How OS Custom Made maps have evolved

Custom Made maps helped revive traditional OS paper maps during lockdown

3 minute read
Since then more and more map lovers have turned to personalised maps for pocket-sized adventures or to hang on their walls.

For years sales of OS paper maps have remained relatively static. Every so often ‘the end of the paper map’ is predicted, with the next technological advancement or trend set to render them obsolete. But the fact they don’t run out of battery, reception, or affection from map lovers has seen them remain in the hands of outdoor enthusiasts on trails, paths and mountain tops all over Britain.

A further trend which has helped maintain paper-maps’ popularity have been Custom Made maps. First made available by OS in 2016, these maps allow someone to personalise their very own OS Explorer or Landranger map. They can add a front cover image they choose themselves. Bought online via the OS shop, all a Custom Made map requires is the postcode for a home address, or name of a village or town, and this becomes the centre point of a unique foldable OS map. It quickly proved popular as a quirky gift idea, with locations centred on favourite holiday beauty spots, much loved dog walks, places where marriage proposals were made and other unique personal experiences. In addition, canvas and framed versions were created so people could hang their favourite map locations on their walls at home.



Sales of Custom Made maps exploded during lockdown in 2020, with an increase of 144% compared to the year before. People living under Covid travel restrictions turned to them as a way of exploring from their front door and navigating local paths and cycle routes, particularly in urban areas. A year later, in 2021, there was a further 28% increase. This coincided with restrictions easing, as Custom Made maps centred on hotspots such as National Parks rose in demand.

Extended range

Last September OS extended its range of Custom Made maps to meet customer demand. Smaller A3 size folded maps, available in both Explorer (1:25k) and Landranger (1:50k) scales were produced. These micro versions are easier to fold and handle and are a perfect introduction to maps, complete with a back cover that features the basics of map reading information.

For the framed (and mounted) versions, medium (A2) and small (A3 maps) with the map legend taken out have been introduced. These versions were modified for display purposes, with personalised texts and messaging given space and prominence so customers can modify them themselves.

A new black frame is also now available for all framed products, where previously the only option was an oak finish.

Finally, for map lovers who want a map zoomed in on a tighter scale, framed Explorer maps are available at 1:10k scale. This option is for wall display only and gives someone the option of focusing upon a location in a much closer perspective.

This week, map lovers can make the most of a Black Friday 10% off offer on all Custom Made maps in the OS shop. This offer is available until Monday 28 November. Visit the OS Shop to take advantage.

Plus there is a free one-month OS Maps subscription with every Custom Made order. Instructions will be emailed within 24 hours of any purchase.

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By Press Office

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