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 […]
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.
Reserve your place now:
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:
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.Â 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.Â 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out what happened at last yearâ€™s event: GeoForum 2015
We are now at the start of a new academic year and Digimap has new licence agreements in place for the Ordnance Survey, Geology and Historic Map and Data Collections. You may have noticed already that you have been asked to agree to the licence again when you logged in.Â This is because some of the terms are different and you are required to agree to these new terms prior to accessing the data within the service.
When you login you will notice the Licence Agreements button at the top right of the home page.
Clicking on this will allow to you to view the licences you have agreed to and to agree to those you have not yet agreed to.
If a Collection has a new licence, the applications (e.g. Roam and Data Download) in that Collection will also appear grey. By trying to access an application which has a new licence, you will automatically be taken through the process of agreeing to it if you have not yet done so.
All you need to do is accept the licence and restate your purpose for using the service (which may or may not have changed since you agreed to the previous licence) and you will have access to the service once more.
If you have any questions or need any help or guidance have a look at the Agreeing to Licences for Digimap Collections section half way down the following help page:
Or send us an email:
- Email: email@example.com
The new look home page we told you about in the last blog post, has now been launched.
Along with the fresh new look for the start of the new academic year we have also updated the registration and licence agreement pages. The structure of the pages and access to the applications has not been changed, so you should have no problem navigating around the page.
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any more information:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been hard at work developing a fresh new look for Digimap which we will be launching for the new academic year. Here is a sneak preview, though please note that nothing has been finalised just yet:
The operation of the page remains the same and the layout is almost identical, we have just given it a modern fresh look. We hope you like it!
If you have any questions or require any more information then please feel free to contact us:
- Phone: 0131 650 3302
- Email: email@example.com
EDINA has again calculated the commercial cost of all the data downloaded and maps created for printing in all Digimap Collections for the period August 2014 to July 2015.Â This was done per subscribing institutionÂ and then totalled; the grand total is approximately Â£77.25 million.Â This estimate is a conservative one because we reduce the quantity of data downloaded by 60% to account for duplication of usage. 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 almost Â£128.5 million.
We know that some data is downloaded multiple times within an institution, for example by students during a class exercise or by individual researchers working on the same study site. 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 (i.e. fewer people downloading the same areas, for example, for the same study site), so we have included the 100% figure as a ceiling value.
In total, over the past five academic years over Â£435 million (Â£248 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. The upward trend in the total commercial costs has continued in 2014-15, though at a steadier rate, however we are seeing the same year on year growth in the number of logins to the service.
How the Costs are Calculated
The costs used in our calculations for the data are sampled from the list prices published by a range of data suppliers, and include any relevant multipliers or discounts declared publicly on their websites.
Each data product is assessed individually because many are priced differently.Â The obvious example is OS MasterMap, which is charged on the basis of the TOID density per square kilometre.Â TOID density changes according to the area mapped. Each product is price-checked annually against a range of suppliers.
We calculate the values 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.Â 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
No monetary values were assigned to the millions of screen maps that are produced from Digimap. Â 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.Â Many commercial service providers may charge an additional fee for this part of the service.
All OpenData products (both prints and data downloads) are excluded from the calculation, despite the advantages of producing them from Digimap over 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 spent submitting data requests and waiting for them to return; time to create and manage a repository for spatial data; time to acquire the knowledge on how to use the data you receive. Commercial providersÂ mitigate these delays but may charge fees for the convenience.Â By providing 24 hour access to high quality data, customisable maps and detailed support materials through purpose built interfaces, Digimap saves this time and expense for its users.
Digimap avoids students, academics and support staff having to wait longer than necessary for the information they need and the instruction on how to use it.
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 representative.Â If you are unsure who your site representative is, please contact us:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: 0131 650 3302
EDINA will be withdrawing the old Historic Download on Friday the 11th of December.Â With most people now using the new Historic Download we have taken the decision to switch off the old version to free up resources. The new interface contains all the same data but allows you to take multiple products and revisions in a single order. Existing users’ Download History from the old interface will NOT be available to reorder from the new interface so please make sure you have made all the necessary orders in the old interface before the 11th.
Please note that if you want a definitive list of published dates for the maps you download from the new interface, it is available in the contents.txt file delivered in your zip folder with your data. This text file has the details for every tile / sheet of map data you have taken.
The old Historic Download was the last remaining download interface that was different to the other collections, so now every collection uses the same interface to retrieve data for use in CAD or GIS software.
Historic Download has been updated to use the same interface as all the other collections, making it possible to take maps from different series and scales in a single order.
The new interface is much quicker and easier to use to get all the data you need and will be familiar to users who have taken data from the other Digimap Collections. Unlike the old Historic Downloader you select whether you want the Original Map Sheets or the data cut into squares based on the modern National Grid Tiles at the end of the process once your selections are in the basket.
EDINA has updated Geology Roam with a whole range of new data, allowing users access to nearly all the data available from Geology Download without needing to put it into GIS software. We have also updated the Active legend, so you can now order it by the Age of the Rocks on the map.
As you can see in the image above the most zoomed out levels now have the Offshore Geology data (DigRock250 and DigSBS250) allowing you to see the rocks and sea bed sediments around the coast of the United kingdom. We have also added in the most detailed onshore geological mapping from the British Geological Survey, the 1:10,000 and 1:25,000 scale maps (DiGMapGB-10 and DiGMapGB25).Â Please note that these datasets do not have national coverage, where they are not present there is a water mark on the map to inform you. As there is almost no overlap between these two large scale datasets EDINA has combined them into a single detailed geology layer.
To allow different datasets to be viewed at the same scale we have introduced the basemaps tab so that the geology data can be switched with the scale remaining the same. Adding the basemaps tab has also allowed us to introduce new ways of viewing the same data, with all the geology layers now viewable as both the Rock Unit e.g. Kimmeridge Clay Formation and Rock Type e.g. Mudstone.
The basemaps tab has allowed many datasets to be view at the same scale so in addition to the new geological data we have also added several extra types of data which provide information about the soil and hydrogeology of Great Britain. The Geological Indicators of Flooding; Permeability (Max and Min); 1:625,000 Scale Hydrogeology; along withÂ Soil Strength, Texture and Calcium Carbonate content from the Soil Parent Material Data are now all available as basemaps.
The final change made to the Geology Roam interface has been to the Active Legends which now allow you to order the entries by their age. The ordering is based on the MAX_INDEX attribute in the geology data that allows you to order the Rock Units based on its oldest age.
The active legend still lets you rocks on the map by clicking on the legend and vice versa.
A full list of the products available in each view / scale can be found in the Geology Roam “How To Guide” here:
If you have any questions abot the changes to Geology Roam or any other part of the serve then please get in touch:
- Phone: 0131 650 3302
- Email: email@example.com
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 ofÂ 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.
- Christopher Wesson, Ordnance Survey – Cartographic Principles
- Jason Taylor, Ravensborne – Building a 3D model from Digimap Data
- Emma Diffley, EDINA – Changes to the Ordnance Survey Licence
- Guy McGarva, EDINA – Digimap Update
- Ian Holmes, EDINA – Fieldtrip GB Excursion
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.Â Christopher gave some background about Ordnance Survey and the data they are now creating.Â 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. Janson 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.
The result of his work combined milling of MDF particle board and also 3D Printing of a miniature Millennium Dome.Â 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 beging 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. 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.
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.Â There are also a lot of new products and cartographic improvements to old products going into the Roam online mapping interfaces.
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.
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.Â 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.
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
We’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.Â 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.