Friday, 8 August 2014

Video guide: Export OS MasterMap with findmaps.co.uk (DWG, DXF, SHP, TAB)

We have produced a video guide to exporting OS MasterMap in FIND Maps. This commonly undertaken task can be completed in about two minutes for a typical 4ha area.



FIND Maps offers flexible and efficient OS MasterMap exporting

Export with FIND Maps to:
  • carefully define your export shape with three different types of 'cookie-cutter' tools (square, circle and editable nodes)
  • export in both CAD and GIS formats (DXF, DWG, SHP, TAB)
  • choose from one, two and three year licenses available for OS MasterMap
  • view up to 15ha of MasterMap free per session while exporting.
>More information on OS MasterMap

Monday, 4 August 2014

Video guide: Create 1:1250 A4 Location Plans with findmaps.co.uk

We have produced a video guide to creating 1:1250 A4 Location Plans in FIND Maps. This commonly used feature can be done under 3 minutes using the findmaps.co.uk online mapping application.



FIND Maps offers flexible and efficient OS MasterMap printing and annotation. A range of different map scales can be selected, including 1:1250 and 1:2500. Also, a red-line property boundary can be added to the plot using the 'merge polygon' tool that enables you to quickly trace a property boundary.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Get a better looking map

The quality and style of maps is becoming increasingly important to many firms. When presenting maps to a client it’s especially important that they look clean and professional. This is essential for creating the right impression and increasing ‘production value’.

For example, boundary maps used in catalogues and listings by estate agents must be accurate and clear. As well as being useful and attractive, they must also complement the overall design of the document or website.

The ‘FIND Map’/OS MasterMap with a carefully developed theme for ease of interpretation and enhanced presentation
Styling is especially important when using OS MasterMap because it is a vector (data) product that must be styled in order to convert it to rasters for creating prints and images. When hundreds of different map elements need to be individually styled this can be a time consuming process.

FIND has carefully styled OS MasterMap to highlight property-related elements such as building outlines and to remove superfluous line work and text. This produces maps that are easier to interpret and are therefore ideal for inclusion in reports and catalogues.

Find out more info on FIND Map/OS MasterMap

Monday, 9 December 2013

Seasons Greeting's from FIND Maps

We thought we would take the opportunity to celebrate the festive season by producing a Christmas themed map using just the tools available on our free site - sketchmap.co.uk


The above example uses a unique map background created with the 'Customise Map' feature. Usually the Google Map comes in its classic map legend, but we have changed the map colours to produce a Christmas styled map theme.

The wreath and the snow have been created using just two annotation tools: circles and lines. You can edit the above map and a have a go at producing your own version with this link.


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

FIND Maps now with enhanced map printing

We’ve been asking our users what improvements they’d like to see to FIND Maps. The top response was easier map printing. So we’ve responded, and introduced a couple of significant enhancements to printing.

Printing is important because it enables users to get map and accompanying annotations out of findmaps.co.uk and into a savable and sendable format (PDF or JPEG). The only other way to do this is to ‘export’ the map as data, but this requires high-end professional mapping software to open.

Our software engineers have now added additional map printing functionality to the site to make things faster and easier. The first change makes editing saved prints more straightforward. Now once you've saved a project the print area is clearly marked with a red border on the map screen.

Picture of the saved print frame on the findmaps.co.uk
The new saved print frame on the findmaps.co.uk map screen

This new feature makes previous print areas immediately apparent; making it easier to identify them and will help users to avoid paying again for duplicate prints. It will also make it easier for users to change text and annotation on the print if needed.

The second new feature adds four standard print defaults scales to all maps. This means you can save time by selecting from frequently used standard map scales when printing. For example, if you are printing ‘Street’ map, it can be printed at 1:10 000 scale by selecting this from the drop down menu.

While making these changes to printing we have also taken the time to reduce the cost of printing the ‘Town’ map (1:50 000). Printing is now £1 for the first Km² and just 6p for each subsequent Km².

We're continually enhancing FIND Maps and adding new data/reports. If you have any ideas about how we might improve the site please send your suggestions to: support@findmaps.co.uk

Monday, 22 July 2013

Streamlining Land Registry SIM searches

Are you paying for unnecessary maps to get your SIM? 

A Land Registry ‘search of the index map’ (SIM) allows you to discover all land titles as well as any unregistered land within or intersecting a search area. While this may sound simple, it can be a time consuming and costly process.

Who owns this land? Does anyone own it? A SIM can tell you.
CC Image courtesy of ComputerHotline on Flickr

If you’re not yet using FIND Maps for your SIM searches you’re likely to be buying a detailed and expensive map from one website and then submitting it to the Land Registry website.

At FIND Maps you can eliminate the need to buy an expensive map and order the SIM on just one website, saving you both time and money.

Ordering a SIM without the need to buy a map separately

Firstly, you don’t need to pay to view the map on screen because at FIND you can view up to 15 hectares of OS MasterMap free of charge. The OS MasterMap is the detailed OS map required for SIM searches.

Secondly, you don’t need to ‘print’ the map. To order your SIM via FIND you simply draw your search area on the map screen and then submit the search using an online form.

The benefits of ordering a SIM via the FIND website really do add up. As well as saving the cost of printing (around £20 each time), you also save yourself the hassle of using multiple websites to complete your search.

SIM searches are available from FIND Maps for £8 (excluding VAT)

Register and get a SIM
More detail on how to order a SIM via FIND Maps
SIM product page on FIND Maps

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Is Open Source right for your GIS data? It could save you a lot!

The economic climate is harsh and pressure to reduce expenditure and capital outlay means that difficult decisions must be made. At the same time organisations need to maintain quality and remain competitive.

 It’s therefore no surprise that difficult questions are being asked about IT costs.

Glasgow streets in QGIS.
CC Image courtesy of marcoflight on Flickr, Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA.
Commercial GIS software offers both advantages and disadvantages: 

• restrictive licensing
• bundled options (with add-ons for 3D Analyst etc)
• active vendor support/passive customer.

Open Source, by contrast, offers: 

• open licensing
• unbundled packages
• active customer/passive vendor support – which creates the need for system support provided either ‘in house’ or via a third party.

Open Source GIS is probably the most disruptive change within the GIS software sector in 25 years.

For companies contemplating whether Open Source GIS would deliver benefits, there are several key factors to consider:

• cost
• flexibility
• lack of vendor lock-in
• open data formats
• opportunity for customisation
• implementation time
• interaction with the development community.

To date, the GIS market has been dominated by large companies such as ESRI, CADCORP and MapInfo. Smaller consultancies have been hampered by the high price of GIS products and have therefore scaled down their GIS investment or limited their GIS implementation strategies. This has led to lack of competition and inefficiency.

Switching to Open Source GIS and web services offers considerable cost savings to large companies. These include reduced license fees, increased product flexibility and low cost intranet implementation. What Open Source GIS offers smaller consultancies is a low or zero cost entry point to GIS implementation.

This means that they will be able to compete with the larger companies, while their greater flexibility will allow them to develop and deliver specialist bespoke services to clients.

So what’s the current state of Open Source GIS and how does it fit with GIS usage?

Are you loving the benefits of Open Source?
CC Image courtesy of marcoflight on Flickr, Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA.
For many years people used Open Source GIS in the form of packages such as Grass. These packages were often highly specialised and the interfaces were far from ‘user friendly’. The market has moved on considerably.

At FIND Maps we use QGIS as well as ArcGIS, CadCorp and MapInfo. Many independent studies have ranked the core functionality of QGIS above other commercial packages and it’s our clear favourite. The package is totally license free and consistent with ArcGIS in terms of its ability to both manipulate and perform spatial data analysis, and interface with geodatabases. QGIS is simple to understand and it comes with a range of plugins that expand its efficacy.

We've recently implemented the Globe plugin which gives 3D capability. This allows detailed analysis of custom DEM data. In addition, QGIS can interface with Open Source 3D modelling packages such as Blender to perform complex visualisations and scenario testing, or with Marxan’s QGIS version of its habitat modelling tool.

Any organisation considering a move to the Open Source GIS environment will want to know the level of support being offered. FIND Mapping has extensive expertise in QGIS and other Open Source technologies and offers a subscription support service.

FIND also offers training to ensure that clients gain maximum benefit from their investment. The ‘First Look’ afternoon seminar provides an overview of the software and costs just £45 per head. If a deeper insight is required or we identify a need for more specific and detailed training, we can offer a one day seminar at a cost of £100 per head. The seminars are held just a few minutes from Waterloo Station in central London. Effective training is often a relatively small investment that has the potential to deliver huge savings.

Please contact support@findmaps.co.uk if you are interested in any of the above training.