National Parks 70 anniversary photo competition

In 2019, we created a poster to commemorate 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that began the family of National Parks in Great Britain. This year, we are holding a competition to celebrate the 70 anniversary of two of their oldest landscapes – the Lake District and Dartmoor National Park.

In August 2020, we looked at the top OS Maps walking spots since the easing of the first Covid-19 lockdown. We were not surprised to see that the top 10 routes were all based in National Parks, with the Lake District claiming an impressive 6 of them.

Great Britain’s National Parks have always been popular places to visit, but the challenges of 2020 have truly reinforced their value and highlighted the importance of greenspace. What better way to celebrate them than featuring your brilliant photos on the covers!

The competition

Lake District landscape

Lake District landscape.

We have teamed up with our friends at the Lake District and Dartmoor National Parks to find two front cover images for the new edition OS Explorer maps for both parks. Read More


5 books for OS map fans

Wondering what to get the map-lover in your life this Christmas? Thinking that they have more than enough maps packing their shelves? How about books about maps, loving maps, walking the countryside and more?

We’ve come up with five books that all mention Ordnance Survey and are, to some degree, about OS, maps and/or exploring beautiful Britain. Plus, there’s the chance to win a copy of one of these books below…

To research Map Addict, Mike visited the most boring OS grid square in the land, followed OS founder William Roy’s eighteenth century base line across west London, explored England’s feudal nugget, Rutland, and spent the summer solstice in Milton Keynes, in order to test the theory that it is built to a pagan alignment. What more could you need to know?

Described as ‘not quite a book about walking’, Tom Cox’s excellent new book nevertheless shines with a love of the British countryside, alongside folklore and the odd badger. Research for the book often saw Tom out walking with OS map in hand, whether in Devon, Norfolk, the Peak District or beyond. There’s also a handy reminder about not using out-of-date maps in case of ‘erosion-themed death’. We won’t spoil the book by telling you any more… Read More


Win a map of Ancient Britain

We’re lucky in Great Britain to live in an area packed with ancient monuments and archaeological sites. And it can add a twist to your weekend #GetOutside adventures to plan a walk that takes in one of these sites. From Avebury’s Neolithic stone circles to Caerleon’s Roman amphitheatre to Glen Elg’s Iron Age brochs, the whole country has fantastic historic sites available.

One of the OS Historical map series, our Ancient Britain map provides an overview of thousands of years of history. Part map and part historical guide, the whole of Great Britain is covered in a double-sided sheet. It includes a list of key dates, events and archaeological evidence. Sites and museums are listed along with recommended reading for more information on the period. Read More


OS Flying Unit now in print

Our Flying Unit has been immortalised by the iconic Squadron Prints who produce the highly acclaimed series of aircraft and ship lithographic prints. One of the Cessna 404 Titan’s we use, G-FIFA, features on the stunning print.

Our Flying Unit operate from East Midlands Airport, taking to the skies above Great Britain between February and November each year. Professional pilots take our air camera operators up in two Cessna 404s, G-FIFA and G-TASK, to take aerial imagery of over 50,000 square kilometres of the country each season. From the Scilly Isles to the Shetland Islands, the team will capture over 140,000 aerial images each year, using the 196-megapixel cameras on-board the planes. Read More


Five mappy activities for the kids this summer

Keeping the family entertained during summer holidays can be a challenge, particularly if the British weather hits a damp spell. We’ve got five great activities, both indoor and outdoor, that will appeal to budding geographers and explorers. And a fantastic competition to win some books to help you with the entertainment…

  1. Download our Minecraft map of Great Britain

Minecraft, the Swedish computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, remains hugely popular with users of all ages. If you or your family are Minecraft devotees, why not try our geographically-accurate Minecraft map of Britain?

Looking up Southampton Water in the Minecraft map of Great Britain

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Competition to celebrate 226 years of OS

Today marks 226 years since Ordnance Survey was founded. In the late 1700s the government at the time ordered its defence ministry – the Board of Ordnance – to begin a survey of England’s vulnerable southern coasts, worried that the French Revolution might sweep across the English Channel. In June 1791, the Board purchased a new Ramsden theodolite, and this is seen as the foundation of our organisation.

We’re marking the occasion by giving you the chance to win a limited edition OS print. Artist Bradley Hutchings paid tribute to the graphic artists of our past with a signed limited edition print, digitally created and inspired by iconic British landscapes. For many people, it is the historic Ellis Martin hand-drawn map covers that grab the imagination. Bradley has paid tribute to this era with his limited edition print. Only 250 signed prints were made – and we’ve got 3 of them up for grabs. To enter, tell us which year OS will turn 230. Just post on the blog by midnight on Sunday 25 June. We’ll draw 3 winners at random from all of the correct answers.

Terms and conditions

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Enter the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017

A fantastic way to inspire a love of cartography at an early age, have you heard of the  Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017? Barbara was a leading cartographer whose work related to children. In her memory, the International Cartographic Association holds a biennial competition.

2015 overall winner: The world in our hands by Pan Sin Yi (aged 15)

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#GetOutside with some trig-bagging this summer

Worcestershire Beacon photo by #GetOutside champion Dan Grant

Worcestershire Beacon photo by #GetOutside champion Dan Grant

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. Read More