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.
If our blog series on map reading skills whetted your appetite, why not sign up for a map reading workshop this summer? We’ve teamed up with Cotswold Outdoor and they’re hosting 15 sessions at stores across Britain.
The workshops are free to attend and are delivered by Ordnance Survey experts, one of our talented field team will present at each session. The workshops are aimed at beginners and we want you to leave with the confidence to enjoy exploring the outdoors with a map and compass.
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.
Guest blog by OS Running Club Chairman Baz Newman
The Lordshill 10k has been going for quite a few years now and is put on by the Lordshill Road Runners running club but for the past three years it has been run from OS head office.
The race is a 10,000 metre route from OS, out into Nursling and then onto Lee before coming back on yourself and running through Nursling and coming down Redbridge Lane to the finish at the OS flagpole.
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
Week sixteen #TrigPillar80 T-shirt winners – 08/08/16
In case you missed it, we’ve been celebrating #TrigPillar80 this week, marking 80 years since the lovely trig pillar was first used to help us map out Britain. Although we no longer need the trig pillar to map the country, now using newer technology, the trig pillar remains as a British icon, guiding the way for explorers of the great outdoors.
#GetOutside and bag a trig pillar
The trig pillar can now be seen in many a photo, showcasing the British countryside and marking the high point of a walk. We asked our #GetOutside champions whether they had a favourite trig pillar to bag when out walking, fell-running and cycling and they came up trumps with some real beauties. From the wonderfully named Doughnot Hill in Scotland, to the Isle of Man to Dartmoor, our champions picked their best spot to bag a trig.
While there are many trig-baggers out there, trig-bagger extraordinaire Rob Woodall completed his 13-year mission to bag all of Britain’s trig pillars last weekend in Fife.
He’s bagged 6,190 trig pillars in that period, a seriously impressive achievement. We joined his final trig-bagging expedition to Benarty Hill and awarded him a mounted flush bracket to mark the moment.