Hands up if you’d like a chance to top up your navigation skills! For the first time we’re holding a National Map Reading Week to help you stay safe when you #GetOutside. From 17-23 October, there will be map reading workshops and a host of fantastic resources, from videos to handy guides, readily available on our site.
Why are we holding a National Map Reading Week?
We always want you to stay safe when you’re out and about exploring Britain, but news stories over the summer talking about an increase in Mountain Rescue callouts started us thinking. While we still sell 1.9 million paper maps each year, we know more and more people rely on GPS devices and apps to navigate, we even have our own app, OS Maps. But – for safety reasons, we would always recommend carrying a paper map, a compass, and knowing how to navigate. It really could be a life-saver.
Our survey says…
With all of those mappy thoughts swirling around, we commissioned a survey, and 2,000 adults across Britain took part. People were asked to plot various locations, from cities to National Parks on an outline map of Britain and we were pretty surprised at the results. Some 40% of people struggled to pinpoint London and only 14% could accurately plot Edinburgh’s location.
And it was a similar story for Snowdonia and the Peak District. Despite this the survey found that 86% of people felt they had a fairly good sense of direction, and more than half claimed their knowledge of geographical locations was Britain is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Even more worrying to us, just 40% of those surveyed felt they could confidently read a map with 10% never having used a paper map.
How can OS help with map reading skills?
The survey results reinforced the idea that a National Map Reading Week was long overdue. We teamed up with Sean Conway, our brilliant #GetOutside ambassador and endurance adventurer to spread the word it. Having run, cycled and swum the length of Britain’s coastline recently, he knows a thing or two about using our maps to get about!
We already have some fantastic map reading resources if you can’t wait until October to get cracking. We have a whole series of videos with Steve Backshall to take you through the basics of navigation. We have blogs with more detail and some brilliant booklets with exercises to try out too. Take a look in the meantime, and keep an eye on this page to find out more about our National Map Reading Week plans.
Want to know more about the survey? This was just a sneak peek. We’ll be sharing more insights from 17 October. Watch this space.