Geoforum 2016 Summary

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 […]

GeoForum 2016: Booking Now Open

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.

kim traynor [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

kim traynor [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Reserve your place now:

GeoForum 2016 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 2016

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.  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.  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:

Find out what happened at last year’s event: GeoForum 2015


GeoForum 2015 Summary

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

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 of  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


Slides will be added soon.

The first full presentation of the day came from Christopher Wesson, one of the founding members of Ordnance Survey’s digital Cartographic Design team.  Christopher gave some background about Ordnance Survey and the data they are now creating.  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


Slides will be added soon.

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.  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


Slides will be added soon.

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.

Digimap Update


Slides will be added soon.

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.  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.

Fieldtrip GB


Slides will be added soon.

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.  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

Final Summary

geoforum15_signWe’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.  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.


GeoForum 2015: Programme announced

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 there 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


GeoForum 2015: Booking Now Open

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


EDINA Geoforum 2014 Summary

Geoforum 2014 RegistrationEDINA’s Geoforum 2014 was a great success with an audience of around 80 delegates and EDINA staff all enjoying an informative and entertaining programme.  The aim of the event was to engage with users and support staff and highlight new features in EDINA’s core Jisc funded services.

Other than this summary there are several other ways to find out what happened at this event:

Keynote Address

Peter GibbsPeter Gibbs is a well known for his BBC and Met Office weather forecasts and in his presentation he showed us the work that was being done by the Met Office and Environment Agency in combining their data and resources to predict not just where there is going to be rain but where the rain is likely to cause flooding.

The slides for Peter’s talk can be viewed here:

Flood Forecasting – Peter Gibbs

Peter has a keen interest in improving public levels of understanding of science through better communication and this was very evident in his presentation.  He managed to explain the complexities of how weather data was collected and used for forecasting in a very accessible way, leaving the audience with a much better understanding of how our weather and in particular flooding is predicted. We also got to see just how much data the met office use, up to 70 recordings at different heights for grid cells up to 1km2.

Peter Gibbs at Geoforum 2014

A key message implied in Peter’s talk was the critical importance of be able to create usable and appropriate information for your audience from the large amounts of complex and varied data available. This is something that as scientists we should all aspire to.

Data Usage

The next presentation came from a recent MSc in GIS Graduate, Darius Bazazi. The presentation followed on from the keynote nicely as it show how various datasets, some from Digimap, some from other sources, were combined to improve the science behind panning natural measures to control flooding. The slides for this presentation are available here:

Using EDINA Datasets in a Hydrology Project – Darius Bazazi

The main issue tackled by Darius was to improve a key variable that decides whether an area is suitable for natural flood management, PROPWET (the proportion of time soils are wet). Darius used datasets such as the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s Landcover data to try and improve this value, bringing in vegetation cover and land use as factors that could influence it.

Darius’ talk showed how important the availability of data from a wide range of sources is key to research such as his. A large amount of researchers time, from graduate level upwards, can be taken up by finding and requesting / ordering data; Digimap and other geoservices from EDINA exist largely to reduce or eliminate the wait for data.


Carol Blackwood finished off the morning’s presentations with a talk about the improvements EDINA are making to the support of their geoservices. The slides for this presentation can be found here:

Geoservices Support – Carol Blackwood

Carol first told us about the work under way to replace the registration system for the Digimap collections. The main piece of good news is that there will no longer be a wait between registering and accessing the service. The new system will use the familiar email confirmation link to allow access once the registration form has been filled in.  This will ensure that users have speedier access and also that their email is correct for collecting their downloaded data.

Carol also highlighted a few other things we are doing to support our users and also to improve the information available for site reps to promote Digimap. Firstly there is the new live chat system that allows people to have a text chat with the user support team.  The chat window can be accessed from any of the help pages or the resource centre where it appears as a pop-up:

Other resources highlighted in the presentation were:

Finally Carol talked about the training offered by the Geosupport team, if you are interested in attending or hosting a training course then please get in touch with us:  We can also arrange to do some bespoke training workshops or webinars for certain subject areas.

Geoforum 2014 LunchLunch

During the lunch break we were treated to some delicious food and got to see some interesting data and software from the following people.

Most importantly we were given plenty of time to speak to others at the event, sharing ideas and thoughts on the presentations and demonstrations we had seen.

Service Updates

Guy McGarva brought us up-to-date with all the latest additions and enhancements made to Digimap over the past year, and then went on to highlight the improvements we will be introducing next. The slides for this presentation can be found here:

Digimap Update – Guy McGarva

Guy showed how we are now using the results from the impact surveys and other contact with users to guide and prioritise the developments to the service. He also highlighted the huge amount of work that has gone on in the past year to the back-end architecture of the service that will make it much more reliable, maintainable and flexible going forward.

In the near future you can expect to see a new Download interface for Marine, after which will follow a similar upgrade to Historic Download including a better basket for all the downloaders, where you will be able to select data formats and dates more easily.

Have a look through the slides to see more of the upcoming improvements to the Digimap Service.


The last part of the day was a welcome trip outside in the sunshine to see how Fieldtrip GB could be used for Citizen Science projects. The slides for this presentation can be found here:

Citizen Science in your Pocket – Addy Pope

Geoforum 2014 FieldtripAddy Pope led the group through an exercise where a form was designed to collect data about graffiti which was then deployed to the groups smart phones and tablets. Everybody then took their devices outside and began collecting data such as photos and the type of graffiti found. The devices take care of logging the location, though the app does allow you to modify this if it isn’t quite right.

Fieldtrip GB had some glowing praise from the delegates, everyone seemed to find the it intuitive and. easy to use. A very good way to crowd source data without an expensive outlay.

Final Summary

A very big thank you to all those who attended Geoforum, we at EDINA feel it was a tremendously successful event.

The days presentations an exhibitions told a story, starting with the importance of geospatial data, especially to bodies of such strategic importance as the Met Office. We heard how research carried out at academic institutions was adding to the accuracy of the data and the models that use the data, and how important access to the data was in order to carry out this research.

The exhibitors showed us the next generation of data along with some of the software to process it. And finally, the presenters from EDINA showed what we are doing to improve the accessibility to the data; not just by making it available but by providing the support and training to realise its full potential.

Jisc cJISContinue to provide funding for services such as Digimap, GoGeo and Unlock which form the backbone of geospatial services available to the academic community in Great Britain.  The Geoforum allows funders and service providers to engage with the user community which in turn helps focus service improvements.

A final thank you to everyone who helped make the event happen, the EDINA staff who helped organise, present and pack away all the equipment; the exhibitors; Bluesky Catering; and the staff at the Informatics Forum.


Geoforum 2014: Booking Now Open

Informatics ForumWe are now taking bookings for EDINA’s Geoforum 2014 and with such a fantastic programme this year places could fill up fast. This year’s event will be at the University of Edinburgh in the award winning Informatics Forum, on the 19th June.

Reserve you place now: Geoforum 2014 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.

For all the details and a full programme please visit the website: EDINA Geoforum 2014


Peter GibbsThis year’s theme is the Environment and so we have lined up BBC broadcast meteorologist Peter Gibbs to deliver the keynote. Peter will be talking about the response being taken by the Met Office and Environment Agency to improve flood forecasting.

We also have a recent MSc Graduate talking about his use of LandCover data (available from Environment Digimap) with data from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in assessing natural flood management.

Colleges and Further Education

Along with the environmental talks we will also be introducing the upcoming Digimap for Colleges, a new service that sits between Digimap for Schools and the full Digimap service. There will also be an update on all the latest features and enhancements to EDINA’s geoservices.

More Details…

To find out what else we have planned for you, including this year’s excursion, and to book your place please visit the website: EDINA Geoforum 2014


Free Digimap Training Events: 2014

training courseDigimap has some upcoming webinars and a free training event in London. Booking is available via the links below:

There will be more training events throughout the year; for more information or to request training for your institution, please contact us:

  • Email:
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302


EDINA Geoforum 2013 Review

Geoforum 2013EDINA’s Geoforum 2013 was a great success with over 50 academic and support staff attending four very well received presentations:

Geoforum aims to bring together staff who support the use of Digimap and other geoservices from subscribing institutions around the country and showcase what’s new and upcoming from EDINA. It also gives people an opportunity to ask the Digimap team questions and to chat with others about how support and promote geoservices.

There was a live blog running throughout the day which is still available for you to read and find out what happened.

Keynote Address

The keynote was delivered by Shelley Mosco of The University of Greenwich and was titled: Digimap Data and a non-traditionalist approach.  Shelley is a member of the The School of Architecture, Design and Construction and  described the ways in which spatial data could be used to inform design. Shelley was keen to stress the importance of spatial data and GIS in the implementation of Building Information Models (BIMs).  BIMs have been used in large engineering projects for some time, however the government is making them mandatory for all publicly funded building projects in England and Wales. This means that commercial organisations will be looking for students to have been trained in the concept of BIMs and the software that drives them.  You can find out more about BIMs through the following links:

Geofurum 2013 keynote

Two of Shelley’s current MSc students also gave brief overviews of their experiences of learning about GIS and using spatial data in their projects.  Both David Parfitt and Robert Park were self-confessed GIS newbies, but they managed to get data from Digimap and use it in their conservation projects. The data allowed them to visualise and analyse the environment and provide evidence to support their proposed designs.  Their demo’s were excellent a they really showed the power of simple GIS analysis.

You can view the slides from this presentation here:

Slideshare Shelley Mosco Presentation at Geoforum 2013Digimap Data and a non-traditionalist approach – Shelley Mosco

Open and “Free” Geo Software & Data

After the Keynote was a presentation that focused on Open or “Free” resources for geospatial teaching and research. The presentation looked at  software, web-mapping and data. The main resources are listed below:


  • OS Open data is available through the Digimap Data Download service.
  • ShareGeo Open is a repository for open geospatial data. It has lots of useful and interesting datasets on a variety of subjects such as wind farms, crime, boundaries and DTMs
  • – the UK government’s open data store


  • QGIS – one of the best open source GIS out there. Lots of functionality and plugins that allow you to perform complex spatial analysis. It is also well supported by forums.
  • gvSIG – anther fully functioning GIS.
  • GRASS – a remote sensing package aimed at serious remote sensor’s. If you are a newbie to remote sensing, you can access GRASS tool through the GRASS plugin for QGIS which makes things really simple.


Digimap is a great web mapping tool, but how can you create your own interactive web map for your website?

  • MapBox – simple intuitive web site that helps users build interactive web maps. Basic functionality is free, more advanced functions are available for a small fee.
  • Leaflet – the engine behind MapBox, it is free but requires user to do a “bit” of programing
  • Openlayers – an alternative to Leaflet which is more flexible. Openlayers powers Digimap. Requires a fair amount of programming knowledge.
  • MapServer – implements Openlayers for enterprise scale operations. MapServer is also used for Digimap services.

You can view the slides from this presentation on slideshare here:

OpenSourceOpen & “Free” Geo Software & Data – Tom Armitage

EDINA Geoservices Review

After lunch the lead of EDINA’s geoservices Support team, Emma Diffley, shared what we have been busy working on.


Digimap is being streamlined, each collection will eventually have just a Roam and a Download. These interfaces will all look and work in a very similar way. The aim is to make the service more consistent and easier to use, but also much easier to maintain.

EDINA will be withdrawing Digimap Carto on 31st July 2013. Carto, launched in 1996, is harder and harder to maintain, so we have taken the best bits and put them into Roam.

On top of the Carto functionality already added to Roam the following improvements are coming soon:

  • an improved way of saving and opening maps and annotations
  • a Basemaps button to change the style or even mapping product you are viewing at each scale
  • PDF format prints in Ancient Roam
  • all Roams having the ability to print up to A0
  • a cleaner interface, consistent across all Roams
  • additional overlay options coming soon (boundaries, contours…)

The Download interfaces will also going through a similar process.


  • A single consistent style for all the vector products through all the scale levels accessible through using the basemaps button in the new Roam.
  • VectorMap Local (VML) in shapefile and DWG formats
  • ArcGIS layer files for symbolising VML shapefiles coming soon
  • OS MasterMap Topo available as DWG is being planned


  • There is a new Resource Centre, which does not require login, with answers to questions, videos, case studies etc.

Beyond Digimap

  • GoGeo has added more resources and now highlights the “Editor’s Picks”
  • ShareGeoOpen now has over 210 resources all of which are open and free to use
  • FieldTrip GB is a mobile app for capturing data, see below
  • GeoTagger – a tool to allow you to edit the metadata for your photos
  • Cartogrammar – upload your data and visualise it in different ways
  • UKBORDERS is now the UK Data Service Census Support Unit

On the horizon

We are still awaiting news on funding, but are lots of things we would like to do. Currently our focus is to “mobilise” more services and we will be continuing to add new support materials once the latest round of Roam and Download changes have been made.

If there are things you would like us to do we really want to hear about them. Recommendations from the user community carry real weight for us, and we are keen to hear ideas on new data or services we should be providing.

You can view the slides from this presentation here:

Slideshare Emma Diffley Presentation at Geoforum

EDINA Geoservices Review – Emma Diffley

Fieldtrip GB – data capture, simplified

The final part of the day was about EDINA’s new mobile app for carrying out field work Fieldtrip GB. It simplifies the process of capturing data in the field against quality cartographic mapping. It is equally at home in urban environments as it is in rural ones. Custom forms allow users to design their own data capture projects and collect exactly what they need for their research.  The session gave a brief overview before running a “live” group data collection exercise.  A custom form was created and deployed to participants mobile phones. They then headed outside and captured data on things like building fabric and design.  After 15 mins everyone reconvened and the collected data was “synced” and exported to Google Earth.

You can view the slides from this presentation on slideshare here:

FtGB Slideshare

FieldtripGB – data capture simplified – Addy Pope

As mentioned earlier, there is a transcript of the whole day in the form of a live blog  so if you didn’t manage to attend and want to find out what happened please have a look.