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back to article Inside the Ordnance Survey's new HQ for the digital era

In the past year, the Ordnance Survey organisation has survived a huge government cull of quangos, the prospect of ugly public sector cutbacks and a big shake-up of its licensing model. But the UK mapping service now arguably faces its biggest challenge yet: A move to a new office that, for many of its workers, is already …

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My Wife Worked at the OS...

...a few years back. I can easily imagine the amount of moaning this move has generated by the employees - enough, perhaps, to power a small town for a long time. The biggest gripe at the time my wife was there was about getting more money to travel further to work, especially as at the time a site midway between Southampton and Portsmouth was being considered. This really annoyed my wife as she had to do a hellish commute along the M27 everyday, and didn't get paid extra for it.

Sometimes, one wonders if people in the public sector have any idea what real work actually is.

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WTF?

Trouble and strife

I'm assuming she took the job on knowing the location, and knowing she'd have to do a hellish commute along the M27 everyday? She took the job, that was her choice.

When your job gets moved from under your feet, that's not your choice, so you have a right to complain if it unduly affects you.

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Anonymous Coward

directors

Seems the directors are struggling the most, not wanting to sit with the "common man" open plan style, they have booked the meeting rooms with the best views and camp there all day...

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Yawn

"Sometimes, one wonders if people in the public sector have any idea what real work actually is."

Oh, does one? Typical private sector bleating about the public sector based on no real clue as to what working in the public sector is really like.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Yawn

You took the words right out of my mouth Bilgepipe.

Gone are the days where we could actually spend money to do our jobs properly; can't even sneeze without treasury approval nowadays let alone get any training or new hardware/software.

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Anonymous Coward

Uncivil service

Yeah, the public sector is hell, when I worked in the public sector some days I even had to work in the afternoons and only got a tea break when I wanted one..

Want to come do my job in the private sector?

No, thought not...

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Nevetheless...

I've worked in the private and public sectors and, regardless (or perhaps because) of the treasury crap and all that stuff, public sector work always seems to be filled with paradoxically work-shy paper pushers and seat warmers. I'm sure some people do a lot of work, it's just that they're carrying so many more people who are there just to fill the rolls. The only place you get that sort of behaviour in the private sector is in huge conglomorates that are closely tied to various governments and favoured for contract work. Crapita, for instance. Anyone doing any actual work finds that they have to actually work or they get fired. Unless they're management, then they get promoted and go to work for the government.

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Unhappy

GPWM

I didn't start to waste taxpayer's money properly until my job was privatised. I've never stopped since.

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RE:Nevetheless..

So have I, and I must say working in the private sector is allot less stressful because I get training, support from my boss, proper staffing and a feeling that my job security is dependent on how well I do it rather than what some MP thinks is needed this week.

The seat fillers and waste of space people I have found in the public sector are normally people who have just given up trying to chase constantly shifting goal posts and have been broken by lack of recognition for a good job and being treated like slaves by the public.

To many people though work for rubbish private companys, who treat there workers like slaves, expecting them to work far to long, and have far to much work, and these people so often feel that the public sector has it easy when they get a proper working week, basic holiday entitlement without being guilted in to not takeing them and a living pension.

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Anonymous Coward

Upset at relocation?

Blimey, if I got chance to move from our shithole 70's building to a swanky new one, I'd be there queing to get my spot!

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Anonymous Coward

I would not be so sure.

The new building pic inside looks spot on like BT Brentwood. I would not be so sure to "want to move there". Baaaaaaaaad juju...

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Alert

Ratio rationale

1000 staff, 500 servers. Interesting...

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Re: Ratio rationale

500 servers doesn't sound ridiculous. This isn't a typical little office where people just use their computers to send round a few emails, type out a couple of Word docs or browse Facebook. The Ordnance Survey's sole asset is data -- vast amounts of it. And it's all got to live somewhere.

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That is actually quite an achievement

I am surprised it is not more. GIS eats CPU and disk like there is no tomorrow.

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Fret not.

As someone who was involved with the physical move, I can report that there is a *lot* of storage...

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Anonymous Coward

Nice new building

next step full piratisation?

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WTF?

yo ho ho

and a bottle of rum.......???

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Joke

Re: yo ho ho

They have to really. A shiny new glass building like that is bound to attract the attentions of the Crimson Permanent Assurance.

Best to fight fire with fire.

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Anonymous Coward

Correction

"The organisation began sharing some of its Gloucester-based data centre with the Land Registry in October 2009."

This is incorrect, it should read

"The Land Registry began sharing some of its Gloucester-based data centre with the OS in October 2009."

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Joke

A new big Ordnance Survey maps building

Thats a big building, so I was expecting to find more direction sign posts and places of special interest markers in it. :)

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Joke

Learn to read an OS map and use a compass!

... ho needs signs?

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OS rocks!

I've spent many hours and used many an OS map for getting around the various parts of the UK on foot. Quite simply some of the best maps in the world and they do an awesome job of producing highly accurate, relevant information. They deserve to have a decent building to work in at last.

(I was going to say that I spent many happy hours, but when you are soaked through, covered in shit, and freezing cold, it's a bit hard to describe that condition as "happy")

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Surprising,...

not one buzz-word, corporate slogan nor vendor catchphrase in the entire text. The headshed even sound pragmatic at times. Sounds like OS would be a fun place to work as a tech!

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Re: Surprising,...

All done on time and on budget along with that too. Both of these aspects are such rare occurances that you have to suspect a connection.

Maybe getting your stakeholders involved in leveraging those paradigms to provide a 360-degree solution is what really pisses the money and time up the wall folks!

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On time? To Budget? No news there, move on...

Not newsworthy then. The news sharks are only interested in public sector IT failures (private sector ones just get buried and we pay higher prices). It doesn't suit their agenda to publicise anything that runs counter to their world view.

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Pint

Wow

I can imagine their BOFHs are spinning with glee. A new building, network and server room to kit out and y'know, some of that new fangled air con for the boxes!

The OS deserves a new home. IT's one of the best map makers out there and every girl guide and her compass thanks them I'm sure.

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ok, but whts with the surprise?

The OS survives quango cuts for a reason; its actually does a job, ok, so the boffinry there is of the "keep your heads down and hope-to-out-last-the-cuts" cariety, but nevertheless; they actually do something, they arent just a report-mill for some branch of the CS. Its a little depressing that their new HQ was designed around the concept of enduring cuts and subletting stuff, but thats a model that should be extended to all branches of government, and I applaud their resourcefulness and honesty.

I for one wish them the very best of luck, and wish that all governmenty offices had the same practical ROI approach to doing work.

nice clear, down-to-earth article, too. ++ work, will read again.

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@AC, "Ratio rationale"

What do you think the ratios are for Google, then? Or Weta Digital? If it needs the servers, it needs the servers.

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