Looking ahead to New Year’s Resolutions for 2017? Trying to decide how to work off those Christmas calories? How about walking? Getting outside and walking in Britain is free, easy and accessible to most of us.
We’ve already seen 2016 prove to be a big year for the outdoor enthusiast with the nation either donning their running shoes or walking boots to #GetOutside.
With the year coming to an end we’ve taken a look back at the most popular destinations searched by walkers on our popular OS Maps online service. An amazing 1.4 million destination searches were carried out via our online version of OS Maps in 2016. So, where were people hoping to explore?
With just over two weeks to go until Christmas, we started thinking about our favourite Christmas place names around Great Britain. Take a look and let us know of any others we should add to the list…
From Cold Christmas (Hertfordshire) and Christmas Cross (Shropshire) to Holly Green (Worcestershire) and Ivy Tree (Cumbria), there are places scattered across the country where it feels like Christmas all year round – even if only in name.
It’s December, so we feel safe mentioning the ‘C’ word and sharing our 5 favourite Christmas gifts for the map lover in your life. Grab some inspiration here:
1. The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain
Relax this Christmas and take an immersive colouring trip across the country, from coasts and forests to our iconic cities and landmarks. The latest addition to the colouring-in craze puts the intricate detail our maps on the page, ready for you either restore them to their original colour scheme – or add your own abstract creative touch! Practice some mindfulness and colour in or simply pore over the maps: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/great-british-colouring-book.html
2. OS Custom Made
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one of our Custom Made maps tells a story. You can put your memories – where you were born, where you met, where you live –at the centre of one of our maps. You can choose a folded map at OS Explorer or OS Landranger map scale, add your own photo and title and centre it wherever you like. Or pick a unique flat map that can be framed and hung on the wall – still with your own title and centred where you choose. For the first time this year, we’re also offering a canvas version for you to hang on your wall. Custom Made map prices start at £16.99, take a look: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/custom-made-maps.html
3. OS clothing collection
You may have heard that we teamed up with publishers Laurence King to release a new book, The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain. And it’s out today!
One year on from our release of a series of downloadable colouring-in maps created using OS OpenData, comes a full book of OS maps to colour. The book will take you on an immersive colouring-in journey around Great Britain, from the coasts and forests to the towns and countryside. Expect to see iconic cities, recognisable tourist spots and historical locations across England, Scotland and Wales via the 55 illustrations. It also includes a stunning gatefold of London.
We recently collaborated with YHA to create a stunning new display for their Youth Hostel in Castleton. The display offers visitors a variety of routes to help them #GetOutside and explore the stunning countryside that surrounds the hostel.
At the centre of the display is a large 3D contour map of the area which contains some topographic detail and local points of interest. There are six routes shown on the map using coloured pins and string which makes for a really striking, tactile display.
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.
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?