Enter our short blog survey

We’d love it if you could spare five minutes of your time to fill out our short blog survey. We’d just like your thoughts on our blog and the articles we share. As a thank you for completing the survey, we’ll enter you into a prize draw to win one of three Custom Made maps.

Please complete the survey by Friday 6 February.

Route of the week: Off-road mountain bike route – Drum, Carneddau mountains

Today’s ride is a guest blog is from Jim Langley who runs Nature’s Work, an educational consultancy bringing to life the natural world through a range of wildlife walks, educational courses and training events and Climb it Range a company celebrating outdoor achievement with great design.

Length of route: 11.3 miles
Starting point: SH655728
Suitable for: Cycling (experienced mountain bikers) or walking if you retrace your route from Drum to the car park.
Maps: OS Explorer Map OL17 Snowdon
Download our OS MapFinder app and record your route
Use OS getamap


Continue reading “Route of the week: Off-road mountain bike route – Drum, Carneddau mountains”

How well do you know your old football grounds?

Emirates Stadium 2014Over on our Facebook page and Twitter account we run a #ThrowbackThursday picture each week. It fascinates us, and it seems a lot of our followers, to look back at our historical maps, usually pre-1900, and compare the past and present. We’ll show nineteenth century sites, that if you were to visit them today, would have well-known landmarks on them. They can be anything from the Angel of the North to the Emirates Stadium (pictured right). Without fail, our followers can identify the modern sites, and we share an up-to-date map the next day to show how the area looks today.

While over a century has passed between the maps we share each #ThrowbackThursday, you don’t need to wait that long to spot changes on maps. Britain is constantly changing. We maintain over 460 million features in our database, tracking over 10,000 changes a day. Road layouts change, houses are demolished, new estates are built and new football grounds take root. Our surveyors track these changes on foot, whilst our Flying Unit take to the skies to ensure we have as accurate a picture of changing Britain as we possibly can. Continue reading “How well do you know your old football grounds?”

Explore one of the 15 National Trails

If you’re looking for inspiration for you next walk, why not start with one of England and Wales’ National Trails? There are 15 trails of varying lengths to enjoy the coastline and countryside of beautiful Britain. You can dip in and out of them in short sections if the whole trail feels like a daunting task to tackle and across the 15 trails, here should be something for everyone – whether you want to go walking, riding, cycling or running.

We’ve pulled together some facts and figures on our National Trails to inspire you – take a look here. And if you do fancy a visit, check out our Map shop too.


If you’d like to see the infographic in more detail, try this PDF.

Top ten blogs in 2014

We’re taking one last look back at 2014 to remind ourselves of the news and facts and figures we learned over the course of the year, on the basis of our most-read blogs. So, what did we learn in 2014?

The Walkers Rules1. Magnetic north is constantly changing and for the first time in many years, in some parts of the country North on your compass lies to the East of the North on your map. Some people were dismayed that their “Grid to mag – add, mag to grid, get rid” reminder will gradually become obsolete.

2. With over 18,000 current subscribers, it’s not surprising that top tips for OS getamap, our online map service would prove so popular.

3.  If you are a walker, you are a nicer person. That’s totally official. Our Walkers’ Rules proved phenomenally popular – there are lots of useful tips as well as the tongue in cheek kind! Continue reading “Top ten blogs in 2014″

Historical maps quiz


Throughout the year we’ve published extracts of historical maps, many going back more than 100 years, on our Twitter feed. It’s fascinating to look at the old maps and see how much things have changes as roads and residential areas grow and previous landmarks, and countryside, often disappear.

We’ve been asking our followers if they can identify the well-known landmarks, sporting venues or places that now stand on the sites shown on the historical maps. How well do you think you can do? We’ve picked our ten favourites from the year to challenge you.  Just click on each image to see it more clearly – and let us know how you get on: Continue reading “Historical maps quiz”

Further adventures in Minecraft: First Great Britain, now for the rest of the world!

Post by Keegan Wilson, Press Officer

Ordnance Survey’s very own Mr Blocks, Joseph Braybrook, is conducting a new set of experiments in Minecraft.

Not content with making Great Britain out of OS OpenData and 83 billion individual Minecraft blocks, a mammoth map which won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records, which you can download here for free, Joseph has set his sights further afield in an attempt to push himself, real world data and the possibilities of Minecraft to the limit.

Continue reading “Further adventures in Minecraft: First Great Britain, now for the rest of the world!”

Celebrating Christmas across Great Britain – competition

FullSizeRenderWe thought we’d celebrate Christmas with a fun competition – and give you the amazing opportunity to win a limited edition OS MasterMap tie too.

There are some fabulous Christmas place names around Great Britain and we’ve put a small selection of them below. You can travel to Christmas Cross in Shropshire, but if you want to hang up your Stocking, you should head to Herefordshire and pop by Mistletoe Oak while you’re there. If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, then Snow Falls in North Yorkshire could be your best bet. You could navigate via the light of a Star (Somerset) – although you may like to use a good map instead.

But if your Christmassy travels brought you to Bethlehem (shown bottom right) – which county would you be in? Send in your answers on the blog by midday on Friday 19 December. We’ll pick a correct answer at random to win the mappy tie. Continue reading “Celebrating Christmas across Great Britain – competition”

Ordnance Survey sponsored MSc programme

Since 2001, we’ve sponsored over 100 students from more than 25 universities in our MSc dissertation programme. We look out for those doing research that fits in with our research strategy and where we will have an in-house ‘expert’ that can supervise alongside the student’s university supervisor. We provide advice, data where required and if available, and then sponsorship of up to £1000 on completion of their dissertation.

At least five students who completed a sponsored MSc with us then went on to be supported by us in their PhD too. Some of our research is outsourced and often achieved through our doctoral and postdoctoral research collaborations. Our support can range from providing industrial partner letters of support to contracting short-term pieces of work, and most things in between so there are opportunities at all levels. You can find out more about our PhD support on our websiteContinue reading “Ordnance Survey sponsored MSc programme”