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Cartographic design and development

We work carefully to make sure our maps are designed in a way that's easy to use.

  • Cartographic design

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a map is worth a million

  • Cartographic development

    Bringing cartographic values into a digital era

  • Communication and engagement

    Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, cartography can be improved

Introducing CartoDesign

Whereas cartography is the art and science of mapmaking, cartographic design concerns the map user. It governs the design of a map and it is the cartography that ensures the intended message is delivered both efficiently and aesthetically.

Our team, CartoDesign, performs a key role in the organisation, as the authority for cartographic design and development, and engaging with internal and external audiences to promote and communicate the value of cartography. We work on a broad range of projects and are responsible for styling all new products and services.

About us

Map showcase

Our work includes developing the corporate map styles for our products and services including the OS VectorMap family and OS OnDemand.

We also work on a wide variety of projects from creating the mapping for data.gov.uk to designing one-off maps for charity events.

See our work

Thematic data

Ordnance Survey's GeoVation team have compiled this great list of data sources focussing primarily on national thematic datasets. These are superb candidates for map subjects or overlays for specific topics in Great Britain.

Access datasets

OS OpenData Award

Ordnance Survey provides the British Cartographic Society (BCS) with an award to encourage excellence in cartographic design and the innovative and exciting use of OS OpenData. This is an annual award that is presented at the BCS Symposium.

Enter our award


A library of cartographic resources to help you build a map. Often the best maps use a variety of resources that may include base mapping and other geodata , design inspiration, colours, fonts, symbols and even code!

Access resources

Simple product guides

Get started with some of our popular OS OpenData map products.

Step-by-step instructions

Cartographic design principles

Inspired by Dieter Rams’ ‘ten principles of good design’, we have put together our own set of principles that we believe are fundamental to successful map design

Read our principles

Cartographic stylesheets

We are committed to making our products as easy to use as possible. We have developed a range of stylesheets for our data products which are compatible with various mapping software. We also provide clear information on how to download, apply and customise the stylesheets you need, so you can make the map that you want.

Download stylesheets


A library of cartographic news, forums, blogs and articles from across the web.

Access the media library

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© Ordnance Survey 2019