Ordnance Survey (abbreviated as OS) is the iconic British institution and if you ever explored any part of the UK, you would recognise their maps as well as their logotype from a distance. They have been successfully mapping Great Britain and beyond since the 1790’s. What they wanted to do now is staying relevant in the digital era, all while achieving their ambitious growth milestones.
They also had a broader goal in mind. 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 next 5 years. One of the assets supporting this new direction were 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 a set of digital tools that would simply allow more people to get outside. Here is where the Spyrosoft’s team comes into play as the OS technical support and partner.
The Solution & The Process
Our long-time collaboration includes i.a. designing and developing several applications:
- Custom Made where the Ordnance Survey customers can order personalised maps
- Applications from the OS Disruption group (GetOutside, Layers, Beyonder)
- OS Maps available for all mobile devices s well as desktop
For OS we worked in creating a system for managing the orders for Custom Made map printouts.
As a result, the users can go to the Ordnance Survey website and order a map with their favourite hiking track or pubs that they always visit with their loved ones located in the centre of it. The document is then printed and can be sent as a personalised gift. Thousands of people in the UK have already used this opportunity with the favourite places’ list topped by Lake District, Peak District and Snowdonia. The ability to purchase personalised Ordnance Survey maps can be also embedded on any website using the API prepared by our developers.
We are also currently working on three applications from the OS Disruption range.
GetOutside is a social app that allows users to create events and invite others (i.e., their local running group members) to join it using ‘Events’ mode. In ‘Journeys’ mode users can plan and save their hiking routes and track their progress over time. The application is aimed at anyone who would like to meet other people interested in hiking and share their trails with others.
Layers app – on the other hand – is aimed at tourists. The application allows for exploring unusual and compelling places and the stories that are attached to them. Working with their partners, the Ordnance Survey has already added lists of places for almost every location, but users can add their own places and stories, including audio recordings. This allows them to reveal additional layers in locations that are familiar to them.
The last application within the OS Disruption range is Beyonder. This time, its social and localisation aspects are paired with story-based RPGs (role-playing games). Users can collect points and trophies by visiting various places and gradually uncovering parts of the story. The application has a Wise Elder mode which makes it suitable for children. It also helps younger and older players explore their immediate surroundings outside in an interactive and engaging way.
The Ordnance Survey team has been also collaborating with Spyrosoft in developing OS Maps applications with users being able to access detailed maps of Great Britain on any device. The OS Maps is currently available for iOS, Android and desktop. Once users download maps, they can also use them offline and in Aerial 3D and Augmented Reality modes with the ability to examine the landform of certain locations and spot landmarks using mobile devices.