The latest revision of the OS Explorer OL maps is now available! These maps are designed to help you make the most of your time in the British countryside, whether you are walking, cycling, running, riding or anything else.
The new releases come with a mobile download included with each map. This allows you to get a copy of your paper map on your Android or Apple device. The map is saved to the device memory, so will work even when you have no mobile phone signal, and includes useful features like pinpointing your location, route recording and a compass.
We’ve recently launched our OS Photofit competition, giving you the chance to see your photos on the latest covers of our paper map ranges.
Today, we are launching a brand new competition for 2015 – OS Photofit – and we can’t wait for budding photographers across Britain to get involved!
To support our recent brand refresh and in light of the revival in sales of our paper maps, we are looking for inspiring photographs of Britain’s stunning rural and urban landscapes to take pride of place on the covers of our paper maps for some of the most popular tourist destinations and biggest cities across Great Britain.
Whether it’s flowing rivers, modern buildings, views of a valley or life in the city, we want to show that Great Britain is a beautiful place to enjoy and explore. What better way to do this than on the front covers of our iconic OS Explorer Outdoor Leisure series maps!
You may have read articles in the media recently which reported that Ordnance Survey is to end its policy of routinely producing maps that cover the whole country. This is simply not true.
We would like to stress that this statement is wholly inaccurate and that we are committed to maintaining a national series of paper maps for both OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps. Paper maps are used by millions of outdoor enthusiasts every year enabling people to explore and enjoy Great Britain. Our paper products remain an important part of Ordnance Survey with nearly 2 million sold over the last year. Users will continue to be able to purchase paper maps covering the whole of Great Britain from many outlets, including our own online Map Shop.
If the idea of unique or bespoke mapping appeals to you then no doubt you’ll already be well aware of our OS Explorer Map – Custom Made and OS Landranger Map – Custom Made range. These new products, launched earlier this year, allow you to site-centre your map on any location in Great Britain. They have proven to be a huge hit, with nearly 12 000 people ordering their own personal mapping of Great Britain.
Our custom-made maps are unique, because you can put your favourite spot (such as your house, your favourite hiking route, the best local pub or your walking group’s meeting place) at the centre. This fact hasn’t been lost on accommodation owners, such as those running bed-and-breakfasts and campsites. They understand that their visitors want to find out what’s on offer in the local area and of course Ordnance Survey maps show every landmark you might want to visit, from walking trails to castles. The interest we’ve had from the accommodation trade shows us that personalised mapping isn’t just a great gift idea.
I’m told by my colleagues in the customer service team that one of the most common questions we’re asked is ‘how often do you update your paper maps?’
It’s a very good question.
But there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer. The frequency depends on a combination of factors, the primary one being the amount of change that needs to be applied to the map since it was previously revised.
The popularity of the sheet is also a factor. A map covering an area popular with vistors such as the Lake District would take priority over a less-popular area, providing of course, that changes have occurred that would be important to the users – new footpaths, roads and a visitor centre for example.
Mention a cartographer and people will think of someone who draws maps. Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? Having spent a few hours talking to various members of our Cartography team though, I’m actually amazed at the breadth of areas they cover. So, if you’ve already read our ‘day in the life of a surveyor’ blogs, read on to find out what happens once that surveyed data gets inside the building.
Our Cartography team, which is really lots of separate teams with different specialisms, is led by Huw, and they are responsible for deriving and maintaining cartographic databases, and providing the finished data for Ordnance Survey national series paper and data products. They do this through the manipulation and enhancement of our core databases. But as well as this ‘core’ work, they work on lots of other projects from specialist maps to innovative work on the effects of colour vision deficiency on mapping.
Sandy leads the Explorer team. Unsurprisingly, they work on the design, editing and updating of databases for our very popular 1:25 000 OS Explorer Map. The team also work on the data for our OS Select bespoke product where customers can centre a map on an area of their choice and on our digital product, 1:25 000 Scale Colour Raster.
Here’s the second in our two part series on the history of the OS Explorer map. Read part 1.
The 1:25 000 scale Ordnance Survey map evolves
Pathfinder maps proved very popular with walkers and other leisure users but after a while steps were taken to make the map even more user friendly. The first experimental Explorer maps were published in 1994, with five maps issued simultaneously covering parts of the Chilterns, Mendips and Northumberland. On average the new Ordnance Survey maps covered three times the area of their predecessor Pathfinders, and were six times bigger than the blue-covered originals (originally Outdoor Leisure maps) at this scale.