Thursday, 21 December 2017

Phenomenal Fudge by our very own Mrs Christmas

As a Christmas Treat, the lovely Pamela here at F!nd has very kindly given us all a lesson on the wonder that is her beautiful homemade fudge! Followed correctly, the below recipe should be bombproof, and provide you with festive fudge for the holidays...


115g salted butter

1 tin condensed milk

1 large tub clotted cream (Rhoda is my brand of choice)

450g demerara sugar (Billingtons has the best flavour)

1 tsp vanilla paste


Put a jug of cold water in the fridge.

Line a small toffee tin and butter the paper

Select a reasonably big pan (for this volume I use one that’s c20cm wide and c10cm deep)

Use a wooden spoon (that’s important)


Over a low heat melt the butter and then add the cream, condensed milk and sugar. Gradually bring the mixture to the boil.

Increase the heat a little to achieve a relatively vigorous boil and continue to cook until the mixture thickens and darkens (this usually takes c15-20 minutes). Test for soft toffee stage by trickling some fudge off the wooden spoon into the jug of cold water. After a couple of seconds lift it out with a metal spoon, roll it into a ball and place it on a plate/work surface. When the ball is firm enough to hold its shape, but will squash down a bit when you press it, take the pan off the heat.

NB: If you need to test a few times do it quickly and get back to stirring.

Continue to stir as the fudge thickens and cools. You don’t need to beat the mixture…just keep it moving. To save my arms and let gravity do some of the work I sit down and put the pot on a wooden board on the floor during this stage. This has the added benefit of getting me away from the heat of the cooker!

When the mixture holds a trail stir in the vanilla paste.

Pour into your tin and leave to cool. It's really is as simple as that ;o)


For salted caramel: use a tin of caramel condensed milk and sprinkle with sea salt when nearly cold.

For chocolate: once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat and add a 100g bar of quality dark chocolate. Leave to melt. Don’t do this with the pan on the heat as the chocolate may burn. I find that 85% chocolate gives the best result. You will need to scrutinize the label and note how many grams of fat the chocolate contains. This figure should be deducted from the 115g of butter in the recipe…it’s usually about 40g.  Don’t be tempted to use the chocolate flavour condensed milk. I’ve tried and it tastes awful.

For rum & raisin: soak sultanas (much nicer than raisins) in rum, drain off excess rum and add with the vanilla.

For cherry brandy: soak dried cherries in brandy.


Happy fudging!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well what a week of ice, snow and frost that was. The canal has been frozen solid meaning Clutie and I had to remain put. It was however, great fun feeding the ducks on frozen water! 

Transition from northern canals to southern canals. Had to go through the Hawkesbury toll gate, a lock only 6 inches deep, but in olden times essential to ensure people paid the tolls!

It may be beginning to look a lot like Christmas outside but thankfully, inside, Clutie is always warm! 

Monday, 11 December 2017

Clutie the Ice Queen

This week started with some bad news... an accident on a lock ahead meant the path ahead was closed until further notice! Thank goodness for woollies, temperatures definitely dropping.

After spending my spare time gathering more wood for the incoming cold snap the lock was finally reopened. I was first boat out of the mooring at 8.00am. It all seemed extremely quiet on the water, I was busy wondering why no one else was keen to leave on a very crisp,bright and sunny morning... I soon discovered why! Large sections of the canal had frozen over in the last few days and Clutie was now an Icebreaker. Cracking through ice up to an inch thick in places.  A bit unnerving as you hear the ice cracking under the hull and shaking the tiller. I had visions of my fellow boaters sitting, drinking hot chocolate and chuckling at my bone headedness. I was determined however, to get underway and try and make up for the lost time. The ice had different ideas and lasted all day and by the end of the day I had made just a few miles with constant back up and revving forward to break ice...  Diesel engines like steady speed, having to constantly accelerate to break the ice meant the engine was feeling a tad tired, as was I at this stage! 

Friday I spent much of the day navigating a few frozen locks and canal sections, brrr! A few of these hours were spent going through an army live fire range! Bit unnerving when you hear gunfire close by! Real shame because they have tonnes of cut timber by the bank!

Half way through the next day, black smoke started coming out of the exhaust and there was a distinct lack of power on the pulled over to investigate. On review I immediately saw the issue, the belt holding the air filter on had shaken loose, and presumably been crunched. Think the shaking from the ice-breaking must have shaken it loose. When I worked Seismic in the oil and gas industry on jungle jobs, we always said you could fix anything with three simple products....duct tape, string and bamboo....Fortunately for this I only needed duct tape and string....bamboo being in short supply in the north of England! We were however kept entertained by a Goshawk who swept low over Clutie and me while the repairs took place.

Finally arrived at the weekend destination where we would spend a couple of days laid up having a well earned couple of pub roasts (maybe a pint or two)  and interesting chats with the locals.

Heading south again now... Hope they open locks as promised by tomorrow...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Finding Clutie and setting off on our Adventure...

After looking in the London area and taking advise, I was told go north for best value quality boats. So that's what I did.  
I ended up just outside Chester, stopping at various brokerages along the way and checking out several boats. In the end I decided on Clutie Dumpling. 

I then spent the next three days getting essentials shipped up from London....winter woollies etc..Fitting her out for the, axes,saws, spare parts,engine lubricants etc and carrying out some pre-journey engine maintenance.

So I was ready to leave Nantwich on the Adventure of a lifetime and left on a very cold foggy morning. 

The quickest route was down the Shropshire canal to Birmingham but due to scheduled maintenance by the Canal and River Trust, some sections were shut! I was forced to backtrack North up the Middlewich Branch and then down onto the Trent Mersey Canal.

After a few days of sailing, I have found the main highlight of my journey so far has been the people I've met. You could not hope to meet a friendlier, more helpful and interesting group of people than those who live year round on the canals. So far I've met with accountants, lawyers, ex military, a hugely diverse assortment!  Everyone has their own expertise and is happy to share. Naturally once people hear of my background, I become the local geography, mapping and technology Guru....sometimes unfounded...

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Adventures of Jon and Clutie Dumpling

Clutie Dumpling, for those in the know, is a Scottish suet and fruit dessert but more excitingly than that, is also a Liverpool Boats 1998 42 ft Canal boat. 

Jonathan Churchill-Coleman, Business Development Consultant at F!nd, has set out on an adventure to bring his beloved Clutie Dumpling all the way from Nantwich, Cheshire back home to Uxbridge, Nr London. 

A journey estimated to take 3-4 weeks, however as a solo sailor and during the winter months, the journey is likely to take much longer.

Follow his adventures, highs and lows and incredible pictures, here on the blog.

Monday, 27 November 2017

New Starter @ F!nd

We interviewed new starter, Jonathan Collin to F!nd out more about his role and previous experience within the industry...

Name and Job title:
Jonathan Collin – Junior GIS Consultant

What will you be doing at F!nd?
As a Junior GIS Consultant, I will be involved in a diverse range of tasks at F!nd Mapping including map creation, data loading and exporting; and supporting existing F!nd products and services. I will also work alongside parent/sister companies (GIA and VU CITY) to provide support and work on internal GIS and database projects. 

What is your previous experience in the industry?
My love for GIS and interest in spatial data immerged through my time studying BSc Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

Previous employment as an Environmental Field Team Technician did touch upon the GIS and mapping industry, with the use of cartographic skills to produce detailed drainage plans for clients such as DB Schenker, however this did not fulfil the GIS career I had hoped for.

I have recently completed a MSc GIS course at the University of Edinburgh and will be graduating next week! Such a challenging course has prepared me for the rapidly evolving GIS industry. I also won this year’s MSc Geographical Information Science Cluster Best GIS Webpage prize 2017. This was for producing the best webpage that presents my dissertation regarding Regional Scale Volcanic Hazard Mapping in Guatemala. The following link allows access to this:

What do you enjoy doing when not at work? 
Working as a chef for over 3 years has meant a great passion for food and now means I actively enjoy cooking new dishes for friends and family. My love for Italian cuisine has lead me to visit the country over 10 times and has inspired me to begin learning the language. I studied Foundation Italian at university and now spend time expanding my vocabulary, in order to become a fluent speaker.

I have recently moved to London and am ready to explore the food, music and culture this diverse city has to offer. I am also a keen tennis player and plan to join a club here in London.

Welcome to the team Jonathan, it's great to have you on board.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

DWG OS Mastermap Black & White styling

It’s been a few months since we released our enhanced DWG styling and feedback has been encouraging.  However, some users prefer to work with a black and white map.

Reverting to the old styling is extremely easy and we highlight 2 ways below: 

Fig 1. DWG file containing Ordnance Survey Mastermap loaded within AutoCAD. 

1. Deleting the MPolygons

In this option, the MPolygons will be deleted from the drawing.  This will only leave the line work.

  • Open your map (see Fig 1).
  • Select the MPolygons within the drawing. - Type 'Q Select'. (this displays the Quick Select dialog box. See fig.2)
  • Select 'MPolygons' from the Object Type and 'ByLayer' for the Value. 
  • Select OK (the MPolygons in the drawing will now be selected).
  • Press Delete (this deletes the MPolygons leaving just the line work).

Fig 2. Selecting MPolygons using Quick Select.

2. Switch off the display of Hatching / MPolygons within AutoCAD.

If you don’t need hatching/MPolygons for your day-to-day work then you might prefer to configure AutoCAD not to display them.

  • In the command window type Fill
  • Enter
  • Type off
  • Enter
You may need to regenerate the view to display these changes.

Fig 3. The resulting DWG without MPolygons.

Please note that this will turn off the hatching/MPolygons for all drawings.  Should you require them you’ll need to turn them on again.

If you have any questions or comments please contact us on or call 0845 521 1410.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

New Ordnance Survey Mastermap DWG data exports arriving 10th July 2017.

It's been in the pipeline for a while, but from 10th July 2017 we'll be launching a new OS MasterMap DWG data export service. Our new and improved DWG file is packed with more information, more layers and greatly enhanced styling.

New OS Mastermap DWG file opened in DWG Trueview.

The changes we've made include:
  • Splitting data features into separate layers (where possible) to enable you to easily distinguish between lines and areas.
  • Optimised for 2D and 3D viewing.
  • Defaulting drawing units to metres to make measuring more straightforward.
  • Using the building height attributes provided by OS we can also convert files into 3D models more easily (see previous post).
To check out this new data structure just download a sample..

If you have any questions please get in touch. Our support team is always happy to help.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Making use of building height attributes from Ordnance Survey Mastermap Topographical layer

In a previous post we mentioned changes to our DWG exports from the FIND system and one of the exciting things is the inclusion of the building height attributes as x-data.  With a coverage of more than 10,000 sq km of urban area's you will be able to create your own simple 3D visualisation models.

As part of the building height attribute you now receive the AbsHMin, AbsH2 and AbsHMax which defines the absolute height of the property at various positions.

Height values included in the OS Mastermap Topography Layer.
Image obtained from OS MasterMap Topography Layer User Guide

To learn more about the building height attributes included as part of the OS Mastermap Topograpy Layer please visit the Ordnance Survey website.

Here is an example of what you can do with this height information within AutoCAD.

For more information about how these models were created or if you require a more sophisticated model, please do send us an email on or give us a call on 0845 5211410.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

DWG / DXF changes coming soon

As part of our continuous improvement program we are looking to improve the data exports that are available through the FIND website.

The first data export format we are looking at is DWG and DXF for OS Mastermap exports and we are looking to implement the following changes:

  • Hatched styling for area's
  • Improved layer management
  • Additional attribute information including the new building height attributes.
  • Unit measurements to be in metric. 
Ordnance Survey Mastermap Topographical layer exported from FIND and displayed in DWG Trueview 2017.

We are always interested to hear from our users, so if you have any improvement suggestions please email your comments to