Author Archive

Its now OFFICIAL – no more Shetland in a box

May 31, 2018 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

Representing remarkable interference by government in freedom of expression, the Scotsman Newspaper reported today that the Islands (Scotland) Bill has been passed in the Scottish Parliament.  It passes complete with an amendment from Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, such that it is now officially illegal to put Shetland in a box!

Following the points made in my previous blog post on this issue, I have no doubt that this shows a complete lack of cartographic understanding and considerable disrespect to those living in Mainland Scotland, which is arbitrarily reduced in size by 40% following this decision.   We await with interest the first prosecutions….

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Is Shetland a cartographic compromise too far?

March 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

MSP Tavish Scott intends to introduce an amendment to the Islands Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament, which would compel public bodies to “accurately and proportionately” depict Shetland in relation to the rest of the country.  He point out the the cartographic tendency to place the archipelago in a box somewhere off Scotland’s east coast is annoys island residents, as they feel like their home is an afterthought on maps. Great for inclusion, exactly what the Islands Bill intends to do one would think.

But what are the implications?  The Shetlands Times describes the placing of Shetland-in-a-box as a geographical error.  It is plainly not, it is a cartographic compromise. And there are always implications to a compromise.  To include the Northern Isles in their actual geographical location, separated from the mainland by almost 100 miles of water, would reduce the scale at which the country can be displayed by…

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AGI Scotland Annual Event is just a few days away

February 21, 2018 Leave a comment

GIS Scotland V2A programme is now available for the AGI Scotland Annual Event which takes place at the Lighthouse in Glasgow on Tuesday 27th February 2018.

Don’t miss out on this day of ideas, discussion and collaboration with fellow members of Scotland’s GI community.  There are only a handful of tickets left for this very popular event.

Keynote speakers include Joann Russell (Head of Estates at Historic Environment Scotland), Don Smith (Director of Technology, Dell SecureWorks)  and Philip Taylor (Environmental Data Scientist with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology).

Further details and registration are here.

Our sponsors include thinkWhere, Informed Solutions, Europa Technologies and Ordnance Survey.

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EEO-AGI Scotland Seminar Review : David Henderson, Ordnance Survey : 26th Jan

February 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis


Friday 26th Jan 2018

David Henderson
Managing Director, Ordnance Survey Great Britain

The day after Burns Night, David Henderson (Managing Director of OSGB) came to deliver a talk billed as ‘Beyond GB and Geo: National Mapping in Transformation’, kick-starting the 2018 contributions to the EEO-AGI(S) seminar series. With our speaker extolling the virtues of Scotland’s ‘other’ national drink – incidentally available on the night in our Old Library venue at the University of Edinburgh – we took our seats for a wide-ranging overview of the role of the OS in the rapidly changing geospatial industry both nationally and, increasingly, internationally.

Paying loose homage to the famous “The economy, stupid” phrase coined during the successful 1992 Clinton presidential campaign, we were introduced to the reality that, increasingly, now “it’s digital, stupid”. Another key tenet of the Clinton campaign – that a failure to embrace change was not an option – seems…

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Don’t Miss Out – The Best GI Event of the 2018 north of London

February 5, 2018 Leave a comment

GIS Scotland V2The much-anticipated AGI Scotland Annual Event returns in 2018 after a year off and promises to be even better than before.  We will be coming together at the Lighthouse in Glasgow on Tuesday 27th February 2018, for a day of ideas, discussion and collaboration with fellow members of Scotland’s GI community.

The event will showcase the latest innovation and developments in geographical information in Scotland. Amongst a range of exciting themes, the event will review the increasingly significant role of cybersecurity and data ethics in GI as well as more generally highlighting the latest applications of the technology.  Scotland’s thriving geospatial technology and data industries will be on show, with speakers and attendees from a broad range of sectors.

Bruce Gittings, Chair of AGI-Scotland, said “There is so much happening in our industry – this is the must-attend event for GI professionals in Scotland and Northern England”.

Shona Nicol, Head of the Geographic Information Science & Analysis Team in the Scottish Government added “I always come to the AGI Scotland Event – its the best way of catching up with fellow GI professionals and building new relationships.  This year, my entire team will be there”.

Headline speakers include:

  • Joann Russell, Head of Estates at Historic Environment Scotland
  • Layla Gordon, Head of AR/VR Projects at Ordnance Survey
  • David Frankland, Operations Manager, thinkWhere / Humanitarian OpenStreetMap


Further details and registration are here.  Tickets are going fast, so please don’t miss out!

Our sponsors include thinkWhere, CARTO,  Verisk  and Informed Solutions.

See you in Glasgow!

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EEO-AGI Scotland Seminar Review : Dr. Vanessa Lawrence CB : 29th Sept

November 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

Starting the new series of EEO-AGI seminars with a bang, we welcomed none other than Dr. Vanessa Lawrence CB, HonFREng, FRGS, FRICS, FCInstCES, FRSGS, CCMI, CGeog. As the longest-serving Director General and CEO of the Ordnance Survey since 1875, she filled the post from 2000 to 2014. Vanessa is currently working internationally as a senior advisor to governments and inter-governmental organisations, including the World Bank and large private sector organisations.

Approximately 65 people crowded in to the Old Library eager to hear the seminar on “Location: Its role in solving issues facing you, our nation and our world”. Vanessa quickly highlighted that “Everything happens somewhere” – a point that would repeat throughout the seminar. We must remember how important location is: “where” underpins all of our daily lives.

In a very personable talk, Vanessa went on to discuss the opportunities and challenges around Geospatial Information (GI), giving numerous personal anecdotes…

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Forgotten pioneer’s Forth crossing dream realised after 200 years

August 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

Perspective_600It was to prove a bridge too far for engineers 200 years ago … but now a little-known Scot’s vision of a Forth crossing is set to become reality.

Plans drawn by engineer and surveyor James Anderson in 1818 – which look remarkably similar to the Queensferry Crossing that opens tomorrow (Wednesday) – have come to light in a University of Edinburgh archive.

Anderson’s proposal for a “Bridge of Chains proposed to be thrown over the Frith [sic] of Forth” was discovered by University geographer Bruce Gittings while researching his Gazetteer for Scotland – a project to record every settlement and landmark in Scotland.

The remarkable plans for a roadway linking North and South Queensferry were proposed 72 years before completion of the iconic Forth Bridge.

Perspective_pieceBoth Anderson’s design and the new Queensferry Crossing are suspension road bridges, with their supports extending as straight lines from the towers, in both…

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