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Get a paper map and get mobile

20 May 2015

Over the next 12 months Ordnance Survey is to replace all 607 of its current paper map titles (OS Explorer, OS Landranger and OS Tour series) with a new design and an additional mobile download of the map that can be accessed for no extra cost. Starting from 10 June when the OS Explorer Outdoor Leisure (OL) paper maps begin hitting retailers’ shelves.

Download hi-res versions of the covers below

The Outdoor Leisure maps, which cover all of Britain’s national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, will come with an iOS and Android compatible download of the area covered by the map. The downloaded map will allow users to plot and store routes electronically. All the map data is stored locally and is available regardless of whether your smart device has a signal or not, making it perfect for even the remotest areas. Another standout feature is its ability to record your walk or cycle in real-time when out and about, so the route is instantly remembered for future exploration.

This news follows last year’s announcement that sales of OS paper maps had increased for the first time in a decade.

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, says: “Maps are the guide to the outdoors, the ideal tool for adventure and discovery. Feedback from customers showed that more and more people are using maps on their tablets and smartphones to navigate, despite some of these digital maps being less than ideal for finding paths and tracks in the countryside. OS maps give an unparalleled level of detail and are the definitive guide for any budding or seasoned explorer. For safety reasons we always recommend anyone exploring the outdoors carries a paper map, so it made absolute sense for us to combine both paper and digital formats, to give people what they want with the security of having paper, and the added functions our digital map offers should open up greater possibilities for further adventure.”

The much-loved paper maps will also have new covers. Photographs of Great Britain taken by members of the public in a competition run by OS, which received over 10,000 entries, will adorn the cover.

Nick continues: “The OS Photofit competition has exceeded expectations. We had way more entries than we anticipated and the overall standard was very impressive. There are a lot of talented amateur photographers out there. It proved very difficult for us to choose the winning images for our covers, but we did and we think they add to OS’s tradition of producing highly detailed accurate maps that also look like works of art.”

The OS Photofit is still open for OS Landranger series and closes 31 October.


Hi-res image downloads

Map covers

NW Lake District | Snowdonia

Map extracts on phones

NW Lake District | Snowdonia

Notes to editors

About Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey is Britain’s mapping agency. It makes the most up-to-date and accurate maps of the country. OS is also a digital business, and its content is used to help governments, companies and individuals be more effective both here and around the world. OS provides information that’s vital to the nation’s well-being. OS works with governments, private industry, and individuals alike, since the data it produces touches and connects the lives of everyone in the country. OS makes seven updates every minute of every day, mirroring the constantly changing landscape. The information OS gathers generates content that helps keep our nation, economy and infrastructure moving.

To access the mobile version of the map scratch off the security panel contained on the paper map to reveal a unique code that is entered into the new app OS Maps Mobile, which can be downloaded from os.uk/redeem (from the 10th June)

OS Maps is available on desktop or as a mobile app, it provides online mapping and route planning. Users can:

  • View and print OS maps on their computer, tablet or smartphone web browser.
  • Create their walking, cycling and running routes.
  • Import or export routes.
  • Find over 400,000 routes from OS Maps users, Good Pub Guide, Country Walking and Trail Magazine. (Desktop only at the moment)
  • Make more of your trip with local pubs, cafés, hotels and more. (Desktop only at the moment)
  • Use for free or subscribe to access extra features.

OS paper map sales In the past ten years Ordnance Survey paper map sales have fallen, in line with the rest of the publishing industry. Yet in 2014, Britain's mapping agency reversed this trend with sales in 2014 up by 3%, with figures for the financial year (2014-15) showing an even more impressive 7% increase.


OS Photofit ­— Over 10,000 photographic entries are received as OS looks for the very best photographs of Great Britain to feature on the covers of its iconic paper maps.



History of OS’s paper map

1791Ordnance Survey is formed.
1793Britain is at war with France and ‘invasion coasts’ receive priority for mapping.
18011-inch map of Kent is published.
1810First recorded use of name ‘Ordnance Survey’ on 1-inch sheet 10, the Isle of Wight and parts of Hampshire.
1851Charteris Committee recommends abandonment of the 6-inch scale and a return to 1-inch mapping. The beginning of the Battle of the Scales.
1858Royal Commission recommends map scales of 1:2500, 6-inch and 1-inch for national mapping. The end of the Battle of the Scales.
1897Publication of 1-inch maps in full colour commences.
1919Ellis Martin, a professional artist, engaged to design map covers.
1971Digital mapping is introduced to large-scale map production.
1972First Outdoor Leisure (OL) map, the Dark Peak, is published.
19741:50,000 scale mapping replaces 1-inch series (completed 1976).
1994Computer production techniques enable the first 5 experimental titles in the new Explorer Map series to be published (By 2003 every Pathfinder and OLM map had been converted to the Explorer Map series).
2002Computer production techniques enable a raster product (in 10km x10 km tile format) to be produced.
2002OS Select Landranger launched – later to become OS Custom Made maps
2004Following the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (giving people new rights to walk on open country and registered common land) areas of open access are depicted on OS Explorer Maps.

Full historical timeline of Ordnance Survey

Contact us

For more information:

Contact: Keegan Wilson, Senior Press Officer

Email: keegan.wilson@os.uk

Phone: (+44) 238­0 055332

Latest news

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has appointed Steve Blair as the new Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey (OS).

Ordnance Survey (OS), the Environment Agency (EA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have collaborated to bring together a nationally consistent view of Great Britain’s watercourses called OS MasterMap Water Network.

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