Britain demands electric power

 

A just-for-fun edit for Sheffield Doc/Fest mashing up archive clips from ITN Source.

Charts changing attitudes to electrical power and energy using footage from early 20th century to the present day. Continue reading

On Aldeburgh Beach

I went down to the beach one morning to watch the sunrise and found the fishermen landing their catch, so stopped to watch and then bought some fish for dinner. Delicious!

Continue reading

UK Data Service: Solving business problems with environmental data

A short film highlighting data sets available from the UK Data Service that could be used to develop new solutions to environmental business problems.

“We’ve understood that it’s really important that social and economic data is used in order to enhance environmental research.” – Matthew Woollard, Director, UK Data Service

The Technology Strategy Board and NERC have invested £4m during 2014 to run feasibility studies which use environmental data to address a specific business issue in transport, food, agriculture, energy generation and supply, built environment and future cities or financial services.

The UK Data Service is mandated to collect the highest quality data for economic and social research and make these available for re-use.

The UK Data Service is mandated to collect the highest quality data for economic and social research and make these available for re-use.

Transcript

Matthew Woollard, Director, UK Data Service

The UK Data Service is the repository for UK social and economic data. It’s a collaboration between the universities of Essex, Manchester and Southampton, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The UK Data Service holds over 6000 data collections. What we’re mandated to do by the ESRC is to go to government departments and collect the best, the richest, the highest quality data for research and make these available for re-use.

We’ve been working with the UK environmental observation framework which has understood that it’s really important that social and economic data is used in order to enhance environmental research.

University of Essex, home of the UK Data Service for economic and social data.

University of Essex, home of the UK Data Service for economic and social data.

Three key examples of microdata that we hold that are going to be of value to environmental research are the census which is conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the National Travel Survey, and the Labour Force Survey which is conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions.

We also provide access to the International Energy Authority statistics which give key environmental indicators across the world.

Understanding Society is the largest survey funded by the ESRC. It asks questions of 40,000 householders and its a longitudinal survey which means the same individuals are returned to year on year.

Data about social and economic inequalities highlights access to public transport, to green space, to shops and to other services.

Data about social and economic inequalities highlights access to public transport, to green space, to shops and to other services.

Recent research carried out has helped government, that’s national and local government, plan their transport facilities.

The UK Data Service also holds a large collection of data from the Rural Economy and Land Use programme. These data are very good examples of showing the linkage of data from different sources, and they show the relationship between people and the environment.

One of the more widely used studies in this collection is on social and economic inequalities in England. The inequalities highlighted included access to public transport, to green space, to shops and to other services.

Data about social and economic inequalities highlights access to public transport, to green space, to shops and to other services.

Data about social and economic inequalities highlights access to public transport, to green space, to shops and to other services.

Many of the data we collect have restricted geographical information. Geography has sometimes been removed to protect the confidentiality of the individuals who have been surveyed.

The UK Data Service is very keen to work with data owners to open up data to users who haven’t traditionally been allowed access to these data and that includes business.

The portal to all of our services is our website. You can find it at http://ukdataservice.ac.uk.

Social and economic data is online permanently to use in environmental applications.

Social and economic data is online permanently to use in environmental applications.

About the film

Filmed on location at University of Essex, Colchester.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editor: Liam Angell
Cast: Matthew Woollard

Client: ESKTN
Production company: insitu

Further reading

Social and environmental data from the UK Data Service can be used by business.

Social and environmental data from the UK Data Service can be used by business.

 

Ordnance Survey: Solving business problems with environmental data

A short film highlighting environmental data sets available from Ordnance Survey that could be used to develop new solutions to business problems.

“Ordnance Survey is incredibly excited about further uses of our data, how it’s mashed up with other data and what that may lead to.” – Chris Parker

The Technology Strategy Board and NERC have invested £4m during 2014 to run feasibility studies which use environmental data to address a specific business issue in transport, food, agriculture, energy generation and supply, built environment and future cities or financial services.

OS OpenSpace is a platform which allows developers to put Ordnance Survey data onto websites and to develop applications.

OS OpenSpace is a platform which allows developers to put Ordnance Survey data onto websites and to develop applications.

Transcript

Chris Parker, Head, GeoVation Programme, Products and Innovation, Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping authority providing the most accurate up-to-date geographic data which is relied upon by business, government and individuals.

You may recognise us from our pink and orange paper walking maps, but most of our data is digital.

Ordnance Survey data is used throughout government and business, in banking finance and insurance in land and property, by utilities, by transport companies, by telecoms companies. It’s very widely used across the country.

We have Ordnance Survey’s Open Data, a portfolio of about 11 data sets which includes height data, addressing data, gazetteer data – data about places – road and rail networks, at various scales.

Pink and orange walking maps are a familiar use of Ordnance Survey data.

Pink and orange walking maps are a familiar use of Ordnance Survey data.

And then we have our more detailed data, our Ordnance Survey MasterMap database, which consists of a number of layers including integrated transport layers, a water network layer, site specific information, buildings, houses, a topography layer, and a digital aerial photography layer as well.

With both our open data sets and our more detailed data sets, we cover the whole of Great Britain.

We provide a platform which allows developers to put our data onto websites and to develop applications. Its called OS OpenSpace. You can also access our data through downloads and DVDs as well.

For our more detailed data, we have three innovation licences. If you want to sample the data, then sign up for our free-to-use Discover licence. If you want to evaluate it and play with it and get more familiar with it, then sign up to our Evaluation licence. If you’re a developer and you want to build applications and test those on your customers, then sign up to our Developer licences. All these are free licences. The Developer licence will allow you to have access for 3-12 months.

Ordnance Survey is incredibly excited about potential further uses of our data, how it’s used with others, how it’s mashed up with other data and what that may lead to.

The Ordnance Survey MasterMap database  contains many layers of data: integrated transport, water networks, site specific information, buildings, houses, topography and digital aerial photography.

The Ordnance Survey MasterMap database contains many layers of data: integrated transport, water networks, site specific information, buildings, houses, topography and digital aerial photography.

About the film

Filmed on location at Ordnance Survey, Southampton.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editor: Liam Angell
Cast: Chris Parker

Client: ESKTN
Production company: insitu

Further reading

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping authority.

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping authority.

Natural Environment Research Council: Solving business problems with environmental data

A short film highlighting environmental data sets available from the UK Natural Environment Research Council that could be used to develop new solutions to business problems.

“The power of bringing all the big data sets together is that we get a holistic view of the environment” – Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

The Technology Strategy Board and NERC have invested £4m during 2014 to run feasibility studies which use environmental data to address a specific business issue in transport, food, agriculture, energy generation and supply, built environment and future cities or financial services.

Environmental data can be used to forecast changes in local climate.

Environmental data can be used to forecast changes in local climate.

Transcript

Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

The Natural Environment Research Council is the main funder of environmental research in the UK. It funds work in universities and all the data are put in a set of data centres.

NERC has a set of centres: the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Antarctic Survey, the National Oceanographic Centre, the British Geological Survey, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. It also works very closely with allied bodies like the Met Office and increasingly with the range of catapult activities from the Technology Strategy Board including the Space Applications Catapult.

Wind speed data from anemometers help with environmental monitoring.

Wind speed data from anemometers help with environmental monitoring.

Earth observation data is inherently global measuring the earth from satellites. It includes information on sea surface temperature, land surface temperature, land cover globally and of the UK.

The geophysical data that are available, many different sorts, including physical samples as well as digital data, mainly for the UK for use for building, quarrying and the oil industry, and similar civil engineering activities.

The ecological and hydrological data include information about flooding and about land cover change, the biodiversity of the UK and is used mainly for flood mapping and monitoring, and also for making sure that we preserve the biodiversity of the UK.

Mashing up environmental data sets with geophysical data can help with flood prevention.

Mashing up environmental data sets with geophysical data can help with flood prevention.

Polar data mainly about the Antarctic is information about the atmosphere, ocean (including the life in the ocean), the geology, soils and the ice sheet and how they’ve changed in time.

A nice example is where the British Antarctic Survey discovered the ozone hole from looking at long-time series of atmospheric data.

The power of bringing all the big data sets together, is that we get a holistic view of the environment, not just a view from the geologists, or the view from atmospheric sciences.

We can really understand how the planet is changing, how the UK is changing, why it’s changing, and then use those predictions to know where to invest.

Combining environmental data with terrain mapping can aid climate forecasting for the UK.

Combining environmental data with terrain mapping can aid climate forecasting for the UK.

About the film

Filmed on location at University of Reading, Reading.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Paul Rudge
Editor: Liam Angell
Cast: Robert Gurney

Client: ESKTN 

Production company: insitu

Further reading

Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

 

National Oceanography Centre: Solving business problems with environmental data

A short film highlighting environmental data sets available from the National Oceanography Service that could be used to develop new solutions to business problems.

“We’re using ocean models to couple to atmospheric models of the climate system to investigate how the North Atlantic might change in the future and how this will influence European climate.” – Professor Adrian New, National Oceanography Service

The Technology Strategy Board and NERC have invested £4m during 2014 to run feasibility studies which use environmental data to address a specific business issue in transport, food, agriculture, energy generation and supply, built environment and future cities or financial services.

Environmental data can be used to monitor ocean life.

Environmental data can be used to monitor ocean life.

Transcript

Professor Adrian New, Head, Marine Systems Modelling Group, National Oceanography Centre

The National Oceanography Centre is one of the world’s leading oceanography research centres and comprises two sites at Southampton and Liverpool.

At the National Oceanography Centre there are three primary sources of data. There’s observational data that’s collected when we go to sea or by remote autonomous vehicles. The second is computer generated simulations, and the third are satellite data sets that come from a range of satellites and space agencies.

We need to collect observational data sets over periods of decades to form reliable estimates of how the ocean is changing on the climate time scales.

Professor Adrian New, Head of Marine Systems Modelling Group, National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton.

Professor Adrian New, Head of Marine Systems Modelling Group, National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton.

Two good examples are, firstly, the Rapid Array. It’s a monitoring array at 26 degrees north right across the Atlantic and this is monitoring the strength of the circulation in the Atlantic. The rapid array has been collecting data since 2002 and it’s just been extended. That will give a 15-20 year coverage which is what you need to be able to have a good statistical estimate of whether the Atlantic circulation is really changing or not. This is a completely unique data set in the world.

The second example is the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level. The Permananent Service for Mean Sea Level has been collecting data from a network of tide gauges for several decades.

Autosub remote autonomous vehicle used to collect ocean environmental data for the National Oceanography Centre.

Autosub remote autonomous vehicle used to collect ocean environmental data for the National Oceanography Centre.

The observational data is collected on various research cruises that tend to be along section across a basin, from say Europe to North America, but just a single section. Or they are at particular locations where moorings might be for several years or decades so they are very sparse or scattered in their coverage.

Moored buoys monitor conditions at fixed locations supplying data to create models of ocean conditions.

Moored buoys monitor conditions at fixed locations supplying data to create models of ocean conditions.

The model data sets give complete global coverage down to 10 kilometre resolution. Jointly with the Met Office we’re using the ocean models to couple to atmospheric models of the climate system and we have a joint programme of research to investigate, for instance, how the North Atlantic might change in the future and how this will influence European climate.

Environmental data is combined to produce a global model of the ocean.

Environmental data is combined to produce a global model of the ocean.

In the future there are other potential applications of the model output.  For instance, to look at oil spills: if there is an oil spill somewhere, where is the oil going to go? You could also use it to see where albatrosses in the South Atlantic tend to gather, where the currents are strongest and where the food sources might be most prevalent.

NERC owns the British Atmospheric Data Centre, British Oceanography Data Centre, and the Earth Observation Data Centre. All data is freely available from the NERC data centres.

Marine life is very sensitive to changes in the environment.

Marine life is very sensitive to changes in the environment.

About the film

Filmed on location at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editor: Liam Angell
Cast: Adrian New

Client: ESKTN
Production company: insitu

Further reading

Shipping and other sea users rely on accurate environmental data to plan future activity.

Shipping and other sea users rely on accurate environmental data to plan future activity.

Nanoparticle nose

A tiny fraction of a millimetre in size, nanoparticles in the environment are made naturally by volcanos, sea-spray and chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

Nanoparticles can also come from welding and grinding, power plants and vehicle exhausts. In the centre of London, 50% of the nanoparticles in the air are made by human activity.

Kent-based Naneum make portable miniaturised instruments to sniff out and identify nanoparticles.

Naneum instruments are being used to investigate climate change, assess workplace air-quality, and study health implications of breathing in nanoparticles.

“We feel very proud that Naneum Instruments are a very good example of how leading-edge physics can have practical and beneficial applications for society,” says Dr Robert Muir, Naneum CEO.

Naneum is the winner of a 2012 Innovation Award from the Institute of Physics celebrating companies that make the most of applying physics in a commercial environment.

Dr Robert Muir, CEO, Naneum

Dr Robert Muir, CEO, Naneum

Transcript

Dr Robert Muir: Naneum was founded in 2005. The aim of Naneum was to manufacture – design and manufacture – leading edge products that would make it easy for researchers to make in situ measurements of airborne nanoparticles.

Our flagship product is the NPS-500. This is an instrument for characterising, sizing and reporting the size distributions of nanoparticles in the air. We developed this product from an identified market need. We saw that the instruments that were able to perform the functions at the present time were laboratory-bound instruments. They were large, they were immobile and they could not be used except by highly trained engineers.

We set out to make a miniaturised instrument that could be transported to the source of the nanoparticles and that could be used by any well trained engineer.

Brian Steer: Nanoparticles in the environment come from both natural and human sources. Natural sources include chemical reactions in the atmosphere, as well as volcanos and sea-spray. Human sources include manufacturing processes such as welding and grinding processes, and combustion sources such as power plants and of course car exhausts.

Nanoparticles in the air can be made by traffic

Nanoparticles in the air can be made by traffic

Dr Robert Muir: If you go into urban areas, for instance the centre of London where we’ve made some measurements on Oxford Street, up to 50% of the nanoparticles in the air will be generated by man-made processes. Nanoparticles in particular deposit themselves deep in the respiratory tract, in the lungs, in the air exchange region.

The jury is out on the dangers of nanoparticles but of course investigating the exposure and making the relevant studies to see what those hazards are is very important. And that’s where Naneum Instruments come in. They’re being designed and they’re ideal for doing those experiments.

The NPS500 measures particles in the size range from 5 nanometres up to 500 nanometres. The way it does this is that it separates the particles according to size, through an electrostatic size classifier.

Brian Steer: This is the sizing component of the NPS500. It works by passing an air flow through two metal plates – two electrodes – across which a high voltage is applied. The nanoparticles are sized by choosing a particular voltage and with that voltage you choose a particular size nanoparticle.

Electrostatic nanoparticle sizer

Electrostatic nanoparticle sizer

Dr Robert Muir: The particles that come out of this classifier, or sizer, are too small to be seen by normal instrument so we have to grow them in what’s known as a condensation particle counter.

Brian Steer: The nanoparticles are mixed with the vapour from a heated fluid. This vapour is then condensed onto the condenser to grow the nanoparticles from say 10 or 100 nanometres in size up to about a micron, where they can easily be detected.

The particular innovations of this product are the electrostatic classifier, firstly is of a different design to what has traditionally been used. This allows it to be much smaller, compact, and therefore portable compared to traditional instruments.

Naneum development labs

Naneum development labs

Dr Robert Muir: Winning the Innovation Award is a tremendous boost to us. It really makes us feel very much recognised and at the forefront of physics. We feel very proud that Naneum Instruments are a very good example of how applied science and applied leading-edge physics can have practical and beneficial applications for society.

Our instruments are now being used in areas such as climate investigations of climate change, looking at occupational hygiene issues, looking at health issues, inhalation, toxicology.

These are things that will benefit people in the future and we feel very proud that our instruments are used in that way.

Brian Steer, Naneum

Brian Steer, Naneum

About the film

Filmed on location at:

  • Naneum, Canterbury Innovation Centre, Canterbury, UK. September 2012.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editors: Liam Angell, Mike Willbourne
Cast: Dr Robert Muir, Dr Brian Steer

Production company: insitu
Client: Institute of Physics

Camera: RED Epic, Canon 550D

Further reading