If you’re a user of our maps, then you’ll be familiar with the small blue map symbols that give helpful tourist information when you’re out and about. If you’ve ever wondered how those symbols are checked and placed on our maps, today’s blog from Kim Hall, one of our team based in the East of England, will answer your questions.
I spend my working week interacting with Ordnance Survey mapping data, but it’s rare that I unfold a paper map and delve into the dark arts of map reading and navigation. I was offered the opportunity to reconnect with that part of our operations and to get in the mindset of paper-map user for the day…
It’s time for one of our famous quizzes…this week, following recent media coverage of people not knowing how to read their maps, we’re testing your knowledge of map symbols. How well do you think you know the symbols that appear on our OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps? They are there to help you get the most out of your outdoor experience – whether it’s guiding you to the nearby campsite or helping you to the nearest public house if you need some refreshments on your outdoor adventure!
Back by popular demand…welcome to the second edition of our map symbols quiz. In the past tree symbols were hand drawn by our cartographers, later symbols were ‘stuck’ to the map by hand and now, of course, the symbols are added by our cartographers via computer systems.
When you’re out and about using our well-known OS Landranger and OS Explorer Maps – do you know what all of the symbols mean? They’re there to give you valuable information about the environment you’re in.
We thought we’d have a little geo-fun this week and have a map symbol game for you to try out.
To play Map Symbol Slide, you simply swap one map symbol with an adjacent one to create a line of three or more identical symbols horizontally or vertically. As symbols disappear, new symbols will slide down to fill their space.
The game is over when no more moves can be made.
Let us know how you get on and post your high scores on the blog.
It’s time for one of our famous quizzes…this week we’re testing your knowledge of map symbols. How well do you think you know the symbols that appear on our OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps? They are there to help you get the most out of your outdoor experience – whether it’s guiding you to the nearby campsite or helping you to the nearest bus station as you can’t face the walk back to your car!
Test yourself on you map symbol knowledge, post your answers on the blog and we’ll let you know how you’ve scored:
Aside from highlighting tourist and leisure information, map symbols also provide vital information to let map readers know what to expect on the terrain they’re crossing. Information ranges from the kind of vegetation you can expect to encounter to detail on roads, public rights of way and even different rock features.
For those of you that have climbed every Munro, ticked off each Marilyn and collected all the Corbetts and now find there is no outlet for your wanderlust, help may be at hand thanks to outdoor enthusiast and hill list compiler Alan Dawson.
Alan has hit upon the novel idea of creating a list of ‘holes’ across Britain that walkers are invited to visit and ‘bag,’ in the time honoured tradition.
“Just about every mountain, hill or mound in Britain has made it onto one list or another – from the Scottish Munros to the Nuttalls in England and Wales. My aim to create a list of British holes seeks to redress the balance.”
“Many of the holes I’ve visited are filled with rich history and are just as unique and compelling as their convex cousins and they deserve to be recognised.”
We recently came across a blog about the Ordnance Survey map symbols for rough grassland, heath and bracken and thought it would be helpful to give you an explanation on their use. Please head to the bottom of this blog to see all the symbols.
Originally bracken, rough grassland and heath were shown as separate symbols (1. bracken, 2. rough grassland and 3. heath). In 1976 bracken and rough grassland were amalgamated so there was just one symbol to indicate land being covered by rough grassland or bracken – it was made up of elements of both the symbols so it had some rough grass in it and some bracken (4). Where space was tight a smaller symbol was also made incorporating both vegetation types (5).
The map symbols in the (6) legend are shown in the following order; top left is the new amalgamated symbol for bracken and rough grassland, top right is the old bracken symbol. Bottom left is old rough grassland symbol and bottom right the heath symbol. The heath symbol was not changed and has stayed the same. The old symbols for bracken and rough grassland remain in the legend because there are still some sheets that have the old style individual bracken and rough grassland symbols. The symbols were only updated on the mapping if there was a change in vegetation category so there are still large areas of old style vegetation shown on the mapping.