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Once a key part of our surveying network, and since superseded by GNSS, they stand tall and mark the summit of many a walk.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.
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?
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.
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.
First things first, a massive thank you to everyone who has joined in with our #TrigPillar80 celebrations over the last week or so. We’ve been thrilled that so many of you share our loved and appreciation for the trig pillar, and particularly with the hundreds of people who have shared their favourite trig pillar photos with us on Twitter and Instagram so far.
If you missed it last week, catch up on our celebrations, find out about the inner workings of a trig pillar, read about how we survey today, meet Britain’s top trig-bagger, and try out some trig pillar routes recommended by our #GetOutside champions.
But now it’s time to announce the first four winners of our #TrigPillar80 T-shirts…
Week eighteen #TrigPillar80 T-shirt winners – 22/08/16
Adventure Awaits, and its often cold, wet and windy… ☔🌁 #ascendancyapparel #isleofskye #trigpillar80 #skiesoverskye #canoncamera #wanderfolk #exploremore #hikingandhappiness #isleofskyeofficial #backpacking #travelling #photographerlifestyle #visitbritain #scotland #ig_explorer #hikingadventures #digitaledit #britishproblems
A photo posted by Zak Smith (@zak_t_yak) on
— CornishWalker (@jimpy368) August 21, 2016
— Joanne Davey (@JdaveyDavey) August 19, 2016
— Daron linney (@hillwalker66) August 18, 2016
Week seventeen #TrigPillar80 T-shirt winners – 15/08/16
— Kate Somervail (@bluebunkle) August 8, 2016
— Chris Sweetman (@ChrisAFRIN) August 8, 2016
A photo posted by Raspberry Thief (@raspberrythief) on
Because it’s #trigpointwednesday, right @northbound_driftwood?! Mini diversion from the North Downs Way to visit this one on Sunday. . . . #trigpillar80 #neverstopexploring #neverstoplondon #itrainfor #maxyourdays #trailrunning #squadgoals #totem #marathontraining #northdownsway #ndw #getoutside #gooutside #outdoorwomenuk #outdoorwomen
A photo posted by Jen Slater (@eclecticcake) on