When the man from the OS came

Filed under progress

We were fortunate to recently have a visit from Glen Hart, Ordnance Survey Head of Research, and one of his colleagues. Glen was visiting John Whelan at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus who has been doing some fascinating (and actually quite beautiful) stuff with OS data and vector graphics.

The CHART Scarborough map, which John used as basis for a student project when it was still at concept level, proved a useful dovetail for John and Glen and gave us an always welcome fresh pair of eyes, not least from someone with a wealth of knowledge and ideas.

Most interesting was discussion on vernacular geography which is a current area of research for OS – basically how a map can provide a ‘sense of place’, which is exactly what CHART Scarborough is all about. As a result we decided to revisit the colour scheme of the map and an idea we initially rejected – that the urban area colours might reflect the building materials or shopfronts of the buildings. Which means getting our there writing down the colour of every building of every street to form a composite for that area. Below is one such record.

This we’re combining this with some more building footprint detail suggested by feedback off the Cartotalk forum. We reckon – although unfortunately we just don’t have time to research this particular aspect fully – that some indication as to the frontage of buildings in both shape and colour will help people locate the area they’re in on the map as well as help in capturing the feel of Scarborough town centre.

We’ll also be taking a final look at the area or neighbourhood names. I’ll write a new post on that, particularly as there’s some discussion brewing about one particular label…

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