Ordnance Survey NI Directorate, Land & Property Services, Department of Finance (The Civil Service of Northern Ireland) has recently completed the new OSNI Fusion national mapping product suite. It is a product of years of effort from hundreds of staff, not only within LPS, but across the civil service and partnering external third parties. It represents the greatest change to the national database since the 1980s representing the state of the art next generation mapping.
For every piece of geographic information captured, for each section of map data you use, equipment had to be identified and tested, processes had to be created and experimented. It is a collective and civic product. It aspires to Dieter Ram’s principles of design in addition to having the potential to “get better the more it is used”. It is unrivaled in terms of currency (up-to-dateness), detail, and countrywide comprehensive coverage. As a public sector product, all revenue is reinvested back into advancing the map, staff training, and public sector services.
Countrywide, over 150 geographic layers, such as road layout, building footprints, and field boundaries, are simplified to one single layer. One way to think of this is Northern Ireland becomes like the world’s largest living jigsaw as it is constantly being amended. Each piece of the earth, a building, a street, a field becomes each a piece of the puzzle. A myriad of benefits exists including the ability to link disparate datasets to any geographic feature and receive automatic notifications if the landscape you are interested in has changed. A project currently being prototyped is attempting to live link as high a percentage as possible of official and authoritative Land Registry, Taxation, Revenues, and Benefits records to the geometry of every single building in the country. Potentially all moments can be recorded against a location on a single tectonic plane.
paper, 19th century
to digital, 1980s
+ later web
+ abstracted unified single layer (fusion)