One Show map symbol competition winners

If you were watching the One Show on 1 July, you’ll have seen our six fantastic new map symbols being unveiled. The competition launched in May and we (and the One Show) were overwhelmed to have over 7,000 entries pouring in for the 10 map symbols that were up for design.

One Show map symbol competition winners

We were thrilled with the number of people getting involved and loved all of the people sharing their entries with us on Twitter – especially all of the schools that were up for the map symbol design challenge.

Judgement day

Filming for the judging took place mid- June, but the team at OS had already been busily sorting through the entrants and creating a shortlist of 10 symbols from the 10 categories ahead of that. The judging panel included cartographers, designers and product managers who had a list of criteria in mind:

  • Designs needed to work alongside the current symbols.
  • Must be scaleable – the map symbols on our OS Explorer maps are roughly 5 mm
  • Need to be shown in a single, solid colour when they appear on the maps, so couldn’t rely on lots of colour.
  • Resemblance or convention – most of our map symbols are pictorial and either look like the feature they’re depicting or use a well-known convention.
The shortlisted entries displayed in our atrium

The shortlisted entries displayed in our atrium

After much debate, six winning symbols were selected – congratulations to the winners! Take a look at their entries (shown on the left) and the final map symbol design below (shown on the right). As you’ll see, we’ve kept changes to a minimum, but our design team made some tweaks to make the symbols visible and usable on our maps.

The six winning map symbols

Jamie Norris is the winner for the art gallery map symbol. Jamie is an Industrial Designer and found designing the logos a nice break from his daily routine!

Untitled design (7)

Summer Nasim designed the new electric car charging point map symbol. Summer also featured in The One Show filming at our head office.

Untitled design (4)

Rebecca Thomas was the winner for the new skate park map symbol. As a Cub Scout Leader, teaching map reading and navigation, it was the perfect competition to get involved in.

Untitled design (5)

Clare Nichols designed the new solar farm map symbol. Living on a farm in Gloucestershire, and seeing several solar farms cropping up nearby, inspired Clare to get designing.

Untitled design (3)

The new kite surfing map symbol was designed by Chris Lawson. Chris is an OS map fan and tells us he’s very proud to have created something that will appear on our products.

Untitled design (6)

Will Chiu has helped us get a toilet symbol on the map, to replace the outdated ‘PC’ symbol we currently use. Currently studying graphic design, this competition was right up Will’s street.

Untitled design (2)

Putting the symbols on the map

Now the really hard work begins. You can see all of the symbols on our interactive map here right now. You’ll notice that there is only one electric car-charging point…that’s because we don’t currently collect that data – but we will from now on! We’re going to be kept busy getting the new symbols rolled out to the relevant maps and this will take some time, as we’ll continue with our usual rolling refresh of the maps. Your first chance to buy a map with the new symbols will be with the release of our Tour Maps in February 2016.

There’s still a chance to get involved in the new Tour Maps too – we’re looking for junior photographers to send in their photos of beautiful Britain for the chance to feature on the new covers.  Enter #OSPhotofit.

Thanks again to everyone who entered for sharing your creative skills with us!

Catch up on The One Show on iPlayer – the map symbols piece starts at 26:45.

You may also like

Your right to roam with public rights of way
GeoDataViz: map symbols
Top tips to create a Martian map symbol
Map reading skills: Understanding map symbols

24 Responses

  1. John Williamsu

    The charging point symbol doesn’t say car to me. It could equally be somewhere to plug in and charge your phone!

  2. Norbert

    I thought this might be an opportunity to avoid the women-always-wear-skirts gender stereotyping of toilet symbols, but alas, no!

    1. Hi Norbert

      Sorry that you’re not a fan of the new symbol. Many of our map symbols follow popular conventions that people will easily recognise and this is one of the most common ways to represent a toilet. They are currently shown as ‘PC’ for public convenience on our maps, but that is a terms that is used infrequently these days which can confuse people. People tend to think of PC for personal computer these days, language has moved on, and we need to keep the symbol relevant for as wide an audience as possible.

      Thanks, Gemma

  3. Sue Perrin

    The symbols look good, and I could identify them all easily, except for the top one; the ?man’s head with a roof over it. Have I completely misinterpreted it?

    1. Hi Sue

      We liked the fact it was designed to follow the convention of our current map symbols for museum and heritage centre with the styling – and then has a portrait in the middle for the ‘art gallery’ aspect too.

      Thanks, Gemma

  4. Pam eves

    I think the new symbol for toilets is fine but there isn’t one for disabled toilet. They ate not always with the others.
    In fact I can’t see any symbols for the disabled anywhere. For these people it’s really important.

    1. Hi Pam

      Thanks for getting in touch and that is an interesting point. Currently, we only show a selection of public toilets, those that are located in rural areas and will be of use to our map users when they are exploring the British countryside. I’ll pass your feedback along to the products team.

      Many thanks

  5. Iain

    I personally feel like you have ruined Summer’s car charging point design. The original was more balanced, where as the modified version to fit OS design style makes the positively charged cut out seem disproportionately large. Also, whilst I understand the logic behind the alterations to the charging cable, it makes it look like an androids arm…

    But other than that, I like them… And well done to the winners, all well deserved!

  6. Pam Eves

    Hi Gemma,
    My husband is disabled, hence the interest.
    He would love to see mapping showing disabled access for country parks and the National parks too ( where it exists). One can buy maps ( not OS) of cycle paths in the New Forest for example, but it doesn’t mean that these are suitable for the disabled.
    People like him would love to get out into these areas but it’s so hard to know which are suitable.
    He thinks showing disabled toilets is important though.

    There is a whole market out there for the disabled which hasn’t even been looked at yet.


  7. andy

    I seem to remember you also wanted caveing , climb center , ice rink, skate park and vineyard symbols . what won those please?

    1. Hi Andy

      Yes – we offered up 10 potential symbols for designing and said we’d pick up to 10 winners. We’ve picked six to feature on our maps in the future out of those 10 – so no winners for the other four.

      Thanks, Gemma

  8. Ken Slater

    Hi Gemma, I was not happy with the way in which the One Show revealed the six winners. There was no mention of the fact that no winners were produced from four of the categories and in addition to this it was not made clear, initially, that the entries may be improved.
    Matt Baker said that the final chosen six had been ‘ tweaked ‘ . I put it to you that they had been drastically improved.
    The concept was good from some of the winners but the submitted designs were quite rough. I was meticulous in what I produced and emailed to you, thinking that the designs would remain unaltered.
    This is not ‘ sour grapes ‘ but in future give the runners up a mention too since quite a lot of time and effort was involved by the thousands that entered.

    1. Hi Ken

      Thanks for getting in touch. We were thrilled to have over 7,000 entries flood in for the competition from One Show viewers and were keen to emphasise that at the top of the blog too, apologies if that didn’t come clearly across for you. We were also keen to emphasise that the entries would need to fit in with our existing map symbols which is why we blogged about the guidelines and the BBC included it in their competition terms and conditions too.

      We certainly appreciate the efforts that everyone put in and apologies again if that didn’t come across clearly enough.

      Thanks, Gemma

  9. Rob Hardy

    Not a great fan of OS’s blue symbols, they clutter up the map often hiding important cartography underneath them, they are also often out of date, I have bought just released new editions of maps only to find on walks that pubs resplendently marked in their gigantic blue symbols have been closed for several years. However I can see that some may like their simplicity of use. However I see no need for such a symbol to mark solar farms, these are of no tourist interest, but they do cover a large area, so a variation of the existing glass house symbol which would correctly map their location and the area occupied would seem vastly more appropriate.

  10. Richard

    Are you still looking for ‘cave’ and ‘rock climbing centre’ symbols? I have some ideas which I think you would like, but never got around to entering the competition.

    1. Hi Richard

      The teams are busy working on the six symbols we chose at the moment, but hold on to your ideas – we may have another competition in the future.

      Thanks, Gemma

  11. Pingback : New OS signs | Wildgoose Education Ltd

  12. Pingback : Visualising Solar Farms: FAQ | Blogality

  13. Pingback : Ordnance Survey | PIPPA KANE

  14. Pingback : Visualising Solar Farms: FAQ | True View Visuals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name* :

Email* :