Try OS Maps for free

Psst…did you know you could access OS Maps for free with our seven-day trial? We’re celebrating the full release of our multi-platform map service by giving you the chance to try it out and access maps for the whole of Great Britain.

If you haven’t heard of it before, OS Maps gives casual walkers, ramblers, runners, cyclists, mountaineers and other outdoor adventurers a way to plan and discover Britain. The free app includes our standard and aerial mapping to plot routes on, but with an annual subscription you can unlock a range of extra features – and try them for free for seven days in our trial.

Simulator Screen Shot 25 Apr 2016, 13.23.12The extra features include digital versions of all 607 of our OS Explorer and Landranger paper map titles. You don’t even need a phone signal to use OS Maps and pinpoint your exact location because it uses the much more reliable and accurate GPS. The subscription package includes an off-road sat-nav that covers all 15 of Britain’s National Parks, and can be used to create a safe route in just two clicks. The OS Map app for iOS and Android also comes with almost 500,000 routes preloaded and shared by users.

We released OS Maps into Beta testing last May and it’s been trialled by three quarters of a million people who were invited to feed back thoughts and improvements. Many of those suggestions have been incorporated into the official OS Maps release.

Over the past decade we’ve seen digital mapping in general come a long way, but as soon as you venture away from urban spaces the detail is often lacking. That lack of detail limits possibilities and also presents a safety problem to anyone that solely uses digital mapping to navigate their way through the countryside. With OS Maps we wanted to create a digital map that has the same high standards in detail and design as our paper maps.

Find out more about OS Maps and sign up for the free seven-day trial.

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18 Responses

  1. Stephen Hay

    Whay are there two mappping apps, IE OS Maps and OS Map finder? Is there anyway I cam view all my maps in the same app? OS Maps seems a better app but map finder seems to have better route planning. I am guessing that map finder is goung to be phased out but I don’t want to lose maps that I have paid for.

    1. Hi Stephen

      As you know we have two apps, OS MapFinder and OS Maps.OS MapFinder was developed first, with what was considered cutting edge technology at the time. Technology has now advanced so the SDK (Software development kit) used to develop MapFinder is now considered outdated. OS MapFinder allows customers to purchase 1:25k and 1:50k tiles through their Apple iTunes account (iOS) or Google Play account for use on their compatible iOS or Android devices. The purchases cannot be used cross-platform.

      OS Maps however has been developed with more modern technology and works either with an OS Maps subscription or digital download (linked to the purchase of a paper map) to an account set up on the OS website. This allows users to view the maps cross-platform (on compatible iOS and Android devices) to create a better user experience.

      There are no current plans to withdraw OS MapFinder but if at any time a decision is made, customers will be advised on our policy towards tile transfer at the appropriate time.

      Many thanks

  2. Bob Surtees

    I am very impressed with the app on both browser and android so far and will be subscribing to the full product as I think it is very good value.

    I gather that development is continuing and am glad of that as I cannot see waypoints in Android, am I right in thinking they are not there yet [or cant I find it] ? Also I have not been able to import named waypoints, though routes are fine . Early days I expect.

    One immediate problem – the places in the browser app are poorly described. To test it out I checked out a couple of pubs in my locality and find that it lists one has been closed for 3 years and another changed its name 6 years ago [and is moreover in the wrong place]. Is this the kind of information that the general public will be able to comment on and update in the future ?

    1. Hi Bob

      Thanks for getting in touch, and for the feedback, it’s really useful for the team. I’ve also had a chat with my colleagues in Customer Services and it would be really helpful if you could drop them an email on customerservices@os.uk so that they can look into the waypoint issue a little further as we sadly can’t exchange images or screen grabs via the blog comments. The team could also look into the details of those two pubs and log that for an update.

      Many thanks

    1. Hi Richard

      Not at this time, but we’ll pass your feedback along to the development team for OS Maps. It’s currently available on iOS and Android in app format, plus accessible via web browsers.

      Many thanks

  3. Graham Steel

    I have started a seven day trial of OS Maps. I can see the standard map but not the OS Explorer map on my Android device (the OS Explorer view just appears grey, but if I zoom out far enough I get an outline of the coast). The menu does not show any means to download maps for offline use (other than for the four paper maps for which I have a download code). I am looking for some reassurance that I will get the full OS Explorer maps with the means to download if I take out a paid subscription.

    1. Graham Steel

      So a day later into my seven day trial, I do get the option to download. I am a bit disappointed – it looks like the maximum area that I can download is rather smaller than the area covered by an OS Explorer paper map, although since I had to name the area that I was downloading, I am sure that the app will let me download several such areas. But before I go on holiday, I want to download a large area around where we are staying – in years past, I have needed two or three paper maps for a holiday. What I would really like to be able to do is mark a large area on my computer, name it, and then be able to download the whole of that area onto my mobile device in a single operation.

      1. Hi Graham

        The manual download option in OS Maps is limited to the area of the screen on a mobile device (maps cannot be downloaded on a PC), plus a small buffer. If the wish to save a large area on their device, you will need to download several areas and name them accordingly.

        Many thanks

    2. Hi Graham

      If you click on the ‘change map’ symbol (like 3 sheets of paper) at the bottom right hand side of the OS Maps screen, then click ‘Standard plus OS Leisure Maps’, this should display recognisable mapping. Use the zoom bar at the top right hand side to show either Explorer or Landranger mapping.

      Thanks, Gemma

  4. Jonny Stoll

    I am already an Android mobile user of MapFinder, but am now trying a Premium subscription on OS Maps. Whereas it is easy to see exactly what area I have downloaded on MapFinder, this is not true of OS Maps, where I have to turn off both Wi-Fi and mobile data to see the actual downloaded (offline) map. I can also only view one map at a time, so can’t see whether I have overlapped or left gaps, and it looks like that when I am offline I won’t be able to move seamlessly from one map to another. So far, MapFinder looks much more user friendly. Also,why no “use offline only” option to save running up data connection charges?

    1. Hi Jonny

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are currently developing the Android version of OS Maps so that customers can see which maps are downloaded offline, although we don’t have a release date for this as yet.

      I have passed your suggestion for offline use only to the Product Manager for consideration in a future release.

      Do note that the MapFinder app will remain for you to use and access your purchased map tiles, but we will no longer be updating with new features and content, unlike OS Maps.

      Many thanks

  5. Nick Stott

    Are you aware that OS Maps app (with Premium subscription) does not / cannot zoom in as far as you could with MapFinder app? The MapFinder app (with the 1:25k tile purchased) can zoom in very close with excellent map clarity. This matters when you’re needing to see some small map detail. The OS Map image on full zoom is just beginning to blur. Can this be fixed?? OS Maps is meant to be the latest and best app. And MapFinder (even though it still works) is no longer getting updates. This seems to be a backwards step. Advice?? And as we can’t use the subscription for MapFinder, I am reluctant to purchase maps twice just so I get the best zoom resolution.

    1. Hi Nick

      Thank you for your feedback about a zoom capability in the OS Maps app. I’ve run this past my colleagues in Customer Services and they’ve passed along the following information for you:

      Currently, due to the Software Development Kit (SDK) used in the OS Maps App, a deeper zoom level is not available in Android devices compared to Apple devices. I am aware that our developers are looking at this for possible future updates to see if the zoom level could be increased as the Android platform matures for a wider range of devices and screen sizes.

      As an organisation we greatly appreciate feedback such as this as it helps us to further improve the products and services that we offer. Please be reassured I have forwarded your email to the relevant development team for their interest.

      Whilst they will not contact you direct they will look at your comments alongside feedback from other customers when looking at how to evolve the OS Maps app. We do appreciate the time and trouble you have spent in communicating this to us.

      You may like to know that the Android device does have a magnification gesture available within the device that will zoom in for you when using any app on your device. Please see instructions below:

      Zoom increase for Android Platform (if you are on an Apple device the same functionality is also available under the ‘Accessibility’ settings too).
      The maximum zoom level depends on the exact device you are using, but most devices will give a size similar to a printed map. At times, it can be helpful to be able to zoom in further to see fine details. Fortunately, all recent versions of Android include a really useful function to do this.
      Turn on zoom: In Android go into ‘Settings’ > ‘Accessibility’ > ‘Magnification Gestures’ and turn it ‘ON’. It may appear in slightly different places on some devices.
      Use in OS Maps: Zoom in as far as you can normally. Then triple-tap the screen to turn on the Accessibility Zoom. A yellow border will appear, and you can use pinch to zoom to decrease or increase the magnification level, and swipes to move around. Triple-tap again to turn it off.
      Bonus: You can use the zoom function in almost any app or screen to make it easier to see detail.
      Kind regards

  6. Nicandro Porcelli

    Hello, It would be good if I could add and use the paper Explorer Maps I bought on the windows 10 laptop to plan routes as well as the iPhone 7 App. This does not appear possible.

  7. peter wood

    hi, Using iPhone , if I lock onto 1:25000 and zoom out to maximum (before it switches to road map) and then save as offline map does it save that whole area on scale 1:25000? is it the same on the Android App? I have iPhone and my daughter Samsung.

    1. Jocelyn

      Peter, thanks for your query. Yes, your custom offline download will include all of the 1:25 000 scale mapping in the area, regardless of what platform you’re on. In fact, whether you zoom out far enough to see the road map or not, all scales of mapping are downloaded. Hope this helps, Jocelyn

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