Ordnance Survey, the national mapping service for Great Britain, has increased its workforce by 25% with 271 new permanent and fixed term contract hires joining in the last year (April 2020 to April 2021).

While many companies paused their recruitment process, or faced re-organisation and redundancies, OS recruited a record number of employees to fill hundreds of new roles across all areas of the organisation.

The recruitment drive reinforces OS’s ambitious strategy to demonstrate the valuable role high-quality location data can play in driving efficiencies and making critical government and business decisions.

The last year has seen OS deliver the first year of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement which started in April 2020. Through the agreement, a new data hub has launched providing easier access to accurate location data for the public and private sectors.

The PSGA is one example of where the company is delivering value to its many customers, other highlights include the growth in the consumer area helping more people get outside during the last year. OS data and expertise also supports thousands of businesses and start-ups, including utility companies, transport providers and drone delivery firms to name a few. Outside of Great Britain, OS has been supporting other nations with the better use of geospatial and in realising the benefits which location data can deliver.

For over two centuries, OS has been helping to solve problems with location data and looking at future growth, we have an ambitious strategy with a focus on helping customers to see a better place. Developing at pace, innovating and being tech leaders is critical and the last year has seen new hires including Data Scientists to Cyber Security specialists, Solutions Architects to innovation leads, eight new graduates and the first Head of Mobile Gaming. There has also been plenty of new opportunities for progression and development with 71 internal promotions and lateral moves made in the last year.

Hazel Hendley, People Director said; “We have ambitious plans to grow our commercial business and hiring new talent will enhance the expertise and critical skills we need to deliver our strategy.

“With new ways of working born out of the pandemic, we have recruited not just in the local area to our Southampton-based headquarters, but further afield which supports the government’s levelling up agenda.

“Over the next three years, we will continue to invest in core technology, data, and learning and development to better serve our customers for the long term, while creating a more sustainable way of working for both existing and new employees.”

Business South Group CEO, Leigh-Sara Timberlake, said; “As a major employer in the Central South, OS has been truly inspirational during the pandemic. While they could have chosen to apply the brake once the pandemic took hold, they have instead persevered, adapted their processes and been happy to share their experiences with other employers in the region.”

How customers are using location data

The pandemic highlighted the value of accurate location data in response to Covid-19, with OS data being used by the NHS for vaccination programmes, emergency services and local authorities.

OS have also supported over 300 customers across Great Britain in their response to Covid-19, for example in the telecoms industry when home working became the norm, and with it, the requirement for faster and more reliable fibre broadband.

Location data has also been used by local authorities in the future planning of electric vehicle charging points across the country as part of the shift towards achieving net zero, and for drone deliveries, which was accelerated when there was an urgent need for essential PPE and health equipment to medical centres and remote areas.

During the lockdown there was a surge in OS Maps subscribers with an 80% growth, and even greater importance placed on OS’s GetOutside initiative to support the nation to get outside safely during lockdown. With a new Head of Gaming, a newly created position, the brand will also be launching their first Geo-location game in early 2022, to bridge the gap between maps and location-based play.

With location data and innovation part of the brand’s DNA for 230 years, OS are shaping global geospatial standards to advance the better use of geospatial in every country. Using our expertise, we have assisted the Dubai Municipality in developing its geospatial capability to become the smartest city in the world, and more recently in Zambia using artificial intelligence for faster base map creation in response to rapid urbanisation.

2020 was a critical year for geospatial innovation, particularly in the UK. The PSGA not only provided a tremendous boost to geospatial innovation, but in many cases the pandemic sped-up the adoption of new technologies and new ways of working. As evident with Geovation, Ordnance Survey’s geospatial start-up incubator, with several of the start-ups in the latest cohort programme founded during the pandemic.