What if there was a network of off-road walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities? OS GetOutside Champion Dan Raven-Ellison tells us more about the Slow Ways hack in this guest blog.
A few years ago, when planning a route between Salisbury and Winchester, I started to wonder…
There are over 200,000 km of public rights of way, but there isn’t a comprehensive network designed to help people walk off-road between Britain’s towns and cities.
On 1 February 100 people are taking part in a hack day to change this – and you are invited to help.
Having OS Maps downloaded to a mobile phone came in very handy for a walker who found himself completely stuck in mud on a cliff bank near Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire.
Aged 20, Barney Lee was seven weeks into a 6,000 mile-charity walk around the coast of Britain when he arrived at a beach between Barton and Highcliffe. Hoping to find a shortcut for the Mudeford ferry to Bournemouth, Barney followed footprints along a track which became wilder and less clear.
Back in May, we supported the launch of Places of Poetry with a blog about the project with details on how our mapping is involved. Led by poet and Radio 4 regular Paul Farley and academic Professor Andrew McRae, to celebrate National Poetry Day Andrew has kindly written a guest blog for us…
Thousands of subscribers to OS Maps have been out in force wandering the streets of London over the summer months – providing some revealing insights for us here at OS.
So many of you have poured out of tube stations, alighted from buses and spilled out of car parks to get outside and enjoy the majesty, wonder and gorgeous green space of London.
Thousands of journeys have been unselfishly logged, recorded and shared as routes in the phone and web app, whether that be cycle routes, gentle strolls or epic walks. And the data has thrown up some interesting results.
The number one place to start a walk in London this year – and end it – was Richmond station.
Top ten places in London where people start a route
If you’re a fan of old maps, you might have seen some of Ellis Martin’s work. The map cover artwork in the 1920s and ‘30s was often created by Ellis Martin, who joined OS in 1919. Those maps with Martin’s distinctive drawings helped establish OS as a leading outdoors brand, something worth celebrating 100 years on.
With the anniversary already in mind, it was quite a coincidence to receive an email saying: “When clearing out a relative’s house, I came across a painting done by the artist who illustrated your map covers, Ellis Martin.”
Today is the 83rd anniversary of the first use of an Ordnance Survey trig pillar, so the perfect time to catch up with Britain’s top trig-bagger, Rob Woodall, on his latest achievement.
I bagged my final Welsh trig pillar in 2008 – sort of. At that time, I counted 660 trig pillars still surviving in Wales, and Red Hill, S6561, east of Builth Wells was my last, on a blustery August day. We celebrated with a Balvenie single malt (somehow not a Penderyn).
But had I really finished? The OS originally built 684 pillars in Wales – what about the others? At that time, I was focused on extant pillars, trying to get around as many trigs as I could before they were lost to housing developments, road construction, farming operations and the like. I’d visited all the remaining English, Isle of Man and Scottish pillars by 2016, so it was time to think about visiting the remaining vacant trig sites. Some were simply in-situ replacements, the pillars being rebuilt on the same site, with the same flush bracket or occasionally a new one. Sites that used to have a trig pillar, aren’t inherently as interesting to the bagger as those where there’s something to look for, but the scenery is still there (if it hasn’t been built on), and in some cases, the pillars weren’t quite as dead as we thought:
It’s 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that began the family of National Parks in Great Britain, and our GeoDataViz team have created a stunning poster to showcase the varied landscapes of our 15 beautiful National Parks.
You can buy this poster in the OS Map Shop
Covering a combined area of 23,138 km2 (that’s around 10% of Great Britain and an area slightly larger than Wales) the National Parks offer us a stunning variety of landscapes to explore. With two parks in Scotland, three in Wales and ten in England, they’re accessible to many of us, no matter where we live.
As expert map readers will know, when you’re out and about navigating with a compass, there is a difference between magnetic north (where the compass points) and grid north (the vertical blue grid lines shown on OS maps). And if you’re exploring in the west of Great Britain, there is a change to be aware of…
The difference between magnetic north and grid north is often referred to as grid magnetic angle and it not only varies from place to place, but changes with time too, and needs to be taken into account when navigating with a map and compass.
In 2014 there was a significant event in the changing direction of magnetic north relative to grid north on OS maps. For the first time in Great Britain since the 1660s, magnetic north moved from being to the west of grid north to the east. The change started in the very south west corner of Britain, currently affects the areas to the west of the line on our map, and will slowly progress across the whole country over the next 12 to 13 years.
Our OS Maps users created over 300,000 public routes across Great Britain in 2018 (covering some 2,950,000 miles…) and we were curious to see where you most (and least) enjoy exploring. Our Data Scientist Andrew Radburn set to work analysing the data before our Data Visualisation expert Charley Glynn set to work to showcase the results.
Analysing OS Maps route data
OL17, our OS Explorer map for Snowdon is being launched today with a brand new cover, following a photo competition to be on the cover of the map. Amy Pennington from Cheltenham took the winning photo which now features on our best-selling map.
Our Snowdon map is consistently a top-seller and the area often features as the area with the most routes plotted in OS Maps too. With Wales’ tallest mountain to scale and the stunning Snowdonia National Park surrounding it, it’s easy to see why the area is so popular. The National Park was the third created in Great Britain, in 1951, following the National Parks Act in 1949, 70 years ago.
We decided to replace the map cover as it was due for a reprint, and after the success of our huge OS Photofit map cover competition in 2015, decided to open it up to the public and GetOutside fans again. We had a tough job choosing the winner, but Amy’s photo really captured the year-round beauty of the mountains.