OS Data Challenge GISRUK 2016

GISRUK 2016 Ordnance Survey Data Challenge


The Ordnance Survey Data Challenge is open to all conference attendees. The challenge will allow participants to apply their methods and ideas to a sample dataset provided by Ordnance Survey and present the results at the conference. We welcome submissions from individuals or teams (maximum five members per team). A prize of £200 Amazon vouchers will be presented to the winner(s) at GISRUK 2016.

We are looking for innovative and creative solutions. Below are some questions that you may wish to address for the challenge. However, this is not an exhaustive list and would welcome other solutions that address the themes of climate, sustainability and urban development.

  1. The shape of building roofs: whether they are simple gable roofs, or hipped, mansard, pyramidal or something more complex.
  2. The orientation of building roofs (slope and aspect) and an indication of whether they would be suitable for installing solar panels (e.g. a good roof is one where the roof plane faces south and is not obstructed by chimneys or dormer windows).
  3. The location of windows and doors – can the data be used to find the entrance points of buildings?
  4. The age of buildings: can an approximation of the age of the buildings be determined by the way they look in the data?
  5. The nature of a place: are there cues in the data, which indicate the type of area depicted?  Is it an industrial site, or a residential area, or a recreational area?
  6. Given some old data and some new data, can you determine where change has happened in the area, and can this change be categorised (e.g. houses have been demolished, a new road layout created, or some trees planted?)
  7. Given the data could you make any predications about how climate change could affect the area?

Format of Submission

If you would like to take part in the challenge you must first register your interest by completing the form by 23rd December. Only one form needs to be completed per team.  Your application will be confirmed the week beginning the 13th January and the full dataset released on the 20th January.  

Each entrant should write a short report (maximum 1500 words) that explains what methods they have applied to the data, the results that have been obtained and motivations for taking the approach that they have. Please see the GISRUK webpage for the format of the reports. Reports should be submitted via email to Zena Wood by the 2nd March 2016.

A panel will use these reports to judge each submission according to the following criteria:

  • Explanation for choice of method
  • Presentation and explanation of results
  • Innovative solution

Each entrant is encouraged to present a poster at GISRUK detailing their submission. The top three entries will be asked to present their solutions in more detail at a special session at the conference. The overall winner will be announced at the end of the conference.  


Important Dates


  • Challenge launched -  12th November
  • Expressions of interest deadline (1 per entrant) -  1st December  23rd December
  • Confirmation of acceptance -  w/c 7th December 13th January
  • Data released -  14th December 20th January
  • Submission of reports -  15th February  2nd March
  • Top three entrants announced -  1st March  11th March
  • Presentation of all submissions -  30th March
  • Overall winner announced -  2nd April

GISRUK 2016 is hosted by the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Greenwich.