In Pictures

In pictures: Britain from the air

The Ordnance Survey's flying unit is in the skies between February and November each year, surveying and capturing about 50,000 images covering Britain's urban, rural, moorland and mountain terrain.

Alongside the 196-megapixel camera used to take high-resolution images from the skies, the team members also take snaps of themselves on their cameraphones, seeing Britain from the air in a way the rest of us can only imagine.

Eden Project Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption The OS team flew over the Eden Project in early spring on the way to their surveying target.
Helvellyn, the Lake District Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption Millions visit the Lake District National Park each year, to walk, cycle or climb its peaks. The flying team often surveys areas of Britain that are difficult or time-consuming to reach on foot, particularly in rural, mountain and moorland areas.
GCHQ building Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption Ordnance Survey operates two Cessna 404s, flying out of East Midlands airport, to survey Great Britain from the air. While flying between targets, the team snapped GCHQ near Cheltenham. The building is, unsurprisingly, nicknamed The Doughnut.
Birmingham Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption OS makes 10,000 changes a day in its database, which contains more than 500 million features of Great Britain. Looking down over Birmingham earlier this year, the unit captured some of the many new buildings that have contributed to this figure.
Forth Bridge Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption In May this year the unit flew over the Firth of Forth, capturing the Forth Bridge (a Unesco World Heritage site), the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing, which is due to open in 2017.
Blackpool Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption One of the most famous seaside towns in Britain, Blackpool was also home to the OS flying unit for more than 50 years. The climate in the area meant that the airport was rarely fog-bound and flying time could be maximised. The team moved to East Midlands airport in 2012.
BoomTown Fair Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption An example of the aerial imagery captured by the 196-megapixel camera on-board the OS planes. By coincidence, the team was surveying near Winchester in August, just days after a serious fire at the BoomTown Fair. The camera caught the area of burnt-out cars at the site.
Caen Hill Locks Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption The flying unit captured Caen Hill Locks when in the skies over Britain last year. In total 29 locks rise 237ft over two miles along the Kennet and Avon Canal, a sight to look out for between Rowde and Devizes in Wiltshire.
Orkney Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption Surveying over Orkney gave the team the opportunity to take and share some great photos of the islands. Off the north-eastern coast of Scotland, there are 70 islands in total, many uninhabited.
Silverstone Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption Occasionally, the OS team is lucky enough to fly over areas when huge events are taking place. In this case, it is truck racing at Silverstone. The team has also seen many festivals and sports matches while in the skies above Britain.
Cardiff Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption Wales' capital city, Cardiff, was snapped on a sunny summer's day.
Sandwell Valley Country Park Image copyright Ordnance Survey
Image caption An example of the unusual sites in Britain that can only be fully appreciated from the air. The powerful on-board surveying equipment captured a rugby-themed maize maze at Sandwell Valley Country Park.

All photographs courtesy Ordnance Survey.

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