The next presentation came from a recent MSc in GIS Graduate, Darius Bazazi. The presentation followed on from the keynote nicely as it show how various datasets, some from Digimap, some from other sources, were combined to improve the science behind panning natural measures to control flooding. The slides for this presentation are available here:

Using EDINA Datasets in a Hydrology Project – Darius Bazazi

The main issue tackled by Darius was to improve a key variable that decides whether an area is suitable for natural flood management, PROPWET (the proportion of time soils are wet). Darius used datasets such as the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s Landcover data to try and improve this value, bringing in vegetation cover and land use as factors that could influence it.

Darius’ talk showed how important the availability of data from a wide range of sources is key to research such as his. A large amount of researchers time, from graduate level upwards, can be taken up by finding and requesting / ordering data; Digimap and other geoservices from EDINA exist largely to reduce or eliminate the wait for data.


Carol Blackwood finished off the morning’s presentations with a talk about the improvements EDINA are making to the support of their geoservices. The slides for this presentation can be found here:

Geoservices Support – Carol Blackwood

Carol first told us about the work under way to replace the registration system for the Digimap collections. The main piece of good news is that there will no longer be a wait between registering and accessing the service. The new system will use the familiar email confirmation link to allow access once the registration form has been filled in.  This will ensure that users have speedier access and also that their email is correct for collecting their downloaded data.

Carol also highlighted a few other things we are doing to support our users and also to improve the information available for site reps to promote Digimap. Firstly there is the new live chat system that allows people to have a text chat with the user support team.  The chat window can be accessed from any of the help pages or the resource centre where it appears as a pop-up:

Other resources highlighted in the presentation were:

Finally Carol talked about the training offered by the Geosupport team, if you are interested in attending or hosting a training course then please get in touch with us: edina@ed.ac.uk.  We can also arrange to do some bespoke training workshops or webinars for certain subject areas.

Geoforum 2014 LunchLunch

During the lunch break we were treated to some delicious food and got to see some interesting data and software from the following people.

Most importantly we were given plenty of time to speak to others at the event, sharing ideas and thoughts on the presentations and demonstrations we had seen.

Service Updates

Guy McGarva brought us up-to-date with all the latest additions and enhancements made to Digimap over the past year, and then went on to highlight the improvements we will be introducing next. The slides for this presentation can be found here:

Digimap Update – Guy McGarva

Guy showed how we are now using the results from the impact surveys and other contact with users to guide and prioritise the developments to the service. He also highlighted the huge amount of work that has gone on in the past year to the back-end architecture of the service that will make it much more reliable, maintainable and flexible going forward.

In the near future you can expect to see a new Download interface for Marine, after which will follow a similar upgrade to Historic Download including a better basket for all the downloaders, where you will be able to select data formats and dates more easily.

Have a look through the slides to see more of the upcoming improvements to the Digimap Service.


The last part of the day was a welcome trip outside in the sunshine to see how Fieldtrip GB could be used for Citizen Science projects. The slides for this presentation can be found here:

Citizen Science in your Pocket – Addy Pope

Geoforum 2014 FieldtripAddy Pope led the group through an exercise where a form was designed to collect data about graffiti which was then deployed to the groups smart phones and tablets. Everybody then took their devices outside and began collecting data such as photos and the type of graffiti found. The devices take care of logging the location, though the app does allow you to modify this if it isn’t quite right.

Fieldtrip GB had some glowing praise from the delegates, everyone seemed to find the it intuitive and. easy to use. A very good way to crowd source data without an expensive outlay.

Final Summary

A very big thank you to all those who attended Geoforum, we at EDINA feel it was a tremendously successful event.

The days presentations an exhibitions told a story, starting with the importance of geospatial data, especially to bodies of such strategic importance as the Met Office. We heard how research carried out at academic institutions was adding to the accuracy of the data and the models that use the data, and how important access to the data was in order to carry out this research.

The exhibitors showed us the next generation of data along with some of the software to process it. And finally, the presenters from EDINA showed what we are doing to improve the accessibility to the data; not just by making it available but by providing the support and training to realise its full potential.

Jisc cJISContinue to provide funding for services such as Digimap, GoGeo and Unlock which form the backbone of geospatial services available to the academic community in Great Britain.  The Geoforum allows funders and service providers to engage with the user community which in turn helps focus service improvements.

A final thank you to everyone who helped make the event happen, the EDINA staff who helped organise, present and pack away all the equipment; the exhibitors; Bluesky Catering; and the staff at the Informatics Forum.

 June 26, 2014  Posted by at 9:40 am Digimap News, Of Interest, Training & Events Comments Off on EDINA Geoforum 2014 Summary
Feb 282014

Informatics ForumWe are now taking bookings for EDINA’s Geoforum 2014 and with such a fantastic programme this year places could fill up fast. This year’s event will be at the University of Edinburgh in the award winning Informatics Forum, on the 19th June.

Reserve you place now: Geoforum 2014 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.

For all the details and a full programme please visit the website: EDINA Geoforum 2014


Peter GibbsThis year’s theme is the Environment and so we have lined up BBC broadcast meteorologist Peter Gibbs to deliver the keynote. Peter will be talking about the response being taken by the Met Office and Environment Agency to improve flood forecasting.

We also have a recent MSc Graduate talking about his use of LandCover data (available from Environment Digimap) with data from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in assessing natural flood management.

Colleges and Further Education

Along with the environmental talks we will also be introducing the upcoming Digimap for Colleges, a new service that sits between Digimap for Schools and the full Digimap service. There will also be an update on all the latest features and enhancements to EDINA’s geoservices.

More Details…

To find out what else we have planned for you, including this year’s excursion, and to book your place please visit the website: EDINA Geoforum 2014

 February 28, 2014  Posted by at 1:14 pm Digimap News, Of Interest, Training & Events Comments Off on Geoforum 2014: Booking Now Open