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Surveyors capture Scottish Parliament

Scotland’s new Parliament building now features proudly on the nation’s most detailed maps – even though it has not yet been officially opened. Surveyors from national mapping agency Ordnance Survey have used their high-tech measuring equipment to ensure the complex shape of the finished Holyrood building could be set out in fine detail in the most sophisticated computer mapping of the nation – OS MasterMap.

Surveyors used state-of-the-art theodolite ‘total stations’ with lasers to measure exact distances, coupled with hand-held pen computers on which the fine details of the building’s shape were recorded. They also locked on to signals from a network of space satellites in the GPS to ensure the building has been precisely mapped out in relationship to neighbouring developments. This level of detail is far greater than people expect to find on a tourist or motoring map, but is absolutely essential for many businesses and public services which need extremely detailed mapping of the whole country on a day-to-day basis.

Across Britain, 5,000 updates are made every day to OS MasterMap, from small property extensions to major prestigious new buildings like the new Scottish Parliament. The results of the latest survey work can be made available to commercial customers very quickly indeed – sometimes as soon as the next day. Such detailed mapping is used by organisations such as fire services to pinpoint the scenes of emergencies; solicitors dealing with the buying and selling and property; mobile phone companies to provide the public with location-finding services; and utility companies to track the routes of pipelines and cables.