OS after ‘A Very British Map’

Did you watch the great Timeshift on BBC4 last night about OS? A Very British Map: The Ordnance Survey Story told the tale of how we’ve mapped every square mile of Britain for the last 224 years. It covered our military origins through to how our leisure maps have helped people discover and explore the countryside and beyond. 


As mentioned towards the end of the programme, while we may be best known for our paper maps, they now account for just 5% of our business. Our location data has woven itself into the fabric of our everyday lives across Great Britain. We produce digital map data, online route planning and sharing services and mobile apps, plus many other location-based products so you know exactly where you are.

Find out more about OS today in this video:

If you didn’t get a chance to watch Timeshift last night, you can catch up on iPlayer for a whole hour of mappiness. It’s also being re-shown on BBC4 on 14 September at 00.30. You don’t just have to take our words for it being worthwhile either, The Guardian called it, “…a study in excellence and the beauty of excellence. Geometry met artistry and created something wonderful.” Go on, watch it now!


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8 Responses

  1. Derek

    I have it recorded but am summoning up the courage to deal with the unbearable vocals of Nicolas Crane. Please tell me he doesn’t narrate the whole thing.

    1. Hi Derek

      Sorry to hear that you’re not a fan. It’s a great programme about the history of OS maps and definitely worth a watch – but we would say that!

      Thanks, Gemma

  2. Do ppl. remember the company that actually produced these maps.!

    Taylor Woodrow, Taymal in Greenford, Middlesex, etc…

    They used Lites-II, software and even an old fashioned digitzing process called blind digitizing!

    I myself speciallized in 1-In-1250 and 1-In-2500 scale.

    Lovely maps we produced.

    Also; photogrammetry by Blom. (See. operation crossbow.)

    Also; by BBC.

  3. But; on a less stern note,

    I must admit that I loved the recent BBC-4 programs:-

    “A very British Map; -The OS story.”

    And am an avid fan of Nicolas Crane and the “Coast” programs.

    Also; I have owned the ‘Mike Parker’ books for years now.

    Even before the recent TV programs have aired.

    Yours more balancedly;


  4. Fiona

    It was a brilliant programme and brought back so many memories.
    I was a cartographer at OS for fifteen years and to see all the production equipment we used to use, was so nostalgic. Even the digitising, that we were trained to do, looks so old fashioned, now.

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