Maintaining national coverage of paper maps in Great Britain – commitment from Ordnance Survey

You may have read articles in the media recently which reported that Ordnance Survey is to end its policy of routinely producing maps that cover the whole country. This is simply not true.

We would like to stress that this statement is wholly inaccurate and that we are committed to maintaining a national series of paper maps for both OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps. Paper maps are used by millions of outdoor enthusiasts every year enabling people to explore and enjoy Great Britain. Our paper products remain an important part of Ordnance Survey with nearly 2 million sold over the last year. Users will continue to be able to purchase paper maps covering the whole of Great Britain from many outlets, including our own online Map Shop.

We are always looking at ways to improve our products and services and our paper maps are no exception. We want to ensure that our paper products are the number one tool for anyone discovering the outdoors. This commitment has been reflected during recent years with our investment in our paper products including the introductions of the Active range of weatherproof paper maps and the launch of the popular Custom Made maps allowing customers to create personalised paper maps.

Paper maps are an important and iconic part of the Ordnance Survey brand and we strongly feel that they remain an essential part of the outdoors market, working alongside digital products and apps. We would always emphasise the importance of carrying a paper map, a compass, and having navigational skills to support any digital products and apps that are being used by outdoors enthusiasts. As part of our commitment to ensure people have the necessary skills to use a paper map, we run regular map-reading workshops with Cotswold Outdoor each year and have a series of resources available on our website.

Finally, we are disappointed by this statement within these articles and again would like to stress that we are committed to maintaining the national series of paper maps and that we will continue to supply these to wholesalers, retailers and customers.

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15 Responses

  1. William Maidlow

    Thank goodness for that! I listened with horror to a report on BBC Radio Wales and, having read your response, I am appalled that the BBC do not check their facts. I will try and get Radio Wales to issue an update.

  2. Chris

    You state that OS will maintain the series of paper maps, but is this a commitment to continuing to print each and every sheet of the current 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 series for supply and stock in retail outlets?

  3. Chris

    You say that OS will maintain the national series of paper maps, but is this a commitment to continue to print each and every one of the current 1:50,000 and 1:25,00o series map sheets to supply for stock in retail outlets?

    1. Hi Chris

      As we stated above, the articles reporting this have simply got their facts wrong. Ordnance Survey remain 100% committed to the maintenance, production and printing of our paper map products. Our customers, whether individuals, retailers or wholesalers will not see any difference in the service they receive. We are continuing to print paper maps in order to meet the demand of our customers, whilst ensuring we do not waste resources and stockpile excess amounts of products in warehouses.

      It is possible some of this confusion has arisen as we also produce Custom Made maps which are only printed as they are ordered by the customers – with the area, title and cover all being customised, these can only be printed as and when the order is received.

      Many thanks

      1. Chris

        Hi Gemma

        Thanks for your response, but confusion over the future of paper maps continues in the media.

        A yes or no response to my question asking if OS would continue to print paper copies of each and every one of the current 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 map sheets to supply for stock in retail outlets would perhaps go some way to clarify the position.

        With thanks in anticipation.

        1. Melanie

          Hi Chris,
          I’m sorry there is still some confusion. I’m happy to say Yes – we will continue to print each and every one of our maps to supply for stock n retail outlets.
          Best wishes,

          1. Chris

            Hi Gemma

            Many thanks for the clarification in those terms, perhaps something for OS to publicise. It is good news, and hopefully for the longer term.

            Paper maps allow the reader an instant switch from a wider picture to detail, not matched even by the best scrollable and zoomable open digital topo maps such as those at the IGN Geoportail

  4. Adam

    Hi Gemma,

    There’s a direct quote from an ‘OS spokesman’ in the Telegraph article. Did they just make this up? Or was it an OS error?

    1. Hi Adam

      The quote has been edited and taken out of context following lengthy communications – we think there has been confusion between the production process for Custom Made maps (customised by area, title and cover and printed as the customer orders) and our standard map production process.

      Thanks, Gemma

  5. John

    Thank heavens for that.

    I love maps and buy quite a few.

    They tell you so much more than “how to get there”.

  6. Bob griffith

    Really glad to hear this. I travel around the uk a fair bit and the first thing I buy in a new area is the Os map so that I can find places to
    Explore/walk my dogs and cycle. No tablet/phone or computer can come close to the flexibility of a ‘proper’ map and I’ve yet to have my map switch off because it’s battery has died at the wrong moment.

    OS maps are one of the greatest achievements we have and it would be a tragedy if we stopped producing them.

  7. Thank goodness paper maps will continue. I have 101 50,000 maps on my study shelf, not all the latest edition by any means, but all are informative. I have a number of 25,000 ones too. Even if one is superseded by the purchase of a newer edition, it is not thrown away.
    This is despite using streetmap.uk, Google maps and Bing maps online.

  8. Rob Reed

    Really pleased to read that OS will continue their great job in producing the best maps in the world. Paper maps give the best option for route planning and navigation on the ground.

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