I’m told by my colleagues in the customer service team that one of the most common questions we’re asked is ‘how often do you update your paper maps?’
It’s a very good question.
But there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer. The frequency depends on a combination of factors, the primary one being the amount of change that needs to be applied to the map since it was previously revised.
The popularity of the sheet is also a factor. A map covering an area popular with vistors such as the Lake District would take priority over a less-popular area, providing of course, that changes have occurred that would be important to the users – new footpaths, roads and a visitor centre for example.
New editions are then released when our stocks of a superseded edition run out. So for a popular area, like The Lakes, that might be a lot sooner than for less popular locations.
This helps minimise the financial and environmental costs in having to scrap any unsold superseded editions both for us, our wholesalers and for retailers, who don’t have to manage the turnover of editions.
What about when there’s a mistake on a map?
As hard as it is to imagine, yes occasionally we do make mistakes on our maps for which we’re always apologetic. Accuracy is our business, but when you’re mapping the whole country errors do occasionally occur. Generally when we’re told of a mistake, we make sure it’s logged and the next time that map sheet is revised, the mistake is corrected alongside any changes to the landscape that might have occurred.
However, each mistake is looked at individually and sometimes we will decide to correct the error in our digital data before the next revision of the paper map. In this instance it means that’s OS OpenData, OS OpenSpace, OS Select, OS Getamap and the 1:25,000 scale or 1:50,000 scale raster products will be correct the next time the data is refreshed – typically every six months in May and November.
I hope all that makes sense but if you do have any questions, just leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer them!
If you liked this post, you might also like to read about how maps are made.