UK mapping agency the Ordnance Survey is heading into gaming territory with £6m tender for dev team

Great, we can't wait for Grand Theft Auto: Brecon Beacons


UK map maker the Ordnance Survey is looking to hire £6m worth of game developers.

Publishing a contract tender notice, the publicly owned cartographer is asking for bids from "organisations with strong game development experience to help us deliver our new gaming app."

What exactly that gaming app involves is anyone's guess right now. An Ordnance Survey spokesman tossed The Register a firm "no comment", but promised to divulge more details when the time was ripe.

We can only speculate that the well-known crossover between the gamer and rambler communities will be looking forward to rebooting Doom in the Lickey Hills.

The Ordnance Survey, founded by the British Army in the wake of the Jacobite rising of 1745 (to help it get a look at the territories of rebel clans in the Scottish Highlands), is no stranger to applying centuries of UK mapping knowledge to the digital era. In 2017, it integrated an augmented-reality tool with the OS Maps app, allowing walkers to hold their phone up to a landscape and see a series of labels pop up on their screen.

The idea of using real-world mapping data in gaming is not new. In 2018, Google opened up its Maps platform to gives game developers to access real-world geographic information and offered a new SDK for Unity, a popular game engine. The rise of the Pokémon Go mobile game since 2016 has also been inescapable.

But, as anyone who has attempted to traverse the Yorkshire Dales can testify, Ordnance Survey maps provide much richer details of the local topography and landmarks than any satellite-based system. The mind boggles at the possibility for an amalgamated Brecon Beacons/Grand Theft Auto mash-up.

Then again it is entirely possible El Reg is barking up the wrong tree. Or is it a telegraph pole? Or hedge? Or prehistoric stone circle. Dammit, where the hell are we? ®


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