Whether it’s people buying the essential maps and outdoor equipment to help them enjoy the great outdoors, or searching for the perfect gift, our online store is attracting shoppers from around the world. The shop, which opened in 1999, has sold items to people in 40 countries, including Panama, Madagascar, Mexico, Sierra Leone and Guatemala. That’s around 20% of the countries around the world!
The green shading denotes the countries who have bought from the OS shop this year
We all know that getting outside for a walk is great for both our physical and mental well-being, but did you know that having a good belly-laugh can provide another boost to wellness? We’re supporting Solent Mind as our corporate charity, raising funds to support better mental health, so the prospect of a charity comedy gig with a map theme during #NationalMapReadingWeek was irresistible.
Comedy performer Helen Wood came to our attention this summer, when she was performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as Helen’s show explored one of her passions, OS maps. The eight performances of ‘The OS Map Fan Club’, were sold out at Edinburgh.
Helen is performing her solo show at our Southampton head office on Monday 16 October at 7pm. Space is limited, so booking is necessary, and attendees are asked to make a minimum donation of £5 on the night to gain access. To reserve your place email email@example.com.
By Tim Newman, Consumer Product Manager
For over a decade, OS has been active in the field of augmented reality – proving the concept back in 2006 with a thought-leading paper on Mobile Augmented Reality, and more recently prototyping 3D maps of Mars, and creating a navigation app for a Shoreditch basement. We’re now really excited to be using this augmented reality technology to introduce a new feature for OS Maps.
The recently released AR feature will help users learn about their surroundings by labelling and categorising the features around them, finally overcoming the big limitation of maps on mobile: the small screen. Have you ever looked out over a stunning vista and found yourself struggling to identify a hill or work out how far it was to the town below you? Now you can simply hold up your smartphone to find out what you’re looking at and how far away it is. If a place catches your interest, just tap on the label to find out more about it.
This fun and informative new feature was made possible by combining sensor data from the phone with OS data of over 200,000 hills, mountains, coastal features, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and areas of woodland. As a company of data experts, it’s fantastically rewarding to make use of our data to help make the outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe. This is what motivates the team and, combined with the great feedback we get from users, drives us to continue improving OS Maps – so keep your eyes peeled for the next bunch of features we’re working on to make it easier than ever to plan your time outdoors. There’s never been a better time to open up OS Maps and GetOutside!
To find out more about AR head to https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/ar/.
Stay tuned to the blog to learn from Layla Gordon in the tech labs team about how it works and the exciting projects that she’s developing with augmented reality.
Some of you may remember Rob Woodall, we shared his story in 2016 as he completed a 13-year mission to bag 6,190 trig pillars across Great Britain. Not content with that, Rob’s now added all 201 fundamental benchmarks (FBM – see photo below) to his haul. Rob fills us in on his challenge and talks about other OS survey marks he likes to bag along the way…
My first FBM was Wolsingham in lovely Weardale, in 2004. A group of us get together once a year, and that year the gathering was hosted by a couple who live in Wolsingham and they put together an itinerary which included trig pillars (my main interest at the time) and also mysterious things such as non-pillar flush brackets (NPFBs, which are FBs on structures other than pillars, such as houses, churches, bridges etc) – and the local fundamental benchmark. So I started ticking off NPFBs and FBMs too.
It’s taken 13 and a half years to bag 201 FBMs (including all but 6 of the destroyed ones – which I’ll get round to eventually) – coincidentally about the same time it took to bag 6,190 trig pillars – which is not great productivity. However, the last two were Patrington (which we all thought was destroyed until it turned up in 2016 when the householder took out a big laurel tree in their garden) – and Windsor Castle which we all assumed was out of bounds. Eventually a friend sent off a letter to the Royal Collection Trust to see if we could visit the FBM, and the answer was yes! – provided HRH was away at the time. So with no particular plan, I ended up finishing the list this year.
Did you know that OS Maps subscribers added over 400,000 routes to the service over the last 12 months? We’ve analysed the (almost) 400,000 public routes and found that Snowdon bags the top spot for most routes created.
We broke the country down into square kilometres and counted the number of routes passing through each square, and while Snowdon topped this list, the Edale area of the Peak District grabbed 6 of the top 10 spots, with the Lake District taking the remaining places.
Did you know that our Partner A-Z Maps is also the official mapping partner for the National Trails of England and Wales? They reproduce our 1:25,000 data (as used in our own OS Explorer maps) to cover the 16 long distance paths that are official National Trails. Ideal if you have a long distance summer adventure planned!
Their A-Z Adventure Series is in a convenient book format with an index to places of interest, towns, villages and features. Their books cover nearly all the 15 National Trails, and they’re aiming to complete the set by autumn 2017. Latest releases include the Norfolk Coast Path and the Yorkshire Wolds Way.
Yes, there are 607 OS paper maps of Great Britain for you to choose from, but did you know there are also infinite Custom Made maps you can order? Tens of thousands of you have already put your Custom Made map orders in, creating enough map areas to cover the moon three times, an amazing 111.5 million km2 of Britain printed on your maps.
If you’re a regular blog reader, it will be no surprise to hear us talking about safety. We launched National Map Reading Week last year and talk about safety tips every single year. So you can imagine how dismayed we were to read this:
When you also know that Mountain Rescue England & Wales (MREW) attended 1,812 callouts last year, up 170 on 2015, and that 500 of those callouts were avoidable, and reasons include people getting lost…then you can see why we keep talking about safety.
We’ve teamed up with MREW to make the great outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe for all, by encouraging everyone to be more mindful and better prepared when heading outside. Why? Because MREW’s 2016 callout figures showed incidents to be up for the fourth year running. And our own survey of 2,000 outdoors enthusiasts revealed 76% of British recreational walkers and hikers do not properly plan their route or what to pack in preparation of their walk/hike.