Prepare for greater adventures this summer with National Map Reading Week

From novices to experienced adventurers National Map Reading Week has something for everyone

4 minute read
Ahead of a summer of staycations and exploration around Britain, National Map Reading Week is returning from Monday, July 5 to Sunday, July 11.

Run by Ordnance Survey (OS), the event aims to encourage people of all ages to understand the importance of map reading and how this vital life skill can unlock the outdoors and keep people safe.

National Map Reading Week 2021 coincides with new research, commissioned by OS, which found seven out of 10 Gen Z adults claim they can confidently read a map when needed, smashing the stereotype of them being a map-illiterate generation.

Results of the research

The study of 2,000 adults found that day-to-day use of mapping apps on their phone has made many young people more confident when it comes to traditional paper maps.

And in a surprise result, half (50 per cent) could also confidently use a compass – compared to more than the 46 per cent of 45-54 year-olds who said the same.

Ordnance Survey’s MD for Leisure, Nick Giles said: “It’s very reassuring to see that so many young people can confidently use a map.

“It has long been thought of as a key life skill, but one which was also dying out.

“However, many young people are now so used to reading maps on their smart phone, with the apps being a key part of day-to-day life, that they are able to confidently transfer these skills to the traditional paper map too.

“It’s something that may come in handy at any time because without a map, you may find yourself in a spot of bother, especially if your sense of direction isn’t up to scratch or your trusty phone runs out of battery.

“It’s why we run National Map Reading Week. We want to encourage people to better understand how good map skills, both paper and digital, can unlock and inspire people to safely discover new places and adventures.”

Navigating safely

One of the key reasons behind National Map Reading Week is to teach people how to stay safe in the great outdoors. OS is also urging people to ensure they have a paper map or OS Maps downloaded to their phone as part of their travel kit this summer, to help them find places to visit and discover new adventures.

Throughout the week OS is promoting videos full of tips to help you brush up on your map reading skills and challenging enthusiasts to put themselves to the test with an online quiz.

OS has also teamed up with Penguin to publish The Ordnance Survey Kids Adventure Book, a new book full to the brim with challenges and map reading tips for young people to make the most of the outdoors while avoiding getting into difficulty.

OS mapping is relied upon by emergency services, including Mountain Rescue, who respond to around 2,500 people in trouble every year. Through OS Maps, responders are better able to plan a route and understand the lay of the land from the terrain to heights, before embarking on rescue missions.

Mike Park, SEO of Mountain Rescue England & Wales, said: “With the recent restrictions to foreign travel huge number of people have taken to the hills for recreation, many for the first time and without the necessary navigation skills. As a result we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of callouts to people who were simply lost or poorly equipped for the conditions they found themselves in. 

“National Map Reading Week will make a massive difference to us as people learn how to engage with mountains and moorland safely and, hopefully, develop a love of the outdoors which will last a lifetime."

The Ordnance Survey Adventure Book for Kids is available via the OS Shop.

National Map Reading Week

Follow the #NationalMapReadingWeek hashtag on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

By Press Office

Sharing the latest news about OS. We can license you to use OS maps in print, online and film format. For more information and resources for journalists, bloggers and media professionals, email or call 023 8005 5565.