Ordnance Survey: the new era of mapping


About the client

Company name

Ordnance Survey




United Kingdom



Ordnance Survey (abbreviated as OS) is an iconic British institution, and if you have ever explored any part of the UK, you would recognise their maps and logotype from a distance. They have been successfully mapping Great Britain and beyond since the 1790s.  Over the years, the organisation has evolved into a leading force in geospatial technology. Ordnance Survey is widely acknowledged for its advanced technological expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), cartography, and data visualisation.  Spyrosoft’s team has supported OS since 2018 as the OS Consumer external technology expert and partner. Our long-term collaboration focuses on designing and delivering systems and applications for OS B2C users and maintaining and supporting those solutions. 


  • iOS
  • Android
  • Azure
  • React
  • Docker
  • Java
  • Angular
  • PostgreSQL
  • Mapbox
  • FME
  • ArcGIS
  • Spring Boot

 Cooperation background 

According to the research conducted by Sport England, 20 million people in the UK want to engage in more outside activities – all they need is encouragement to do so. Ordnance Survey wanted to turn this encouragement into their core mission for the years. One of the assets supporting this new direction was also obesity trends for the UK, with staggeringly decreasing activity rates for children between 7-15 followed by almost all adult groups.  

That is why OS wanted to address these issues by developing digital tools that would allow more people to get outside.

Solutions portfolio   

OS Maps offers a comprehensive mapping experience through its core products: OS Maps mobile, available on iOS and Android and OS Maps Explore, the web/desktop version, powered by React, where users can access detailed maps of Great Britain and worldwide, download maps for offline use, and utilise features like Aerial 3D, online map access, comfortable route planning and print maps with designated routes are examples of OS Maps functionalities. Additionally, we created a dedicated landing page, osmaps.com, a React.js CMS where users can explore subscription options, manage accounts, and find support for OS Maps apps. OS Maps has over 3,5+ million users and 13 million routes.

The Custom Made System is seamlessly integrated into the OS Shop, allowing customers to create personalised maps in various scales and styles. The map’s extent can be chosen manually or based on the specified location, and it can be printed as either folded maps or framed maps, with additional content customisation done by the user. The frontend is built in React, and the backend is in Java, which supports printing capabilities, content moderation, and regularly updated maps. Thanks to the backend solution, the ability to purchase personalised Ordnance Survey maps can also be embedded on any website using the API prepared by our developers. 

Customer Platform is a cloud-native backend platform that provides a set of services that OS frontend applications require. It is set up as a microservice architecture for its flexibility, scalability, and ease of deployment so that we can deliver new features in a quick and efficient manner. Deployment of all backend services is done with one of two strategies: Canary Deployment or Blue-Green Deployments so that we can introduce changes with zero downtime. Detailed monitoring and alerts are implemented with the use of Datadog SaaS to streamline incident resolution. Our backend API’s are available worldwide thanks to multi-cluster Kubernetes setup in multiple Azure Data Centres around the world.

Admin Panel allows the internal OS team to access user data, manage and moderate the content as well as user queries. It helps OS partners load and edit content. It offers many self-serving capabilities to ensure smooth onboarding for inexperienced users.

Get Outside is a social app that allows users to create events and invite others. The application was aimed at anyone who would like to meet other people interested in outdoor activities. It was developed on iOS and Android platforms.

Secret Stories is an iOS and Android application that allows exploring unusual and compelling places and the associated stories. 

Geospatial support 

A significant part of our development is a continuously expanding and updating geospatial data infrastructure. Among the current collections, services, and tools for the automatic creation of various types of map products, noteworthy mentions include: 

  • Premium topo leisure maps (in scales of 1:25 and 1:50k) for the whole UK, which are created through the automatic processing of print-ready rasters (CMYK colour scheme) in the OSGB36 layout into Slippy map tiles (Web Mercator layout). 
  • Services responsible for printing custom leisure maps (Custom Made), whose updates have been automated and created using Esri COTS (ArcGIS Enterprise, Esri Mosaic Dataset). 
  • Base vector maps, designed from scratch using Mapbox Studio, are automatically updated every time new data appears in the Vector Map Local, OS Open Zoomstack, or Open Street Map databases. 
  • A constantly updated database of the geometry of paths, sidewalks, or roads, which is used as a source in various services responsible for routing. 
  • A series of processes for data transformation, responsible, among others, for creating metadata, topology control, or cartographic generalization, have been implemented using ETL pipelines executed using FME Flow and FME Form. 
  • Processing large volumes of data (~50TB in our data storage) using Spatial Big Data tools, such as Apache Sedona, GeoSpark, Azure Databricks RasterFrames. 

In our collaboration with the OS, they lead in directing the business strategy, defining goals, and setting priorities. Our role is to understand their needs and provide innovative technological solutions that effectively support and streamline operations. 


Get in touch to talk about your project

Jarosław Marciniak

Jaroslaw Marciniak

Director of Geospatial Services

+48 728 361 355

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