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.
We have genuinely loved seeing all of the fantastic trig pillar photos that you’ve been sharing with us as we celebrate the 80th year of the trig. Across Twitter and Instagram you’ve sent in an amazing 1,656 entries of trigs across Britain. We highly recommend going and checking some of the entries out.
Our final winners have been picked and all of our T-shirts have now been given away. Check out the final winners below, and see all of the winners in our blog post.
Hands up if you’re looking for some free family activities over the summer holidays? We thought so…how about a spot of trig bagging to get the family outside? This year we’ve been celebrating the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar, those concrete pillars that are often found at the top of hills and create a handy photo opportunity.
Once a key part of our surveying network, and since superseded by GNSS, they stand tall and mark the summit of many a walk. With around 6,000 still standing around Britain you stand a fair chance of spotting one when you’re out exploring, and you can spot them on your map as the small blue triangle with a dot in the centre.
It’s not every day that we hear from one of our Licensed Partners that they’re about to appear on Dragon’s Den, pitching their map product to the panel. But David Overton of SplashMaps did just that, and we caught up with him last week, ahead of the broadcast. David couldn’t tell us the outcome at the time, but if you watched last night you’ll know that he put in a strong pitch, but sadly didn’t receive any funding. Find out more about SplashMaps and our Partner programme from David…
If you haven’t come across us before, SplashMaps makes wearable, washable, all-weather printed maps that can be customised for any part of Britain, and beyond. We set up in December 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea and used OS OpenData to print the first wearable maps of Britain’s National Parks.
Former Geovation Challenge winners Mission:Explore are launching a new book to coincide with National Parks Week. The new adventure book is packed with challenges for children to try out, perfect to encourage the family to #GetOutside with Mission:Explore and explore Britain’s 15 National Parks.
Mission:Explore National Parks is a collaboration with National Parks UK that challenges children and their families to become extreme explorers, natural navigators and wildlife watchers. Each member of the National Park UK family is a unique place, suited for discovery, curiosity and creativity – ideal to #GetOutside and explore.
There are 49 weird and wonderful missions to tackle, ranging from eating like a local to creating puddle maps or navigating by the stars. We caught up with #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall recently and put him to the challenge, take a look:
We often talk about safety tips to help you #GetOutside in the winter, but there are some equally important things to think about for summer safety in the great outdoors. More of us are inspired to explore in the summer, and particularly with our families over the summer holidays, so follow these summer safety tips from #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall to keep safe when you’re out and about.
Most of us are reliant on a GPS in our day to day life – whether it’s following the reassuring voice directing us around a traffic jam or grabbing our phone for a quick check that we’re walking in the right direction in a new city. Many now rely solely on GPS for navigating in the hills too. But what happens when GPS fails? It’s something that walkers near Benbecula are likely to experience next month…
Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system owned by the US government. GPS was originally intended for military use, but in the 1980s the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS will work in most weather (although space weather can impact – see our previous blog on solar flares), across the world, 24/7. Something that we all benefit from today.
However, the military can (and do) jam GPS signals for their own priorities, such as military exercises. The communications watchdog Ofcom issued a warning recently about GPS jamming due to take place for periods between 1 and 29 July while aircraft crews train over a military range on Benbecula. In these circumstances, would you be able to navigate?
Whether you’re planning some gentle rambles with the family, dipping your toe into the world of navigation for the first time, or looking for a serious #GetOutside challenge, chances are that OS can help you along the way. We have a whole host of tools, products and services, many of them brand new, to make your #GetOutside adventure easier.
New Three Peaks Challenge map
Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon attract around 700,000 visitors each year with 30,000 of those visiting to complete the Three Peaks Challenge. Most challengers are aiming to climb England, Scotland and Wales’ highest three peaks in 24 hours, generally timing their walks between April and October each year.
To lighten the load, we’ve worked with the Three Peaks Partnership to create the Three Peaks Challenge map to make it easier, safer and more enjoyable for individuals to take part in the Challenge. Using our OS Explorer map data, the map is divided into four areas, three sections mapping the peaks and the fourth section is a road map covering all three locations. The map provides challengers with all the mapping they need in one place. Rather than carrying three maps, only one is needed and it includes a recommended route, plus co-ordinates for the start of the routes. Find out more on our website.
New OS compasses available
Northumberland National Park are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and volunteer David Wilson is walking the entire length of the National Park, non-stop, later this week to celebrate. On Friday, David will be showcasing the varied landscape of Northumberland National Park throughout his 28-hour trek, following a route created with OS data and being tracked on an OS map embedded on the Park’s website.
David will be setting off from the north of the Park at 7am on Friday 27 May and is hoping to arrive at the Walltown site at the southern-most tip of the Park at 10am on 28 May on his non-stop trek. The final route was created with the help of National Park GIS Officer Ed Hudspeth, using the OS data he has access to. Covering almost 70 miles the route covers stunning areas of the Park, including Yeavering Bell, Newton Tors, Cheviot and Hadrian’s Wall. It also covers the practical areas and takes in places that allow David access to food, water and other supplies.
We’ve been thrilled at your response to our #TrigPillar80 celebrations over the last month and are loving looking at all of the photos you’ve been sharing with us on Twitter and Instagram. We’ve also heard from some of you who are on a trig bagging challenge. Here, Gerry McGarry tells us more about his geocaching and trig adventures…
Over the last couple of years, I have visited geocaches that have been hidden close to trig pillars. This led me to investigate trig pillars and I discovered some interesting sites on the internet, especially trigpointingUK. I then discovered that there is more to old Ordnance Survey markers than the pillars and encountered bolts, rivets and other interesting OS markers. Close to the end of 2015, I noticed that I had found 85 pillars during that year and I upped my game and bagged exactly 100 pillars during 2015.