Thursday, 29 July 2010

Boris' new protected views for central London

As holders of the only central view database in the UK, we allways keep up-to-date with protected view news. Boris Johnson has today published new guidance aimed at increasing the protection of London’s historic views.

Above, example of a protected vista mapped to property-level detail

In the London Views Management Framework the Mayor of London has introduced two new protected views between St Paul’s Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster.

The new protected vistas add to the 11 existing protected views in the area, are from the Serpentine Bridge and from Parliament Hill to the Palace of Westminster. The framework also strengthens the protections of views to St Paul’s and the guidance says that “developers and planners must carefully consider the height of new buildings that are built within these corridors”.

Johnson said: “High quality, well-designed and thoughtfully located new buildings add to the enjoyment of our city and can help London’s economy grow and prosper. I am confident it provides greater certainty for developers on how new buildings can enhance, rather than detract from, some of London’s favourite townscapes and views of the magnificent River Thames and will help deliver a smoother development process.”

Rest assured, we at FIND will be updating our protected view report, produced from the only central view database in the UK, as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Free London building height map for two weeks only

We are offering our new London building height map layer as free to view for the first two weeks of August. So right now is a great opportunity to trial the UK's most accurate building height map at no cost.

For those who don't know, the map allows you to see at a glance the average and maximum height of any London building, its area and volume, complete with the estimated number of residential and commercial floors. The map is ideal for viewing your site within the context of its surrounds, submitting height values with your planning applications, and getting a feel for the building canopy of an area

Above image: FIND's London Building Height Map (building heights in meters are overlaid over property footprints, with darker orange representing higher buildings)

All you need to do to take advantage of this offer is logon to FIND during the offer period, between the 1st and 14th of August 2010, and simply view the height map.

Read more about London Building Height Map layer
Download product overview (PDF)
Read about London Building Height map's accuracy

Thursday, 15 July 2010

New 'garden grab' regulation creates headache for planners and developers

New regulations to curb 'Garden Grabbing' have created a real headache for planners and developers. The changes include redefining brownfield land to exclude gardens and abolishing minimum housing density targets.

Why is this such a headache? Well it will be easier for councils to resist applications from developers to build in back gardens. This will hurt the developers who often use this kind of land for their developments, forcing them to look even harder for suitable alternatives. In order to capitalise on a reduced number of sites, planners and developers are forced to rely more and more on desktop site analysis to determine suitability, project costs and highlight potential issues.

Here at FIND, we offer a wide selection of tools and information to aid site analysis for planning and development professionals, from planning constraint mapping, Ordnance Survey mapping, aerial photography and our new Land Registry service. We aim to help planners and developers take the initiative and maximise the potential of the sites they do have access to, while avoiding costly issues like searching for information and the need for site visits, secure in the knowledge that our data is regularly updated, instantly accessible and easily shared with colleagues.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Video guide to protected views for surveyors

FIND have helped produce a video to guide surveyors through the little known and often confusing protected view planning constraint. It also includes an overview of FIND's exclusive protected view report produced from the only central view database in the UK.

Watch the below videos to learn about protected views and FIND’s unique UK wide protected view report. FIND’s Director, Mariam Crichton, talks through the need-to-know information about the report, and Partner at GIA and leading Rights of Light specialist, Michael Harper, gives his expert opinion on the importance of dealing with this complex planning constraint effectively.

View more information on FIND’s Protected Views Report
View more information on FIND’s Protected Views hazard map
Read the RICS article on protected views
Sign up to view full video at Surveyors' Channel

Friday, 9 July 2010

NLA Festival - Tales of the City: Tagging Shoreditch and Beyond

At the recent London Festival of Architecture we discovered a fantastic use of a location based service: Tales of the City inviting local people to add their voices to London's architecture.
Via the project it captures people’s memories of objects and has been playing them back via small readable and writeable QR codes and RFID tags. Tales of the City extends the concept into the urban realm with the architecture of the city able to replay memories of its history.
The project will enable participants to add their own tales to buildings and view stories that other people have left. The project has been tagging architecture since its launch in April 2010, most notably Broadcasting House in Portland Place and a wall in Chalk Farm which when scanned replays how the wall used to look with a Banksy Stencil in place. Tales of the City starts off with a pre-placed tag at the historic heart of Shoreditch, St Leonard's Church. From there you will be able to spot tags (QR codes) on Shoreditch High Street which you can add your own stories to, contributing to the growing network of tagged architecture. This will enable people to form a personalised tour of London’s contemporary history through architecture. If you have an iPhone or an Android handset be sure to download our free app - talesofthings to enable you to leave comments on the QR codes, or create your own codes to put on your favourite buildings.

For a full list of all locations that have been tagged (including a tattoo parlour, hairdresser, bars, gardens,
shops) visit

See how FIND can map your business information

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

FIND's 29 free maps and datasets expanded by more maps from Ordnance Survey

Did you know FIND houses one of the largest free map and data libraries in the UK?

Our new release expands this with two new products released as a result of Ordnance Survey's OpenData initiative; Landform Panorama, a broad brush terrain model of the UK, and Street View, a 1:10000 scale map.

Street View can be viewed, printed and exported completely for free. Landform Panorama is also free to export and has even been made uniquely available as a hill-shade map layer. There are no 'express service' charges; with FIND remaining committed to providing free data that really is free.

Let us know what you will do with all this free map and data. See below for the massive list of 31 free maps and datasets currently available on FIND, from data providers including Ordnance Survey, Natural England, English Heritage, Scottish Heritage, Getmapping, Scottish Government, Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB and many more:

Free base maps

Free heritage data

Free environmental data

Free Geology and Mining data

Free height data

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

New Ordnance Survey land and property publication

The Ordnance Survey has just released a new publication called ‘Intelligence for the land and property market’. The publication features leading individuals in the sector talking about the key matters concerning the industry and the impact of location.

The current issue includes articles by Francis Salway, chief executive of Land Securities; Adrian Dobson, director of practice at RIBA; Jamie Talmage, retail analyst at BDO LLP; and Patrick Law, director of corporate affairs at Barratt.

With nearly £100 billion worth of economic activity in Britain dependent upon OS data we think its great that the OS is further engaging with the land and property sector. With the current issue has some high profile players giving their views on the importance of location based intelligence, we look forward to upcoming issues.

To obtain the latest issue email stating whether you would prefer printed or electronic format.

Link to current online version of the Land and Property quarterly magazine:

View Ordnance Survey maps available on FIND 
View property and planing intelligence data on FIND

Monday, 5 July 2010

FIND always updates without you having to lift a finger

Our users frequently tell us FIND is a joy to use because it features none of the unnecessary complications experienced on other mapping sites. Why? Well FIND doesn't use Active X, and is a completely Flash based web mapping system.
Flash is a nifty programme that's automatically installed in over 95% of web browsers, and makes many powerful sites like the BBC and YouTube run seamlessly. This means you can enjoy all of FIND updates and new releases without having to lift a finger. Using FIND allows you to avoid involving your IT Department, saving you and them valuable time that would have otherwise been wasted on software maintenance. IT managers tell us Flash based software like FIND is a joy to work with because it frees them up for more important tasks by reducing time spent dealing with high maintenance software like ActiveX.

Active X, found on many old style mapping websites, has many pitfalls; requiring frequent updates that need separate downloads as well as restrictions on the type web browser and PC you can use. Further hassles include needing special ‘Administrator’ privileges to install Active X, and this must be done on every single computer in your network by your IT team. This makes it very cumbersome, slow and high maintenance to use. Flash avoids all of this.

Nearly 10% of FIND users are also Mac users. As a Microsoft product, ActiveX was specifically designed to work with Windows systems, not Mac OS X or GNU/Linux. FIND’s Flash based software has no such issues and works cross platform. We are a Mac users dream mapping site.

FIND remains committed to being easy to use. Tell us your compatibility issues.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Magnificent Maps at the British Library

We want to focus your attention on something that is not only close to our hearts, but a truly fascinating and informative experience (even for the layman). The British Library's 'Magnificent Maps' exhibition,
looks at how maps have been used throughout history as propaganda, art forms and expressions of
Above, Psalter World Map : Westminster, c.1265, Manuscript on vellum

Fancy your own wonderful wall map using the most up-to-date and detailed Ordnance Survey
mapping? FIND can provide large customised wall maps that look impressive when displayed in any
British Library's 'Magnificent Maps' exhibition website