OS Maps App FAQ

 

Download from Apple App Store for iOS devices Download from Google Play for Android devices

Questions

The basics

Viewing maps

Routes

My Activities

Paper map downloads

Subscriptions

Subscriber downloads (offline maps)

Other features

Personalisation and options

Technical questions

Look for:

Latest updates

New release September 2018

The latest releases of the app for iOS and Android have:

  • The ability to favourite routes. Routes marked as favourite on the desktop are automatically synced to the app. You can see these in a new tab under routes. Subscribers can also download the map for any favourite routes.
  • Route ratings are now visible.You can view route ratings in the routes list and add your own rating in the route panel.
  • Added the new Tabletop AR mode to the iOS version
  • Improvements to the routes database to improve availability at busy times
Known Bugs
  • Users on old versions of Android (mainly 4.4) cannot access mapping as Android is incorrectly blocking access to the maps server for security reasons. We are working on a fix for this. If possible, update to a newer version of Android, or wait until a fix is released
  • Users on versions of Android older than 4.4 cannot update their app from a version released over a year ago. The old version of the app is now no longer compatible with the new database, so many functions will not work. Please update to a current version of Android, as versions prior to 4.4 are no longer supported by Google.
  • On Android, a route that has already been synced to the app will not be updated if you subsequently edit the route on the web. You can either create a copy of the route and edit it before it syncs, or clear all downloaded routes by logging out and back in to the app. We are working on an update to ensure routes check for new updates.

Thanks for all your feedback! We cannot always reply individually, but we do read every one to identify bugs and look for possible improvements. Please let us know of any errors you find.

Answers

The basics

What devices does OS Maps work on?

The OS Maps mobile app is available on Apple iPhones and iPads running iOS 9 and higher and on Android devices using Android 4.4 (KitKat) and higher. It is not available on Microsoft devices or Amazon Kindle. If you have an iOS 8 device you will be able to run any older versions of OS Maps already installed, but will not get any updates, and some features may be missing. You can also use the OS Maps browser version, using the same username and password on both mobile devices and computers.

How do I register?

Open the app choose 'Go Free' to create a free account, or 'Go Premium' to create a Premium account. This gives you access to features like saving a route and downloading maps you have purchased in the shops. You will need to have a data connection while registering.

If you have already created an account in the web version or on the OS shop, please log in with those details. If you have forgotten your password use the account management page to reset it.

The app says my email is already in use?

It may be that you already used your email address to create an account with us or buy a product. Either create a new account by using a different email address (if you have one) or use the 'I've lost my password' link on the login page of the main website. If you still get problems logging in, please let us know.

Why does the app ask for email and camera access permission?

We need access to various permissions:

  • Email to import and export routes as GPX files from your email. Disabling this will prevent you from creating routes from imported GPX files. Exporting GPX files is limited to subscribers only.
  • Camera for the AR functions the landscape or table surface on screen.
  • Location settings are used to show your location on the map using the built-in GPS functions
  • Storage is used to save offline maps and routes.
  • Notifications are used to warn you when you are off a route you are following, or for other alerts from the app.

Viewing maps

How do I switch between maps?

Use the 'layers' button in the bottom right of the map screen to switch between the available map types. Some types are only available to Premium users.

How do I use the AR (augmented reality) view?

OS Maps app AR buttonOn the main map screen click the AR button in the top right corner. This will turn on the rear camera and the AR labels.

Hold the device up to the horizon, and labels will show the feature name and distance. Click on a text label to open a web page with information about that point. AR will work with no mobile phone signal, but opening the information page will require a data connection.

To change what kind of features you see, use the options button to sets of icons on and off - a solid colour circle is on, a transparent circle is off.

Why is the 50k / 25k map blank?

Zoom in further to see the map detail. If you are zoomed out too far the default background map will show. These maps will only be visible if you are a subscriber, or have downloaded the map using a code from a paper map.

How do I use the Greenspace layer?

 Public park or gardens, including village greens, nature reserves and similar
 Play space – children's’ play area unless it’s inside a paid attraction or school. Includes features like skate parks.
 Playing field for football, rugby, cricket, etc. which is accessible to the public
 Sports – all sorts of sports facilities not in other categories, such as recreation centres and swimming pools. Includes both free access and paid facilities, but not places only for spectators.
 Golf course – including both private and public courses
 Allotments and community growing spaces. May not have public access.
 Religious grounds and cemeteries, where these have a reasonable amount of greenspace. May not be available all the time.

We’ve not included several features:

  • Woodlands, as these are already clearly marked with a green tint on the ‘standard’ map
  • Play areas and playing fields in school grounds, as these are generally not accessible to the public
  • National parks, open access land, rights of way in the countryside and similar, as the Greenspace map is for urban greenspace areas available to the public

What’s the night map for?

It’s useful when out at night as the low brightness will not spoil your night vision. It also saves battery life as less power is used by the screen.

How do I move around the map?

To move around, swipe left - right and up - down. You can zoom in and out using two-finger pinch and zoom controls.

Why can’t I zoom in further to see details?

The maximum zoom level depends on the exact device you are using, but on most devices will give a size similar to an printed map.

At times, it can be helpful to be able to zoom in further to see fine details. Fortunately, all recent devices include a really useful function to do this.

In iOS go into Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom and turn it on. There are some additional options you can set, such as the maximum zoom level (for OS Maps 5.0X is plenty) plus advanced controls.

Use in OS Maps: Zoom in as far as you can normally. Then double-tap with three fingers to turn on the zoom. A box will appear on screen, with the area under it magnified. You can still scroll around the map to view other areas, or grab the small white block at the bottom of the magnifier to move it around the screen. Double-tap with three fingers again to turn it off.

Turning on the magnifierTurning on the magnifier
View without the magnifierView without the magnifier
View with the magnifierView with the magnifier

In Android go into Settings > Accessibility > Magnification Gestures and turn it on. It may appear in slightly different places on some devices.

Use in OS Maps: Zoom in as far as you can normally. Then triple-tap the screen to turn on the Accessibility Zoom. A yellow border will appear, and you can use pinch to zoom to decrease or increase the magnification level, and swipes to move around. Triple-tap again to turn it off.

Turn on magnification gesturesTurn on magnification gestures
Normal map viewNormal map view
Triple tap to turn on magnificationTriple tap to turn on magnification

Bonus: You can use the zoom function in almost any app or screen to make it easier to see detail.

Use the 'Search for location' box at the top of your screen. As long as you're connected to the internet, we'll try to work out the name of the place you're trying to find as you type. Confirm the name of the location and we'll zoom straight to it.

If we can't find a match, we'll suggest the next best result. If there's nothing at all on our database, please check the spelling of your search.

The search uses your data connection. If you are offline search functionality will not be available.

How do I find map features, such as pubs or places to stay?

Places features will be introduced in a future release for the app. You can currently find them in the web version.

How do I see what the map symbols mean or get a map legend/key?

In the app go to 'Menu', 'About' and 'Map Legend'. You can also download a copy as a PDF from our web site.

Routes

How do I plot a route?

Tap on 'Plot a route' in the app's main menu. Or if you prefer, tap on the location marker that shows where you are now and we'll give you the option to plot a new route. We'll also ask you if you'd like to plot a route when you search for a new location.

Choose a route type from the options. Your first tap on the map shows where you'd like to start, and a marker will be added. Carry on tapping on the map to create more waypoints. If you want to remove the point, use 'Undo' at the top of the screen. As you plot your route, you will see the distance, estimated time, ascent and elevation profile for your route so far.

Once you've completed your route, tap 'Save', and the last waypoint will be shown as the final destination. You can then name your route, add notes, set the difficulty and whether to mark the route as private or add it to the public routes list.

How do I use snap-to-path route planning?

You need to be a subscriber and using the iOS version to use the automatic snap to path route creation in National Parks. To start, change your map layer to 'Offroad Routing'. If you zoom out you will see the National Parks highlighted in pink - snap to path is only available in these areas. As you zoom in you will see individual roads and paths highlighted with pink to indicate they can be used. At the moment we have only created the path network for the National Parks. You can continue a route out of the National Park, but the snap to path feature will be disabled, and standard point to point mapping only will be active.

Next, select Route > Create Custom Route. Begin creating a new route as normal, and select walking or running to use all paths, or cycling to limit your route to roads, bridleways and other suitable paths. The 'snap' button in the top right will appear and default to on (blue).

Click on the map to create your first point – it will jump to the nearest road or path if needed. Now create your next point. It can be some distance from the first, and a new route will connect the two, following the shortest available route.

Snap routing will always follow the shortest suitable path, which may sometimes take you along busy roads or other places you would rather avoid. Use points on junctions to control the path.

If you want to plot a section of your route that does not follow a recognised path, you can easily turn off the snap to route option. Click the ‘snap’ button so that it is no longer coloured, and your points will stay exactly where you drop them, connected with straight lines. This is ideal if you are planning a walk across open country or to reach a specific peak that does not have an official path.

At the moment, you can only plan routes using snap routing on the 'National Parks pathways' map layer. However, you can switch to 25K or 50K mapping at any time using the normal map layer selector.

Routes created using the snap tool can be saved in the same way as a normal route.

How do I find my saved routes?

From the menu, when you are logged in, select 'My Routes'. All your previously saved routes will be listed.

Tap on a route name to view it on the map.

Can I see the routes created on the OS Maps browser version?

There is automatic two-way synchronisation between the app the desktop version for your routes and your favourited routes. When a data connection is available, all routes you have created on the desktop version will synchronise to your mobile device and will then appear in your routes library, even when you are offline. Similarly, routes created on your mobile device using either the record function or the route planning function will appear on the desktop version of OS Maps so you can review route details or print maps.

Why does a route changed in the web version still show the old one in the app?

At the moment routes that are modified in the web version do not trigger an update of the offline version saved in the app. We are working on fixing this.

How do I record a route?

In the menu just choose the ‘Record a route’ function, choose the route type and click the ‘Record’ button to start. You can pause a recording for a time is needed. To save the route to your routes library, click 'Finish' and save the route in the same way as normal.

How do I export a route as a GPX file?

You need to be a subscriber to export a route as a GPX file. Find the route from your routes list, click Menu > Options > Export. This will generate the GPX file, and you will be able to send it to email, message or other destinations, depending on apps installed.

How do I create a route from a GPX file?

You need to send the GPX file by email to your device. In your email, click on the attached GPX file and choose to open with OS Maps. The file will be imported and shown as a route. Alternatively, you can use the desktop version of OS Maps and the route will appear on your device as soon as it is synchronised.

Can I show routes in miles not kilometres and vice versa?

Yes. Under 'My Account', choose 'My Preferences' and 'Units and measurements' and tell us which measurement you'd like to see.

We use the units together, so you can't mix miles with metres for example, or kilometres with feet.

Whiy is the estimated time for my route was too fast or too slow?

We use your average speed for walking, running and cycling to calculate the estimated time. You can change this in Menu > My Preferences > Calculate Route Times. Your settings for average speed are also shared with the desktop browser version of OS Maps, and any other iOS devices using the same account. For walking, we also use Naismith's Rule, which adds 10 minutes for every 100 m of vertical ascent. There is no adjustment calculated for descents or difficult terrain.

These times are only estimations and will vary considerably depending on individual abilities, local conditions and weather.

How do I find routes that other people have created?

Click the 'Discover Routes' button in the bottom right, and select an activity type, the 'Show me routes'. You will see markers shown on the map in the currently viewed area showing route start points. Click on a marker to see the route details. Use the 'Close' button to close the route view and choose a different route.

Once you have finished searching for routes click the 'Discover Routes' button again to turn off the route pins.

You will need to have a data connection to search for routes, but you can turn it off once you have started using the 'follow' function.

How do use make a route I've found available offline?

The easiest way is to use the 'Favourite' function. Once you have found a route that you like, either on the web or app version, click on the heart icon to add it to your favourites. Favourite routes will show up under 'My Routes' in both web and app, and will also automatically download for offline use on the app.

You will not automatically download mapping, so either ensure you have the area as an offline download, or download all the mapping for the route by using the 'download' button in the routes list before you head out.

How do use Favourite routes?

Once you have found a route that you like, either on the web or app version, click on the heart icon to add it to your favourites. Favourite routes will show up under 'My Routes' in both web and app, and will also automatically download for offline use on the app.

You will not automatically download mapping for your favourite routes, so either ensure you have the area as an offline download, or download all the mapping for the route by using the 'download' button in the routes list before you head out.

How do use edit a route I have found?

You cannot edit a route created by someone else, as they are still the route owner, even if you add it to favourites. However, what you can do is create a copy of the route.

  1. Open the app or web version and find the route
  2. in the route panel, select the 'export GPX' option. In the app, this will allow you to email the file to yourself. In the web version, save the file to your computer
  3. Open the web version and log in if needed. You can only edit a route on web at the moment
  4. If you emailed the file from the app, switch to your computer, open your emails and save the file locally
  5. Open 'Routes' then select the 'Import GPX' option.
  6. Select the GPX file from your local computer. On most, this will mean looking in 'Downloads'
  7. Import the GPX file to create a new route. We recommend making it private to prevent creating duplicate routes
  8. You can now edit the route as normal. It will sync across to the app next time you start the app

Can I change the colour, thickness or transparency of my route on the map?

Yes. While plotting or editing a route, click the ‘options’ button in the bottom left corner. Set your preferred route options, then hit ‘Done‘. Changes will be saved when you save the route, and will be synchronised with the web version.

You can also set the default route style for all routes viewed on the device, which is used when no specific route options have been set. Go to Menu > My Preferences > Route Styling to set a default route style. Default route styles are not saved with the route, and so do not sync to the web or other devices.

How do I use the Tabletop 3D feature?

Tabletop 3D is a new augmented reality feature that allows you to see your route on a virtual 3D model of the terrain. To use it:

  1. Open a route of your own of one you have found - mountain routes work best.
  2. Pull up the route panel and click 'Tabletop 3D'.
  3. Point the camera at a clear, flat surface and allow it to 'lock on'. If you don't have a clear table the floor will do.
  4. Once the square appears it has locked on. Click the plus button at the bottom of the screen to start AR mode.
  5. Try moving around the 3D model. Use pinch to zoom, one finger to move the model and two fingers to rotate the model
  6. End Tabletop 3B by clicking the cross

At the moment Tabletop 3D is only available in the latest release of the iOS version of the app.

My activities

How do I use My Activities?

Start the 'My Activities' distance counter by selecting it from the main menu from any map screen. It's designed to make it as easy as possible to keep track of how far you’ve walked – even if you forget to record a route while walking. There are four different ways to add miles to the counter:

  1. Record a route: at the end of recording you’ll be asked if you want to add the distance to your activity record
  2. Follow a route: once you’ve followed a route you’ll be asked if you want to add the distance to your activity record. It will log the distance of the planned route, not the actual distance covered
  3. Use an existing route: useful if you do the same walk regularly, but don’t always have your phone to hand or want to record it each time
  4. Plot a route: simply plot a new route to get the mileage added to the counter

What happens if I use more than one device?

Your activity record syncs across web, Android and iOS of OS Maps – you just need to be signed in with the same OS Maps account. You can find the My Activities Section under the main menu on OS Maps mobile, and the user menu on the top right of OS Maps web.

Paper map downloads

Do all maps have a digital download?

All OS Explorer (1: 25 000 scale) and OS Landranger (1: 50 000 scale) series paper maps have a digital download included. Mobile downloads are not available for OS Tour maps or Historical Maps. You can identify the maps with mobile download by the blue ‘Includes mobile download’ badge on the cover.

Do I need specialist software or an app?

Yes, you'll need to install the OS Maps app. You can get this from Apple Play Store; it's absolutely free and doesn't take long to download.

You can't download these maps to a computer. For this, please look at OS Maps online Premium. For OS maps on your GPS device please check with the device manufacturer.

How do I activate the code on my map?

You have to redeem the code on the website using the same account as used on the mobile device. Follow the instructions on the page to claim your download.

How do I download the map to my device?

Follow the instructions here to redeem the map code and attach it to your user account. Make sure you login with the same email address you use to login to the app.

Map download listMap downloads for paper maps, custom selections and switch to show on the overview map
Paper map downloads listPaper map downloads list. Green is available offline, grey can be downloaded
Downloaded and available mapsGreen area is downloaded map, grey is one available to download (iOS only)

How can I see which map areas I have available or downloaded?

In Menu > My Offline Maps turn on ‘Show offline areas on map’. Return to map view and zoom out. Offline areas will show with a green highlight. Maps available to download (but not currently downloaded) will show as a grey highlight. Turn the function back off to revert to normal. (currently available in iOS only. For Android only the list of downloads is available)

Downloading many maps at once can cause issues, overloading your device and causing slow response or crashing when you try to view maps. Delete maps you are not currently using to both save storage space and improve app speed.

The number of maps you can have depends on your device and other apps installed.

In the OS Maps app ensure you are logged in and go to Menu > My Offline Maps > Paper map downloads

The new map will show up in the list marked as ‘Not available offline’. Click the download button next to this to start the download. One downloaded it will show as ‘Available offline’. To save space you can remove the download at any time and download it again, even on another device.

Can I download the same map to more than one device?

Yes. You can download your map to multiple devices, as long as you log into OS Maps using the same account details. Our terms state that each map should only be on one device at a time.

Will my map update with any changes automatically?

No, the digital version you've downloaded will match the version of the paper map you bought.

How will I know if my map is out of date?

Check the OS shop website to see when we issued the latest version. It is listed under 'Specifications' in the product description, and compare this to the publish date on your paper map.

What if my map code doesn't work?

Please check that you have entered the code correctly. The codes are all letters, and are printed all in upper case. If your code still does not work please contact customer services.

What account details should I use in the OS Maps app?

The app uses the same login details as your OS Maps online account or OS Shop account. You will have access to additional features if you are a Premium subscriber. By using the same account in both the app and desktop we can help you keep track of your maps and automatically synchronise your saved and favourite routes.

What if my map does not have a code?

Only maps with the 'Mobile Download' logo on the cover will have a code. Look for the silver scratch-off panel on the inside cover, and scratch this off to reveal your 12-letter code. If this is already scratched off it may already have been used - please return the map to the retailer for a new copy with an unused code, or contact us for help.

Subscriptions

Why do I need to subscribe?

Subscribing gives you access to the OS Explorer (1: 25 000 scale) and OS Landranger (1: 50 000 scale) mapping for the whole country and the ability to download any section of map for use offline. Your subscription also gives you access to extra features of OS Maps online, the desktop version, including more advanced route planning tools, Aerial 3D mode, National Parks snap to path and larger prints.

How do I buy a subscription?

You can purchase a subscription in the app or through this website - see the subscription options here. To make a purchase in-app, select 'Go premium' from the menu and choose a subscription length. You will be asked to log in to iTunes to confirm the purchase.

Some subscription types are automatically recurring until cancelled, while others are for a fixed period.

How do I cancel a subscription?

If you have purchased a recurring Premium subscription through the web, you can cancel your next renewal at any time by contacting customer services.

If you have subscribed through iTunes in the app, you can cancel from your mobile device:

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iTunes & App Store
  • Select your Apple ID at the top of the screen
  • Select View Apple ID.
  • Select Subscriptions, and then the subscription for OS Maps
  • Select 'options' to manage your subscription. You can choose a different subscription length, or 'Cancel Subscription' to cancel. As subscriptions are taken in advance, your subscription will continue until end of the current period.

To cancel an Apple subscription from a desktop computer:

  • Open iTunes
  • Sign in with your Apple ID if required
  • From the menu at the top of the iTunes window, choose Account > View My Account
  • Scroll to the Settings section
  • To the right of Subscriptions, Click Manage
  • To the right of the subscription you want to manage, click Edit. You can choose a different subscription length select 'Cancel Subscription'. Your subscription will continue until end of the current period

If you have purchased a recurring Premium subscription through Google Play in the app, you can cancel via Google Play subscriptions& on the web. You can also cancel on your mobile device: 

  • Open Google Play Store and select ‘My Apps’
  • Select ‘Installed Applications’, scroll down to find ‘OS Maps’ and select it
  • On the information about the app, you will see ‘Subscriptions’ which provides your subscription status.
  • Tap ‘Cancel’ to stop your auto-renewal subscription.

What happens if I buy a subscriptions through the app and the mapshop?

Your newly-purchased subscription will extend any existing subscription no matter where the subscription is purchased from. This means if you renew early you won't lose out.

What happens if I change phone while I have an active subscription?

If you have an OS Maps account, simply log in on your new phone and your subscription will be carried over, along with the rights to any paper map downloads (although you will need to download these and any downloaded maps to your device memory). This will work even if you switch to an between Android and iOS.

I have bought a subscription - why can't I see the routes i have created on web on my mobile? (or vice versa)

This is because:

  • You may be using two different usernames (logins) for web and app. Wherever possible, please use the same email address to log in to each account as otherwise we will not be able to sync your routes or
  • You may be using an older version of the iOS app. Upgrade to iOS 9 and then update the app to the latest version.

What happens to my content once my subscription expires?

You will receive a notification before your subscription expires. To ensure no effects, please renew before your current subscription expires. Any remaining time will be added to your new subscription.

If you choose not to renew your subscription, you will lose access to the subscriber-only features such as additional map types, Aerial 3D and GPX file exporting. Additionally, the following will happen:

  • Your routes will still be available in the app and web
  • Redeemed paper map downloads are retained and are still available in the app
  • Saved offline maps in the app are deleted

Subscriber downloads (offline maps)

How do I save maps for offline use?

Subscribers to OS Maps can download mapping for any part of the country for offline use.

There are two methods

Method 1: download a map for a route

  • Go to Menu > My Routes to show your current list of saved routes. Underneath the route, you will see a links that says ‘Offline map unavailable (download)'. Click the download button to download the map that covers that route. Choose the map scale to download.
  • A square section of map is downloaded that’s big enough to contain the entire route. It’s available even when not following the route, even if you are just browsing the area.

Top Tip: download a large area by creating a dummy route that extends from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of the area needed. You only need two points. It’s ideal for grabbing a large section of map when you have planned a number of walks in one area - but be careful of the file size.

Map download from a routeDownloading a map for a specific route
Green area showing map downloadedGreen highlight shows mad downloaded to cover the route
Creating a dummy route to download a large areaCreating a dummy route to download a large area
Dummy route in routes list with map download optionDummy route in routes list with map download option
Green shows large map area available offlineGreen shows large map area available offline

Method 2: download an arbitrary area

  • While you have a data connection (preferably Wi-Fi, as downloads can be large), scroll or search to find the area you are interested in.
  • Click Menu > My Offline maps > Add a custom offline map. Zoom in until the area you are interested in is on screen. Your download will cover the area on screen, plus a region approximately the same size in each direction, and in the current map scale. Click the ‘Download’ button to start the download.
  • Name the download and click save in the top right. You can continue to download additional sections to cover a larger area. Click the 'cancel' button in the top left to cancel the download mode and return to normal mapping.
  • Downloaded maps will appear in Menu > My Downloaded Maps > Custom offline maps with the name you set. You can delete them when no longer required to save storage space.
Map download modeOS Maps in download mode
Naming a map downloadNaming a map download

Downloading large areas of the country or having many smaller downloads can cause issues, overloading your device and causing slow response or crashing when you try to view maps. Delete any downloaded maps you are no longer using to both save storage space and improve app speed.

The total size of downloaded maps you can have depends on your device and other apps installed.

How do I see what offline maps I have downloaded?

In Menu > My Offline Maps turn on ‘Show offline areas on map’. Return to map view and zoom out. Offline areas will show with a green highlight. Turn the function back off to revert to normal. (Only available in iOS)

You can also turn on ‘airplane mode’ to ensure the maps have downloaded successfully and cover the area needed.

How do I remove a downloaded map?

If you need to free space or no longer need a specific area, find your map in My Maps > Custom Offline maps then choose the ‘delete’ option. To delete a map for a route, find the route in your routes list and click the 'delete' button.

Can I update a downloaded map?

Not automatically. Delete the downloaded map and then download that area again. You will need a data connection to do this.

Why have I lost my downloaded maps?

The most common reason for this is because you have used the ‘Log out’ feature. As all downloads are linked to your OS Maps user account, they will be deleted if you choose to log out. As long as you do not log out of OS Maps, you are free to power off your device at any time.

Your downloads may also be lost if your subscription expires, and your downloaded maps are subscriber-only map types. To avoid this, ensure you renew your subscription before the end date.

You may also lose maps if you update the app and the new version is not compatible with your existing downloads, but we try to avoid this. If you are planning to use the app offline we suggest you check your downloaded maps list after running any updates.

Other features

How do I find my current location?

Use the ‘locate me’ button to jump directly to your location. This will use the GPS signal to locate your location as accurately as it can. If your device does not have a GPS chip, if GPS is disabled or there is no signal (such as in a building or near tall cliffs) this will not work. While the icon is blue, the map will centre on your location.

On iOS a faint blue circle around your position indicates the estimated accuracy of your position. Your true location may be anywhere within the circle.

OS Maps uses the location as provided by your device. Ensure that the location settings are turned on, and the app has permission to access them. If the device is unable to show the exact position, it may show an approximation based on the nearest mobile phone mast, WiFi access point or last known position. For some devices, you can force it to only show the position from the GPS chip by going into Phone settings > Location > and setting it to GPS only. It can take a couple of minutes to get am accurate GPS position, especially if your have just turned on the location functions - speed it up by remaining still with a clear view of the sky. Once the device has your initial location, it is able to update it much more quickly.

If a clearly incorrect location is shown, often waiting a few moments or clicking the 'locate me' on and off will force the device to update your location.

How do I stop the map scrolling back to my current location?

Click the ‘locate me’ button at the bottom right until it is grey to turn off the automatic centre function. This is most useful when scrolling around to view an area.

How do I use the compass?

Click the ‘locate me’ button twice to activate the compass. This will show the heading and the grid reference. On smaller device you may need to rotate the screen to landscape orientation to show the grid reference.

How do I use AR mode?

Click the AR button and hold your device up to the horizon. Look at your screen to see the current camera view with points of interest labelled. Click the button again to turn it off, or the options button to change settings.

Why do I not have the AR button?

First, ensure you have latest version of the OS Maps app. Sole older devices will not be able to update to the latest versions without updating the operating system, so please update your device first.

AR features will be disabled if you do not have a GPS chip, a compass (magnetometer) and motion sensor installed. Some Android devices, such as Motorola 'Moto' and Huawei P10 phones do not have a compass so cannot use AR features. Some Samsung models have camera systems that are incompatible with the AR viewer, so AR functions is disabled at the moment.

Why can I not see anything in AR view?

When you start AR for the first time you will be asked to set it up by downloading the set of points to your device. Until this is done you will not be able to use the AR feature. You will need a data connection to do this the first time, but after that AR mode will work offline.

Why do the points in AR not line up with the features?

AR relies on two functions: GPS location and compass. Please ensure these are turned on and the app has permission to use them.

GPS location can take a few minutes to be accurate, especially if you have not used it in some time. Waiting with the app active will slowly give increased accuracy. If a GPS signal is not available, such as inside a building, AR may incorrectly estimate your location.

Your built-in compass needs regular calibrating in order to be accurate. In iOS Use the built-in compass calibration system by turning it on at Settings > Privacy >Location Services > System Services > Compass Calibration and then use the built in compass app to trigger calibration.

In Android, you can download a compass calibration app, or with the AR mode open just wave the device around in a figure-eight for around 30 seconds to improve accuracy.

If the compass is inaccurate, features will not line up in AR view.

Why can I not see a specific feature in AR?

OS Maps app AR settings buttonThere are over 200,000 points in the AR database, which means we cannot show every point at once. There is currently a maximum distance of 10 miles (16km). The app will choose which points to display based on how far away they are and their 'priority' score to ensure the screen is not overcrowded. Generally, closer features and more important ones will be shown. You can filter by clicking the settings button and choosing which types of features you are interested in, which may make more distant features visible.

How do I use the Route Follow function?

One you have a route on screen, one you have either created or imported, you can activate the follow function using the ‘follow route’ button.

This will warn you when you go off course.

How do I see what the map symbols mean or get a map legend/key?

To save storage space, the map legends are not included in the initial app download but is downloaded the first time you open it. To find it go to: Menu > About > Map Legend and choose the scale or layer you are interested in.

Personalisation & options

Can I get route distances to show in miles instead of kilometres, or heights to show in feet instead of metres?

Yes. Click on 'Menu', then ‘Preferences’ then 'Units and measurements' to switch between metric and imperial. You cannot mix metric and imperial.

How do I set the route colour?

You can set a route colour when you save or edit a route. Additional, for routes that do not have a specific colour set, you can override it in 'Preferences' - 'Route Styling'. This allows you to set a colour that works with the map layer you are using.

How does the app calculate walking, running and cycling speeds?

Walking running and cycling speeds are calculated based on an average speed set in your personal preferences. Change it by going to 'Menu', 'Preferences' then 'Calculate Route times' and enter separate values for the three activity types.

For walking routes only, the average speed is modified by Naismith's Rule, which adds additional time for going uphill. There's not adjustments applied for running or cycling, and there is no speed setting available for 'Other' type routes.

Average speeds will also be heavily affected by the terrain. If possible, adjust your average speed figure for the type of terrain you cover most often to improve the accuracy of the time estimates.

Technical questions

What data does OS Maps app use?

Viewing online maps, search, login, calculating route profiles, downloading maps and some other functions all require data, either Wi-Fi or over the phone network. Viewing a lot of map or downloading maps can use quite a lot of data, so if you have a limited data plan we recommend using Wi-Fi where possible.

How does the app affect battery life?

Viewing maps uses the screen and mobile data (unless you are using offline maps), which will use the battery. Using GPS functions, including the locate me, route recording and route following features can also have a significant impact on battery life. We suggest turning these features off when you don’t need them.

Top tip: to maximise battery life, do not use the record or follow functions, as this requires the device to constantly update your location, which uses power. Instead, show the route on screen, and check your position against the route manually. You may need to wait a few seconds after unlocking your device for the location to update.

To maximise battery life use your devices' built in power saving options by reducing the time to standby/sleep, turning down screen brightness, turning off WiFi and Bluetooth and using any other power saving features.

Where are downloads stored?

Offline maps download to where your device automatically saves content. This may be internal storage even when you have and SD card installed.

Can I store maps on an SD card?

Security restrictions inside the Android and iOS operating system prevent most users from saving downloaded or saved maps on to an SD card. However, if your device has insufficient space there are two possible ways to resolve this.

1. Android: Use an app. Some apps allow data that cannot normally be transferred to be moved to SD card storage. Success will depend on your exact device model and the app available, so test your offline maps at home as you may need to download your maps again or re-install the app if it does not work as expected.

2. Use an SD card as your devices internal memory. New with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and later, you can set your device to use an SD card instead of the internal memory. This is most useful where you have relatively small internal memory, and have purchased a larger capacity, high performance SD card. Not all devices are capable of this, as it depends on the manufacturer, but some general instructions are available on HowToGeek.

 

 

Ordnance Survey © copyright
Be sure to take a look at our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy