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Thread: How often are OS maps updated?

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    I picked up a fence on Swarth Fell in the Dales at the weekend that wasn't on my OS 1:25k map. I thought nothing of it since fences are always changing but then saw the fence was featured on the digital OS map at Walk Highlands website.

    The paper map I was using is a post access land one and dated 2006. Does this mean there is a newer paper edition of this map that is out or is it that the digital maps are updated more frequently?

    Just curious really...


  2. #2
    Ultra King Matt C's Avatar
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    I think (going by the OS digital mapping files that we get at work) that OS release updates to digital data twice a year - a major release in April and an update of changed files only in October. I couldn't absolutely swear to that though (Captain Paranoia probably knows the definitive answer ).

    Printed mapping will almost certainly be less frequently updated - it's probably driven more by the economies of print runs, so it may even vary for 'best-selling' areas vs. less popular bits of the country.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > Captain Paranoia probably knows the definitive answer

    Nope; 'fraid not... I might know someone who does.

    The old paper maps used to be updated on a 'round robin' basis, with exceptions depending on the degree of change (i.e. urban maps generally need refreshing more often than rural maps).

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch
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    The Ordnance Survey aims to revise its paper maps as follows:

    Landrangers every three years, and never longer than every six years.
    Explorers every 3.5 years, and never longer than every 6.5 years.

    Minor revisions to take into account significant changes, such as new roads, are incorporated every time a sheet is reprinted.

    I do not know what the policy is for revising digital maps.

    Some cartographic companies incorporate deliberate errors into their maps to protect copyright. The OS vehemently deny that they ever do and get very cross whenever this suggestion is made!.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > I do not know what the policy is for revising digital maps.

    I would suggest that digital maps are updated as part of the process of revising paper maps. If they have any sense at all, they will work entirely digitally, and derive the paper maps form the digital source; i.e. the digital maps are the masters.

    I would imagine that the digital maps published online, and made available to mapping software companies is a re-sampling (i.e. reduced resolution) from the master digital maps.

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch
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    My information came, in writing, from a senior officer at the OS.



    I hesitate to have the temerity to confirm anything written about computers by someone as learned as the good Captain, but I have been on a course organized by the OS and have seen the digital masters being updated with the latest information from data captured on the laptops of the field surveyors.

  7. #7
    ‹bermensch Lindsay Boyd's Avatar
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    Through an agency I did some work for OS throughout the north of Scotlandin relation to digital mapping. I was using their paper maps which OS staff transfered onto digital mapping as I wasn't qualified for that task. There was always a backlog from my visits as staff had their own work to do and they were always short of staff, hence my hiring.I always hadloadsto doas I worked for three diffrent offices.

    I was of the opinion that qualified OS staff on returning from the field just plugged in their computers and digital mapping was immediately updated.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > I have been on a course organized by the OS and have seen the digital masters being updated with the latest information from data captured on the laptops of the field surveyors.

    Happy to have my conjecture on their modus operandi confirmed by someone who has actually seen it done, Hugh.

    It's clear that the transformation from their internal data format (with a Geographical Information System of some flavour) to maps of various scales isn't an automatic process, as the images on each of the scales is considerably different. Thus, some process of interpreting the data is performed, and this may still be manual, even if it's done with a drawing tool of some kind. Maps are a 'work of art' in more than one sense of the phrase...

    In fact, this latter point was one way I could see that the OS might get around the recent OpenGov edict that all their mapping down to 1:10k be released freely into the public domain (this April); what they might do is release the underlying data, but say that the pretty maps generated from this are not going to be released. This would, I understand, be along the USGS operating model, which encourages enterprise, allowing 3rd parties to take the USGS-collected data, and create maps from it. This has the potential to allow much more specialised mapping, to suit specific purposes, rather than the compromise that is the OS mapping (for instance, how useful are the various constituency boundaries to the average walker?)

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