14th December 2012

OS OpenData Masterclasses review

Luke Hampson

In our last blog, we told you all about what the Innovation team had been up to during, what has been a very busy period. Due to the packed schedule throughout November and early December, you may have noticed that we’ve taken some time out from posting anything here on the blog. However, we thought you would be interested to read about the fourth series of OS OpenData Masterclasses that we ran during the last two weeks of November, so here’s a short write-up.

Following on from the three previously successful series of Masterclasses, we decided to revamp the fourth series, based on feedback received from the previous events. For the first time, participants were shown how to use OS OpenSpace, Ordnance Survey’s free web mapping service that allows users to display up-to-date Ordnance Survey mapping in a web page or online environment. Those who attended learnt how and where to access code examples, how to use Web-Map Builder, a tool designed to simplify the process of embedding a map into a website; as well as demonstrating an interactive way to experiment with code in the new Code Playground.

Edinburgh Masterclass

At each class, we had at least a couple of members from our technical team in attendance to help out with any questions being asked and to generally provide more information around Ordnance Survey’s data and web mapping services. We had some great discussions – from discussing architecture options of web map services using open source software (such as Apache Tomcat, PostGIS and Geoserver) – to the use of OS OpenData products such as OS VectorMap District for analysis or the various possibilities offered by our Web Services such as OS OpenSpace and our commercial Web Map Service – OS OnDemand.

RGS class in progress

The classes were held in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Cardiff and London – and we received many more requests for further events to be conducted elsewhere in the future. Whilst we haven’t confirmed plans to deliver classes in 2013, it’s highly likely we will and we’re sure to include dates at locations around Great Britain.

So, you may be thinking – how will you get to hear about future events? Well, we announced the fourth series of classes on our corporate blog at the end of October and on our GeoVation blog a few days later. We also issued a press release around this time too. Other channels were used to promote the classes such as twitter (tweets from both @OrdnanceSurvey and @GeoVation) and the “OSDeveloper” page on our website contains a link to future developer events amongst other useful links – so be sure to check this out if you haven’t done already.

We’ve received some great feedback and suggestions for how the classes could be developed in the future so we will be taking this on board – so watch this space!