Tom Armitage

May 132015
OS MasterMap Sites Layer

© Crown Copyright and Database Right 2015. Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)

A new MasterMap data layer is available to download that allows you to add an extra level of information to your maps. The Sites Layer shows boundaries for features such as schools, hospitals and other government property. The dataset currently contains the extents of over 40,000 important locations in Great Britain broken down in to seven themes, with more to be added in the future:

  • Air transport
  • Education
  • Medical care
  • Rail transport
  • Road transport
  • Water transport
  • Utility or industrial
OS MasterMap Sites Layer

© Crown Copyright and Database Right 2015. Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)

MasterMap Sites Layer includes access points, such as pedestrian gates and driveways, and routing points allowing the data to be fully integrated with other OS products including MasterMap Topography Layer and MasterMap Integrated Transport Network (ITN) layer. Sites Layer can be used for informed decision-making and spatial analysis, enabling users to answer questions such as: ‘how much of this health centre is at risk of flooding?’.

Ordnance Survey have published clear instructions on how to import the data, which is supplied in GML3 format, into common GIS packages in their Sites Layer Getting Started Guide.

If you have any questions about Sites Layer or Digimap please contact us:

  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
  • Email:
 13 May, 2015  Posted by at 10:49 am Data Changes & Additions, New Features Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on OS MasterMap Sites Layer now available in Digimap
May 122015
3D Building Heights in ArcGIS

© Crown Copyright and Database Right 2015. Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)

We are pleased to announce that users can now download OS MasterMap Building Height Attribute data in file geodatabase format. The data consists of building polygons together with the building height attributes supplied by OS in the latest alpha release of their Building Height Attribute dataset (December 2014 at the time of writing).

This makes the process of visualising the data in 3D much simpler for the majority of GIS users. The file geodatabase format can be read by both QGIS and ArcGIS, including the new ArcGIS Pro, without the need for any complex data processing. Making the data available in file geodatabase format removes the need for users to download building features from OS MasterMap Topography Layer and then use the JOIN function in GIS to connect the Building Height Attribute data to the buildings.

3D Buildings in ArcGIS

© Crown Copyright and Database Right 2015. Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)

The data is supplied on a 5x5km grid, so you may receive multiple separate geodatabases if your area covers multiple 5km grid cells, however it is easy to merge the datasets together using common GIS functions.

We hope this makes it much easier to use the data but we welcome any feedback you may have.

  • Email:
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
 12 May, 2015  Posted by at 10:00 am Data Changes & Additions, New Features Tagged with: , , ,  Comments Off on OS Building Height Attribute now available in file geodatabase format
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:
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
 11 May, 2015  Posted by at 10:00 am Digimap News, Of Interest, Training & Events Tagged with:  Comments Off on GeoForum 2015: Programme announced
Apr 282015

We have added the Feature Information tool to Environment Roam.  This allows you to select points on the map to identify what the land use is at that location. Some of the colours used on the maps are very similar, which, while necessary with so many different categories, makes the maps more difficult to interpret.  When the opacity slider is used to see the base map through the colours there can be even less distinction. The feature information tool helps to overcome this difficulty.  The tool is also vital for those with a colour vision deficiency,

To identify the land use category for a particular point, click on the i button in the bar above the map:

09-04-2015 featureinfoENVYou will notice there is now a little question mark next to your mouse pointer, now click on a location to identify the land use at that point.  A small red pin will appear on the map along with a box containing the information about the location clicked on:

This feature has been a part of the Historic, Geology and Marine Roam interfaces for some time.  However, it took much longer to develop this tool for Environment Roam because the data is very different. Rather than querying a database about the location we use colour matching technology to find the corresponding legend entry for the location clicked on.  For this reason, we can’t operate the Feature Information tool on the 1930s Dudley Stamp maps.  These maps were hand coloured, often by different people using different equipment, therefore the digital versions of  the colours are inconsistent. Since the Dudley Stamp maps have fewer land use categories there is less confusion in identifying the appropriate colours in the legend, but we recognise that there may still be difficulties for those with colour vision deficiency.

Feature information results window

Feature Information Tool – results window



 28 April, 2015  Posted by at 4:06 pm Digimap News, New Features Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Feature Information tool added to Environment Roam
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:
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302

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

 21 April, 2015  Posted by at 11:38 am Digimap News, Of Interest, Training & Events Tagged with:  Comments Off on GeoForum 2015: Booking Now Open
Apr 172015

We have moved the Dudley Stamp Land Use Survey maps from the Historic Digimap Collection to their more natural home in Environment Roam. In doing so we have increased their usability. You can now pan and zoom much more easily and can print and annotate the maps, something that was not available in the previous Land Use Map Viewer.

Environment Roam Basemaps TabTwo scales of map are available for all of England, Scotland and Wales: 1:625,000 and 1:63,360.

Environment Roam automatically switches between these at the appropriate point when zooming in or out of the map.

To view the 1930s maps go to the Basemaps selector on the right hand side of Environment Roam and choose Dudley Stamp 1930s from the drop down window.

1:63,360 Scale Map of Cowes, Isle of Wight

Dudley Stamp Land Use Map: 1:63,360 Scale

© L. Dudley Stamp/Geographical Publications Ltd, Audrey N. Clark, Environment Agency/DEFRA and Great Britain Historical GIS

1:625,000 Scale Map of the Isle of Wight

Dudley Stamp 625k

© L. Dudley Stamp/Geographical Publications Ltd, Audrey N. Clark, Environment Agency/DEFRA and Great Britain Historical GIS

If you have any questions about the Dudley Stamp maps or Environment Digimap please contact us:

  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
  • Email:
 17 April, 2015  Posted by at 10:49 am Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features, Of Interest Comments Off on 1930s Land Use Maps now in Environment Digimap
Apr 082015

Ordnance Survey’s most detailed open data product, Open Map – Local,  is now available to download from the Digimap service along with the OS Open Names gazetteer, OS Open Rivers water network and OS Open Roads road network. There are no restrictions on what the data can be used for,  it just needs to carry a simple copyright acknowledgement:

Contains OS data © Crown copyright [and database right] (year)

Sample Image of OS Open Map - LocalOpen Map – Local

This is a vector dataset best viewed at a scale of 1:10,000, with layers including buildings, roads, sites, railways, hydrology, coastline, woodland and cartographic text. The data comes in Shapefile format for easy access in the most commonly used GIS software.

The data isn’t quite as feature rich as the licensed VectorMap Local data, though it does contain some nice additions such as the ability to highlight public buildings and their grounds.

Sample Image of OS Open NamesOS Open Names

This is a gazetteer with 2.5 million entries, made up of over 870,000 named and numbered roads, nearly 44,000 settlements and over 1.6 million postcodes. This dataset is billed as the comprehensive list of Great Britain’s place names, road names and numbers and postcodes, and is certainly the most detailed gazetteer in Digimap. The data is available in CSV or GML formats.

Sample Image of OS Open RiversOS Open Rivers

This is a generalised network view of the rivers of Great Britain. The data is designed to give its users a high-level view of where the water flows across the land surface.  Though it doesn’t show the detail of the actual width or shape of the river as the topographic data it is a proper network. This means it doesn’t get interrupted by bridges or other features that prevent the topographic data from being used to “route” water through the river network. The data is available in Shapefile and GML formats.

Sample Image of OS Open RoadsOS Open Roads

Like OS Open Rivers this is a generalised network of roads. Topographic data will provide more detail about the road dimensions and real world position, however this data provides an uninterrupted network for road routing analysis. The data is available in Shapefile and GML formats.


 8 April, 2015  Posted by at 12:26 pm Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features, Of Interest Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on New OS OpenData added to Digimap Data Download
Apr 072015

Data Download Withdrawn CategoryOrdnance Survey will withdraw two products in 2016, the 1:10 000 Raster data and the Land-Form PROFILE data.  To remind you that these products will no longer be available from the Digimap service we are putting them in a new category in Data Download.  The Withdrawn category will contain these datasets until we have to remove them from the site, March 2016 for  the 1:10 000 Scale Raster and September 2016 for the Land-Form PROFILE contours and DTM.

10k Raster data supersededRemember that the VectorMap Local Raster data is a more detailed generally better product to use than the 1:10 000 scale raster.  If you really need the cartography of the old version, you can create a print map from Digimap Roam which styles the VectorMap Local data to look like the 1:10 000 Scale Raster. Just zoom in to the Street or Neighbourhood view levels and then use the Basemaps button at the top left of the map to change to the VML Raster 10k styling. An added advantage to doing this is that you can add in contour lines which were never available with the old data.

Land-Form PROFILE SupersededThe Land-Form Profile data has also been superseded, you should now use the OS Terrain 5 data instead. Although it is not available in DXF format, Terrain 5 is a much improved dataset compared to the older data and it is still available in the following formats: GML, Shapefile (for the contours) and ASCII (for the DTM).

If you have any questions about the withdrawal of these datasets then please let us know:

  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
  • Email:
 7 April, 2015  Posted by at 12:16 pm Data Changes & Additions, Digimap News, New Features Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Digimap Data Download: Products Withdrawn
Apr 022015
Money and Calculator

Image Courtesy of Images_Of_Money

As part of our work to demonstrate the value for money of the Digimap Collections, EDINA has calculated the commercial cost of all the data downloaded and maps created for printing. We calculated the values per institution for the period August 2013 to July 2014 then totalled them; this came to approximately £65.4 million.  This estimate is a conservative one because we reduce the quantity of data downloaded by 60% to account for duplication. 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 over £107 million.

Digimap Data and Print map values from 2010 to 2014

Click to enlarge image

We know that some data is downloaded multiple times within an institution, for example by students for a class exercise or by researchers for specific study sites. 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, so we calculated the 100% figure as a ceiling value.

In total, over the past four academic years over £306 million (£170 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.

How the Costs are Calculated

Porportions of Digimap Collections Values 2010-2014

Click to enlarge image

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

The data costs we calculated are done 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 2014

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.

No OpenData downloads or maps created from OpenData are included in the calculation, despite the advantages of producing them from Digimap rather than 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 which the data suppliers will charge for or that institutional staff would have to take to submit requests for data and time for staff to create and manage a repository for spatial data.

With 24 hour access to high quality data and maps through a purpose built mapping and data download interface, Digimap does all this work for its subscribers.

Over the coming weeks 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 represenative.  If you are unsure who your site representative is, please contact us:

  • email:
  • phone: 0131 650 3302
 2 April, 2015  Posted by at 10:55 am Digimap News, Of Interest Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Digimap 2013-14 Print Maps & Data worth £65.4 Million
Jan 152015

Today, on the 15th day of 2015, we mark 15 years of running Digimap!


This week in 2000 the Digimap national service was launched following a four year project phase.

We marked the first 10 years with an event in January 2010 a great day which summarised the first decade in some detail: Read about it here

A recent presentation given at the Royal Geographical Society Annual conference highlighted the growth of the service and more recent developments: View it on SlideShare

The service is more embedded in UK academia than ever before, in use at 160 universities and colleges with over 58,000 registered users at those institutions. As well as this we now have bespoke versions for Colleges and Schools. Over the 15 years we have registered almost 500,000 users to access the collections and they in turn have generated nearly 100 million screen maps and 3 million print maps. In terms of the value for money, during academic year 2012/13 alone, the conservative total for products downloaded or printed from all Digimap collections was nearly £44 million a figure that grows year on year.

Improvements to Digimap continue with several exciting developments already lined up in early 2015.

We continue to work closely with colleagues at Jisc in providing the Maps and geospatial data offering as well as with the Ordnance Survey directly for the data underpinning the service.

To stay informed of all related news, as well as the blog, we use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to supplement information available on the main service page:

 15 January, 2015  Posted by at 3:36 pm Digimap News, Of Interest Comments Off on Digimap is 15 Years Old