The OS Landranger map is well loved by all outdoor enthusiasts. Its history, as the leisure map to use for planning days out and activities extends back many years and several generations have relied upon on ‘the pink map’ for their active pursuits.
The following describes the background and series specification of this famous Ordnance Survey map, from the early days, through metrification to today.
The history of the OS Landranger map goes back to 1791 when a One-Inch military map of the County of Kent was commenced. Published in 1801, the map of Kent was followed by a map of the County of Essex in 1803. The remainder of England and Wales, including the Isle of Man was completed by 1873; Scotland was completed in 1887. These sheets were printed in monochrome only, with coloured editions being started in the late 1800’s.
These were followed by a number of series with different formats and specifications. In 1945 the New Popular Sixth Series was started, each sheet covering an area of 40 x 45 km and incorporating the National Grid.
A Seventh Series was authorised in 1947 with the first sheets being published in 1952. These sheets were printed in ten colours but in 1962, for economic reasons, the number of colours was reduced to six. The Seventh Series comprised 189 sheets.
Metrication of Ordnance Survey map series to meet the Government metrication programme was introduced in 1965 and necessitated replacing the One Inch Seventh Series. Consultations with map users plus technical and economic factors resulted in the scale of 1:50 000 being chosen.
It was not possible to produce a completely redrawn series in the desired time scale so an interim 1:50 000 First Series was produced. The Series was compiled from photographic enlargements of One Inch Seventh Series material, assembled into a 40 x 40 km format, partially revised and printed in 6 colours.
The 1:50 000 First Series of 204 sheets was published in two blocks, the southern half of the country in 1974 and the northern half in 1976. The conversion of First Series sheets to Second Series began in 1974 and was completed in 1987. Additions included metric contours as well as tourist and Forestry Commission information.
The early Second Series sheets were printed in six flat colours but later produced from a range of four process colours, black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
In 1980, tree symbols, depiction of foreshore categories and grid numbers on the body of the map were included in the specification. At the same time the name Landranger was adopted for the series.
The need for automation of production was recognised from a study in 1991 and a project was initiated in 1993 to establish requirements for maintaining the integrity and quality standards of the Second Series.
Following a production trial in 1994 on Sheet 95 that evaluated production methodology, performance results and flowline implications, the decision was made to proceed with conversion of all Landranger sheets to data format.’
And so, the OS Landranger we use today was born. This series covers the whole of Great Britain in 204 maps and provides all the detailed information you need to get to know an area.
If you’d like to browse the full series of OS Landranger maps or find out more, you can visit our map shop.