We’ve teamed up with BBC’s The One Show to give you the unique opportunity to play a part in the future of our maps. We have over 90 tourist symbols that are used on our maps already, but we have up to 10 map symbols that need creating for the first time ever. We’re turning the design over to you, to create a new map symbol, and we’ll pick our favourite designs to add to our maps.
We often talk about the 10,000 changes a day being captured in our database containing all of the features of Great Britain. It can be hard to grasp how that much change is taking place – until you think about all of the new roads and buildings under construction and then burrow down into the level of detail we capture – right down to phone boxes and even electricity pylons.
When National Grid announced that the first new electricity pylon design in 90 years was going to be erected in Nottinghamshire, we knew our surveying team would need to swing into action. Pylons not only feature in our large scale products, such as OS MasterMap for our business and government customers, but also in smaller scale products, like the 1:25,000 scale mapping in our OS Explorer maps used for outdoor activities.
We’re making some changes to the covers of our iconic paper maps this year – but you’ll be pleased to hear that the contents will remain familiar and you’ll still be able to navigate around the country, spotting interesting sights.
With 600+ paper maps covering the whole of Great Britain, there is plenty of scope for map symbols to help you spot the key navigational points. Most of you will be familiar with our map symbols – pubs, campsites, churches and so on. They point out where things are across the country and help you to plan your trips – working out where the best viewpoint is, highlighting the pubs (a key feature!) and helping to navigate across the countryside. They’re not only on paper maps, but also on our range of mobile apps and online products.
Ordnance Survey maps use contour lines to join points of equal height together. Understanding contours is a very useful navigation skill because you can identify the lay of the land and landscape features as they appear on the ground. They tell you whether the ground is flat, hilly, undulating, or steep, and whether a route will be a gentle easy walk or a hard uphill slog, so you can plan your route more easily.
Contours are shown on Ordnance Survey maps as thin orange or brown lines with numbers on them that show you the height above sea level of any point on the line. The closer the contour lines are together, the steeper the slope. Contour lines very close together indicate a steep slope and contours further apart show a gentle slope.
We thought it was about time to test your knowledge with a map symbols quiz. When you’re out and about using our well-known OS Landranger and OS Explorer Maps – do you know what all of the symbols mean? They’re there to give you valuable information about the environment you’re in.
Aside from highlighting tourist and leisure information, map symbols also provide vital information to let map readers know what to expect on the terrain they’re crossing. Information ranges from the kind of vegetation you can expect to encounter to detail on roads, public rights of way and even different rock features. If you would like to know more about map symbols, try the Simon King and Ordnance Survey video on understanding map symbols. It’s one of a series of short videos explaining the basics on using maps.
In the meantime though, have a go at our quiz and post your answers on the blog. We’ll be revealing the answers later…
If you’re a user of our maps, then you’ll be familiar with the small blue map symbols that give helpful tourist information when you’re out and about. If you’ve ever wondered how those symbols are checked and placed on our maps, today’s blog from Kim Hall, one of our team based in the East of England, will answer your questions.
I spend my working week interacting with Ordnance Survey mapping data, but it’s rare that I unfold a paper map and delve into the dark arts of map reading and navigation. I was offered the opportunity to reconnect with that part of our operations and to get in the mindset of paper-map user for the day…
We have two limited edition OS Explorer Maps up for grabs in our map symbol competition. Ben Fogle signed OS Explorer Map 455 of Taransay and Simon King signed OS Explorer Map 470 of Shetland – Unst, Yell & Fetlar. The maps were created as limited editions at a previous Outdoors Show and on the reverse of the map covers, Simon and Ben explain why they chose the areas for their limited edition maps. To be in with a chance of winning one of the signed maps, simply identify the six map symbols in our quiz and send us your answers on the blog by 5.00 pm on Friday 22 November.
If you’ve studied or used a paper map before, you will be aware of the Ordnance Survey map symbols which appear on every one. These map symbols, otherwise known as a ‘legend’ or ‘key’, help us to understand what appears on the mapping we use every day at school, at work or when enjoying our free time.
An Ordnance Survey symbol is the mapping language that will guide you through every walk, bike ride, run or geocaching adventure that you go on. Think about how many buildings, landmarks, features, man made or natural, that the landscapes around us plays host to. Every feature appears on the maps you use and the OS map key helps you to understand what your map is telling you.
Map symbols also liven up your maps. The data is brought to life as image. For example, you can find out where to fish by looking for an image of a fish or find out where the nearest castle can be found by locating an OS map symbol of a castle. Simple!