Top 10 blog stories of 2015

With a fortnight left to go in 2015, we thought we’d take a look back at the year and see which blog stories piqued your interest. We’ll countdown from 10-1 on the top mappy and geo-based blogs:

  1. New OS OpenData products launched

In March we added four new products to our OS OpenData portfolio. OS Open Map – Local, OS Open Names, OS Open Rivers and OS Open Roads have proved popular so far and offer you increased detail and accuracy and the opportunity for analytics. They are fully customisable and can work together or be imported and integrated with your own software and database. In June we also released a simple guide for OS Open Map – Local to help users get the most out of it.


  1. Mapping out the Southampton Blitz

This year marked the 75th anniversary of the Southampton Blitz. We marked the occasion by showcasing our map that shows the bombs dropped on the city of Southampton at the peak of the Blitz on the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, destroying many properties and damaging hundreds more – including our former head office on London Road.

The Southampton Blitz map we produced in 2010

The Southampton Blitz map we produced in 2010


  1. New OS Explorer maps released

This year we released a new range of our OS Explorer maps and for the first time ever, they all now come with a mobile download. This allows you to get a copy of your paper map on your Android or Apple device via our OS Maps app. The map is saved to the device memory, so will work even when you have no mobile phone signal, and includes useful features like pinpointing your location, route recording and a compass. New OS Landranger maps with a mobile download will be out in 2016.


  1. 79 years of the trig pillar

We’re still basking in the glow of the trig pillar love you shared with us on their 79th anniversary back in April. We were overwhelmed with all of the photos you shared with us. Watch this space to find out what we have planned for the 80th anniversary next year…


  1. 5 safety tips for walkers

There was a glut of stories about people getting lost in the British countryside this summer, and the common theme amongst the stories was an increasing reliance on electronic devices and lack of basic map-reading skills and preparation. We wanted to do our bit to ease the load on the amazing teams that help keep us safe, read these five safety tips for walkers.


  1. OS Photofit competition

We are still stunned by the amazing reaction to our OS Photofit competition, which launched back in February. So many of you wanted the chance to see your photos on the cover of our maps. From an enormous 15,000 entries we, alongside several guest judges, eventually whittled down the winners for each of the 615 paper maps that needed new cover photos.

Thank you again. Follow our Instagram feed to see a daily OS Photofit winner to give you some #GetOutside inspiration.

#OSPhotofit (6)


  1. What is a GPX file?

In any discussion of routes, navigation or GPS devices, you have probably seen people mentioning ‘GPX files’. GPX is shorthand for GPS eXchange Format and is a type of file that’s really helpful to anyone who loves the outdoors, and is the most popular way of saving and exchanging routes.


  1. Map symbol competition on The One Show

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


  1. Map reading guides

We ran a six-week blog series on map reading skills after teaming up with Steve Backshall to record a series of videos to remind you of the basics and help you feel confident with your map. Brush up on your skills now!


  1. Map colouring-in for cities across Britain

We regularly hear from OS map fans who can happily spend hours poring over maps. That, and the fact that the networks of roads, rivers and buildings that form the towns and cities of Britain make some complex and detailed patterns – made us wonder if it would be fun to colour them in too…We customised some extracts of our OS OpenData products to create a perfect adult colouring in environment, check out the seven cities across Britain that you can print off and colour in.




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