Whether it’s people buying the essential maps and outdoor equipment to help them enjoy the great outdoors, or searching for the perfect gift, our online store is attracting shoppers from around the world. The shop, which opened in 1999, has sold items to people in 40 countries, including Panama, Madagascar, Mexico, Sierra Leone and Guatemala. That’s around 20% of the countries around the world!
The green shading denotes the countries who have bought from the OS shop this year
We relaunched our iconic road map series last September after a seven-year hiatus. The eight map sheets covering the whole of Great Britain were back by popular demand and it seems some of you are loving the bridge theme on the covers. Jo got in touch with our Customer Services team to ask about the bridge covers, so we thought we’d give you a quick run-down.
Following the revision and release of the OS Explorer maps, our new OS Landranger and OS Tour map series are hitting the shops from today. All of our maps now feature the fantastic photos entered into our OS Photofit competition last year.
OS Landranger maps with mobile download
These maps are designed to help you make the most of your time in the British countryside. 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 in our OS Maps app. 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.
To get your map download you have to use a unique code printed on the inside of the map cover and then enter it on the Map Redemption page on our website.
Download from Apple App Store for iOS devices
Download from Google Play for Android devices
In light of our new competition – OS Photofit – we interviewed Nick Lindsay, paper maps product manager here at Ordnance Survey on what makes paper maps great! Here’s what he had to say…
Can you tell us about the history behind Ordnance Survey’s paper maps?
Ordnance Survey is Britain’s mapping agency and what we do is connect all of the mapping data needed for publication of mapping products and services covering all 250,000 square kilometers of Great Britain. We’ve been doing this since 1791, with our first map produced in 1801 and our Outdoor Leisure maps materialising in the 1970s!
To see for yourself how our paper maps have changed in the last 200 years, check out this short video.
Back in September we asked you to tell us your thoughts on proposed changes to the way we show latitude and longitude on our paper maps (currently as shown below). .. and the results are in!
Thank you to the 710 of you who completed the short survey (plus those of you commenting here on the blog) for taking the time to consider the question and let us know your thoughts. An overwhelming majority of respondents supported the proposed change (combining the answers saying it would improve or make no difference to their use of OS paper maps).
As we said earlier this year, we’re committed to maintaining our paper map production, and we sold almost 2 million maps last year alone. That’s a pretty impressive number with the rapid growth of GPS and more people using digital data – including with our own apps like OS MapFinder.
Our paper maps cover the whole of Great Britain, with 403 OS Explorer Maps and 204 OS Landranger Maps. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s our Outdoor Leisure (OL) range, covering the main tourist areas in the country which continue to prove the most popular.
We’re considering changing the overlay showing latitude and longitude markers on Ordnance Survey paper maps. This would mean moving towards the overlay showing latitude and longitude used on GPS devices, to help bring digital navigation devices and paper maps closer together and work more in harmony. We believe this would have little impact on the majority of users of our paper maps; however, we would like your opinions on this change to ensure we fully consider all options and impacts before we make a final decision.
We’d like you to read the information below, and, if you would like to share your thoughts on how this would affect you, complete our short survey by Friday 3 October.
Depending on what you hope to read about on this blog, you may be interested to know that we are also on Facebook and on Twitter. Our Facebook page tends to have more about our much loved paper maps and is a good place for followers to discuss walks and adventures they are planning. Recently we posed the following question to our Facebook friends:
How much care do you take of your Ordnance Survey maps? Are they a treasured tool or do you use and abuse them? Our team have quite different views with some folding them up neatly and keeping them pristine, while others (me!) scribble over them, highlight the good pubs and make notes about things to remember for next time. And as for folding, well… mine get a bit messy. What about you? We’d love to know how you look after your maps.
What followed was one of the biggest responses to a Facebook question we have had and led us to really think more about how our customers use our paper maps.
The majority of people who responded told us that they tried hard to look after them, keeping them in pristine condition with one or two using fairly unorthodox storage methods (freezer bag anyone?). People also seemed to enjoy having them stacked neatly in a bookcase and seeing the spines lined up neatly.
However the consensus was that they tend to get worn with use, especially if it’s a favourite area, but some recommended the Active series of paper maps which have been laminated to make them showerproof and a little bit more sturdy in the wind. Several admitted to writing on them, using coloured pens to highlight good routes and walks and trimming them to get them into map covers so they could be used without too much wear and tear.
In the course of 2011, Ordnance Survey printed a whopping 1.9 million paper maps. That’s an amazing number especially when you consider how the digital market for GPS is increasing much of which makes use of our digital data instead.
As part of our national remit, we need to make sure that we continue to record all change across the country and continue to produce mapping of all areas – even where’s there not much interest in the area for leisure purposes and there are some versions of our paper maps which sell in very small quantities.
However, as we come towards the end of the year, I thought you might like to hear about our best sellers for 2011 so you can see whether your purchases have influenced our top ten for 2011!