Jisc geospatial data gives academics access to millions of open data maps

Re-posted from Jisc News.

Integration of Airbus’ Vision-1 satellite imagery and the GeoSeer search tool give students and academics access to millions of open access geographical data sets

Jisc is pleased to announce the launch of the improved Jisc geospatial data service providing universities and colleges easy and free access to more than 1.6 million geographical datasets from around the world, including the most comprehensive index of maps ever brought together.

The service features the implementation of a new search tool, GeoSeer, and the access to Airbus’ Vision-1 satellite imagery.

The Jisc service brings open data and licensed data together in one interface, integrating GeoSeer which can search for spatial data by location and subject. It also offers the opportunity to review multiple search results at once by overlaying any of the datasets to study and compare changes in the landscape over time.

Phil Brownnett, head of UK programmes at Airbus Defence and Space – Intelligence said:

“We are very pleased to have been working with Jisc to provide academics and students easy access to valuable datasets, especially Vision-1 high-resolution satellite data. We are committed to empowering researchers and this will help transform their geographical work.”

Early next year, Airbus’ Vision-1 satellite imagery will complete this dataset, allowing researchers to focus on specific locations across the world, with fine and up-to-date details. Jisc is looking to work with universities to explore how the GeoSeer tool and Vision-1 data can enhance research, teaching and learning.

Cam Swift, geospatial data service development manager at Jisc, said:

“We worked with Airbus to integrate GeoSeer into our service, bringing together over 1.6 million open source maps and licensed data into one easy to use interface. This will make it easier for students, academics and researchers to use geographical information.

“Users can log into one service bringing together open access and licensed geography data and working with them seamlessly.”

Jonathan Moules, founder of GeoSeer said:

“It’s great to see all of this data made readily available to so many people. Freely available geographical data is really hard to find using conventional means and GeoSeer was developed to ameliorate that. Now thousands in academia have access to this data and can utilise it by simply typing in a search term and then add their desired search layers.”

Society Digimap: trial access

The University of Cambridge now has trial access to the newly launched Digimap collection: Society Digimap, via this link.

For registration for use of Digimap please see the UL Map Department’s page here:


Access is enabled until 31 July 2019.  Please send us your feedback via the online form here.  Thank you.

Society Digimap allows you  to explore a range of demographic data, providing a wealth of census and socio-economic information for Great Britain. The processing required to visualise Census and other demographic datasets can be a barrier to use for many people interested in the value of the datasets. By providing these datasets as layers to visualise along with high quality Ordnance Survey data, the rich information can offer valuable insights without the need to learn how to use a GIS.

Today, the mapping facility, Society Roam is available. A full data download application is under development, which will offer the ability to download both the census data and the corresponding boundaries together.

Marine Digimap

The University of Cambridge has long subscribed to the Digimap service run by EDINA, providing maps and geospatial data from a number of national data providers, including Ordnance Survey and the British Geological Survey.

Cambridge University Library’s Map Department provides a helpful page giving details of the service and how to get access here.   This page includes the Terms of Use that specify that the data is available for teaching, educational research, academic research or limited internal business use only. Registration is required before use, and access thereafter is via Raven login.

In addition to the access to the Ordnance Survey Collection, Historic Digimap, Geology Digimap and Environment Digimap, the University has added the Aerial, Lidar, and Global services, and from 2018/2019 Marine Digimap.

Aerial: Aerial imagery data at scales ranging from 1:150,000 to 1:500 available for making maps online or for download. Complete coverage of Great Britain is available.

Lidar: Lidar data maps the earth’s surface and is captured by firing rapid laser pulses (thousands of times per second) at the ground surface. By examining the laser energy reflected back from the ground the surface is captured as a dense cloud of 3D points. These points are then converted in to highly detailed terrain models of the surface of the earth and by examining the reflections from both the ground surface and the vegetation canopy it is possible to derive both Digital Terrain Models of the bare earth surface (DTM) and also Digital Surface Models (DSM) that show the vegetation canopy.

Global: This is a service that is being developed now by EDINA, mainly using OpenStreetMap and Natural Earth data.  You can read more about this innovative new service here.

Marine: Includes the raster nautical charts derived from the UK Hydrographic Office paper charts and chart panels, and Marine Themes vector data covering all UK waters which can be loaded into Geographic Information Systems.  Marine data is extensively used in offshore engineering projects, management of marine and coastal environments, marine ecology studies, environmental impact assessments and tourism.

Within Marine Digimap are the following tools:

Roam is used to view, annotate, and save maps through your browser. Maps can be created at scales 1:2,500 to 1:5,000,000, and saved as PDF, PNG and JPG, from sizes A4 to A0.

Chart Roam provides marine charts created from the original paper charts. The digital files are available in TIFF format (from Marine Download) at scales from 1:5,000 to 1:5,000,000. They can be viewed, annotated, and saved as PDF, PNG and JPG formats from sizes A4 to A0.

Marine download enables the download of OceanWise Ltd. data for use in GIS software. Marine download contains additional data to Marine Roam such as UK Territorial Sea Area, Continental Shelf Area and Fishery Zone.

Access to Digimap is via the Maps Department page on the University Library website or via the Cambridge LibGuides Databases A-Z.

Digimap has its own YouTube  channel here.

Launching of the digital cartography tool: Mapping the Enlightenment

The research team of the project Mapping the Enlightenment: Intellectual Networks and the Making of Knowledge in the European Periphery  is thrilled to announce the release of an online digital cartography tool which provides historical information about the travels of Greek-speaking scholars during the European Enlightenment Era through a modern interactive environment!

The project Mapping the Enlightenment was funded by the Research Centre for Humanities (RCH) for the academic year 2016-2017. For more information on the project and for using our mapping tool, please visit our webpage:


Lidar Digimap now included with Aerial Digimap

Aerial Digimap is expanding; earlier this year Edina added a new tranche of Getmapping Plc’s detailed, 25cm resolution orthophotography images, covering around 30% of the country. A second update is expected, which will provide data flown in 2016 to go into the service over the next academic year.  Aerial Digimap has the most detailed aerial imagery available as a national coverage and working towards it being the most up-to-date collection too.

And we have more good news for you…

At the beginning of June, Lidar Digimap was made available for users to preview until 31st July 2017.  We are delighted to advise that as part of our Aerial Digimap subscription users will have continued access to Lidar Digimap until 31st July next year.

More information about the Lidar Digimap collection can be found here:


and here:



Aerial Digimap

The University of Cambridge now has access to Aerial Digimap here:


Access requires registration (one-off) and login is via Shibboleth (institutional login).

Aerial Digimap is part of the Digimap Collection of on-line mapping and data delivery facilities. Users can view the data through their web browser, save the data for printing and download the aerial imagery data for use in geographical information systems.

Aerial Digimap contains aerial imagery data at scales ranging from 1:150,000 to 1:500 available for making maps online or for download. Complete coverage of Great Britain is available.

If you want to know what you can and can’t do with the maps and data from Digimap please read the Licence Agreement. There is a set of Licence FAQs if you need more clarification about what you intend to do with the maps or data.

agcensus online

New resource on eresources@cambridge A-Z / LibGuides Databases A-Z: agcensus online

The University Library Map Department is pleased to have enabled access to the agcensus online resource from Edina which can be accessed now via Shibboleth login here:


The Agricultural Census is conducted in June each year by the government departments dealing with Agriculture and Rural Affairs for Scotland, England, and Wales (see appropriate governmental website for the devolved region). Each farmer declares the agricultural activity on the land via a postal questionnaire. The respective government departments collect the 150 items of data and publish information relating to farm holdings for recognised geographies.

Conversion of Agricultural Census Data

The Edinburgh University Data Library has developed algorithms which convert the data for recognised geographies, obtained from the government departments, into grid square estimates. The key to transforming the raw data into grid square data is the definition of each geography (e.g. parish, in the case of Scotland) in terms of 1km squares. Agricultural Census items are distributed over those 1km grid squares with the land use category suitable for the census item in question. The categories are defined by the Landuse Framework, a 7-fold land-use classification of the same 1km grid squares (the seven land-use categories are agricultural land, upland, woodland, restricted agriculture – natural, restricted agriculture – artificial, urban, and inland water).

Agricultural change

Shifts in financial policy, environmental concerns, technological advances and food safety issues, among other issues, have recently influenced farming. Commercial survival can often depend on responding appropriately to those changes. The Agricultural Census grid square estimates can help to understand the nature and extent of change.

Market potential

Land use data could be the key to a marketing strategy. Whether a business is selling to the industry, or buying from it, Agricultural Census production data conveys a vivid picture of the real farming situation. Mapping the distribution of a production item allows an organisation to make informed decisions on planning and policy.

New business opportunities

Agricultural data could alert an organisation to new opportunities, reduce the likelihood of financial penalties associated with bad decisions about resources, or provide a sound basis for restructuring a distribution or supply network. Census derived agricultural data has the potential to provide some of the most accurate, quantifiable and usable marketing information to anyone doing business in the rural sector or associated industries. Those interested in estimating future activity can extrapolate from 30 years of data.