OS Maps online FAQ
- What computers, devices and browsers does OS Maps work on?
- How do I register?
- How do I subscribe to get the full features?
- How do I cancel a recurring Premium subscription?
- What are the terms and conditions of use?
- What features are available for guests, registered users and Premium subscribers?
- Why can I not log in to OS Maps even with the correct password?
- What can I do when some things don't load or I get odd errors?
- Why does the 'remember' tickbox not remember my password?
- Where can I find help for using OS Maps app on iOS (Apple) or Android devices?
Maps and features
- What maps are available? How do I view OS 1: 25 000 scale and 1: 50 000 scale maps?
- Where can I find the map legends / map keys?
- What types of places are shown on the OS greenspace layer?
- How do I find a location?
- How do I find Grid Reference for a location?
- How do I move around the map?
- How do I move around the Aerial 3D map?
- How do I enable/disable labels on the Aerial 3D map?
- Why can I not see labels on the Aerial 3D map when I zoom out?
- How do I find map features, such as pubs or places to stay?
- Where does the local weather forecast come from? Can I see the weather for tomorrow?
- How do I get driving directions?
- How do I plot a route?
- Can I make my route follow paths or roads automatically?
- How do I use the snap to path feature?
- What are the exclamation points on routes generated with Snap to Path?
- Can I keep my route in the centre of the screen?
- Can I view/create a route on the Aerial 3D map?
- How do I edit an existing route?
- How do change the colour or transparency of my route on the map?
- Can I move or delete an individual waypoint?
- Can I add comments to an individual waypoint?
- The estimated time calculation for my route is too fast or too slow!
- Why is the elevation profile or total ascent calculated not very accurate?
- How do I find my saved routes?
- How do I share my saved routes?
- How do I find an existing route created by other users?
- Can I create and export a GPX file in OS Maps? Can I save a route to my GPS?
- Can I import a GPX file and create a route in OS Maps?
- Why won't my GPX file import, with an 'import failed' message?
- How do I report a problem with a route published in OS Maps?
- How do I use My Activities?
- What happens if I use more than one device?
- How do I remove an activity I added in error?
- What printing options are supported? How do I print?
- How do I choose which map type (Explorer or Landranger) is printed?
- My route won't fit on a single page in 25K or 50K scale - how can I force it to fit?
- How do I ensure my map prints to exact scale?
- Can I print the elevation profile?
- Why does printing in landscape mode come out wrong?
- Why when I choose to print on A3 paper do I only get an A4 size map?
- My print is coming out wrong - what do I check?
- Why am I getting a blank page on print?
- Can I print the route card in a more compact format?
- Can I print from my Android or iOS (Apple) device?
Personalisation and options
- How do I set what is shown when I first log in?
- Can I get route distances to show in miles instead of kilometres, or heights to show in feet instead of metres?
- Why does the 'find my location' button show me in the wrong place?
OS Maps updates and current known issues
New release April 2018
The new fly-through system has now been added. You can use it on any route of your own or one you have discovered, and it will generate a 3D flight over the route path, as well as showing the height and progress along the route. Like Aerial 3D, this is limited to Premium users only.
Labels have been added to Aerial 3D view. You can turn these on and off using the button in the far right toolbar. Labelled features include towns, mountains and hill peaks, forests and transport links
Height gain added to route card
Added a fix to create 'soft' edges for routes in 3D to avoid the spikes that appeared in some browsers
Fixes for route cards printing empty pages, plus a few other minor improvements that are not visible to most users
Dec 2017 update
- Added the 'My Activities' feature. See here for more information.
- Aerial and Aerial 3D layers now from OS imagery
November 2017 update
- Large routes (>1000 points) can now be both recorded and imported from GPX files
- More map legends, now as pdf
- Selected route appears at the top of the list pin list
- Only waypoints with notes are included on the printed route-card
- Driving directions function removed
August 2017 update
- Added the 1:250k scale road maps, the 1:1 million GB map and overview map. These new layers are not available for printing yet
- Added another level of zoom for the 1:25k leisure map for detailed route planning
- 'Snap to Path' has been added to the leisure maps layer when in 1:25k view only. It is turned on by default when you are in a National Park area.
- You now change your password in the OS Shop My Account page, rather than in OS Maps
July 2017 update:
- Greenspace map added
- Route thumbnail images added
- Importing of Strava GPX files added
- Display on Mobile devices improved
- Fixes for printing in Chrome
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.
What computers, devices and browsers does OS Maps work on?
It will work on all computers, tablets and smartphones which include an up-to-date browser that can run HTML 5 including:
- Internet Explorer IE10
- Edge (current version)
- Chrome (latest release)
- Firefox (latest release)
- Android browser/Chrome for Android (current version)
- Safari on iOS and Mac (latest release)
- Chromium on Ubuntu (current stable build)
Windows phone/tablet users may find that some touchscreen devices are inaccurate when doing route planning due to issues with the touch location detection.
The Aerial 3D map, available to Premium subscribers, will work in all up-to-date web browsers on PC, Mac, tablet and smartphone. Older computers, computers without a graphics card and lower-end mobile devices may update slowly as you move your viewpoint. If this is the case, try closing any unnecessary programs and browser tabs to speed up the Aerial 3D map. The 'HD' option for Aerial and Aerial 3D will be enabled only if your device supports it.
Recommended minimum for Aerial 3D: Core i5 2GHz, 4GB memory, Intel HD 5000 / Nvidia 720M / Radeon HD 8670M GPU
The high resolution mapping and images can use quite a lot of data, so we recommend you use OS Maps on WiFi rather than 3g/4g connection.
For Android and Apple phones and tablets we recommend the OS Maps app. This uses your GPS to show where you are on a map, helps you follow a planned route or record where you have been and will even allow you to download maps for when you don't have a mobile phone signal. The OS Maps app is free to download, but some features require an OS Maps subscription - one subscription will cover both desktop/web and all your mobile devices.
If you encounter any compatibility issues please let us know.
How do I register?
Start OS Maps and close the initial splash screen. Click the 'Sign in' button in the top right and select the 'Register for OS Maps Free' button and enter your details. If you have previously made a purchase from the OS Shop and created an account you can use that existing email address and password.
If you get the message 'Error: user with email already exists' you have previously created an account with that email address. Use your existing password to login in, use a different email address to create a new account or use the 'Lost password' system to update your password.
How do I subscribe to get the full features?
At the sign in page or when advised a particular feature is limited to Premium subscribers, select a subscription package and complete the checkout process to access all the features. You can see a list of the subscription options here. You can also subscribe in the app.
How do I cancel a recurring Premium 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 Google Play in the app, you can cancel via Google Play subscriptions .
What are the terms and conditions of use?
You can find the terms and conditions for OS Maps and general use of the shop and site in our 'Legal' section.
What features are available for guests, registered users and Premium subscribers?
|Guest||Registered User||Premium Subscriber|
|Maps available||Standard, aerial, greenspaces||Standard, aerial, greenspaces||Standard, aerial, greenspaces, aerial 3D, 1:25k (Explorer), 1:50k (Landranger)|
|Snap to path in National Parks||No||No||Yes|
|Import route GPX||No||Yes||Yes|
|Change route colour||No||Yes||Yes|
|Find and view routes||Public only||Public only||Public and professional|
|Add route notes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Export route GPX||No||No||Yes|
|Show places of interest||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Print driving directions||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Printing sizes||A4; portrait||A4; portrait||A4, A3; portrait or landscape|
|Print maps||Standard||Standard||Standard, 1:50k, 1:25k|
Why can I not log in to OS Maps even with the correct password?
OS maps does not support some special characters that you may have used in your password. Try changing your password in the account management page to something that does not use the @, $ or £ signs.
What can I do when some things don't load or I get odd errors?
Some users may experience an issue where they get stuck in a loop trying to login, or you may find certain parts don't load or work as expected. One very common reason is issues with cookies and the local browser cache not matching the expected ones. This is often seen when we have just released an update.
First, try forcing a reload using
- Windows: ctrl + F5
- Mac/Apple: Apple + R or command + R
- Linux: F5
If this fails, try clearing your cookies and local cache and restart your browser before trying again. Make sure you close all browser windows with ordnancesurvey.co.uk pages, including the blog and shop.
Most web browsers: press Ctrl-Shift-Delete (Windows) or Command-Shift-Delete (Mac) and select 'cached files' or similar. There's more information at the links below.
Internet Explorer/ Edge
For other browsers please check the browser help for instructions.
Why does the 'remember' tickbox not remember my password?
We set a cookie to log you back in automatically. If the cookie is blocked or deleted, you manually log out or you use a different browser or device we will not be able to log you back in automatically.
Where can I find help for using OS Maps app on iOS (Apple) or Android devices?
Maps and features
What maps are available? How do I view OS 1:25,000 scale and 1:50,000 scale maps?
You can view the following maps:
- Standard: a zoomable map that shows everything from country overview to detailed road maps
- National Park Pathways: The standard map plus highlighting National Parks footpaths. Use this for the automatic Snap to Path routing. Premium subscribers only
- Greenspace: Shows greenspaces and recreation areas, with different types highlighted in different colours, plus pedestrian and vehicle entrance points.
- OS Leisure maps: Shows various scales of leisure mapping, automatically selected as you zoom in: Overview, 1:1 million, 1:250, 000 (Road), 1: 50 000 scale (Landranger) and 1: 25 000 scale (Explorer) as you zoom in. Automatic Snap to Path routing is available at 1:25k scale. Premium subscribers only
- Aerial: Zoomable aerial photography
- Aerial 3D: Aerial images overlaid on an accurate 3D terrain model to give an amazing 3d experience. It's ideal for checking the terrain for your planned route, or just exploring Britain from your computer. Premium subscribers only
We recommend Aerial 3D is only used on a WiFi or wired network connection as it uses a considerable amount of data. 3G and 4G connections may cause errors as it is unable to download all the images and terrain data fast enough to show the landscape.
Use the ‘layers’ button in the bottom to switch between the different map layers. OS Leisure maps and Aerial 3D map layers are only available to Premium subscribers. Standard and aerial imagery is available to Premium subscribers, guests and registered users.
The maps cover Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) only. The Isle of Man is available in Standard, Aerial and leisure maps down to 1:50 000 scale only.
OS Maps 'Standard' map
OS Maps Greenspace layer
Snap to Path routing in National Parks- pink highlighting shows paths that can be used
OS GB 1: 1 000 000 scale mapping
OS Road 1: 250 000 scale mapping
OS Landranger 1: 50 000 scale mapping
OS Landranger 1: 25 000 scale mapping - our most detailed leisure map
Aerial 3D view of the landscape, with or without your route
Where can I find the map legends / map keys?
The features shown in the 1:25k (OS Explorer) and 1:50k (OS Landranger) maps can be found in the main menu. Click the menu button in the top left (three lines) and select 'Map Legends'. You can also get a printable PDF for the main leisure scales:
- 1: 25 000 scale OS Explorer map legend
- 1: 50 000 scale OS Landranger map legend
- 1: 250 000 scale OS Road map legend
A map legend for the Greenspace layer can be found is the Legends above or by clicking ‘Help’ in the top toolbar while viewing the greenspace layer.
There is no legend available for the Standard map at the moment.
What types of places are shown on the OS greenspace layer?
|Public park or gardens, including village greens, nature reserves and similar|
|Play space – childrens’ 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 greenspaces map is for urban greenspace areas available to the public
While all the greenspaces are accessible to the public, they may only be open at selected times or there may be charges for access. Check for local signage.
How do I find a location?
Use the ‘Search for location’ box in the top left. You can use a place name, a postcode or a Grid Reference. For place names, it will suggest matches as you type - if the suggestions are incorrect you can keep typing to override them. After you have hit enter or clicked on a suggestion the map will move to that location and additional information for that point will be shown. You can now check the weather or begin plotting a route from this point.
If there is no exact match for your search, the search tool will match to the next best result. If there is no near match for the place you have entered the search box will revert to 'United Kingdom' – check your spelling and try again.
How do I find Grid Reference for a location?
On the toolbar, click the 'Grid Ref' button. The grid reference for the centre of the map will be shows in a pop-up box, and a small cross-hair will appear showing you exactly where this relates to. Scroll the map move the feature you want the reference for to the centre.
How do I move around the map?
- Use the search box to search for a new location
- Click the 'Locate me' (target) button to go to your current position (see here for more information)
- Click and drag with a mouse (click the left/main button and hold down, then move the mouse)
- Swipe with a touch screen
You can zoom in and out using the zoom controls on the right, by using pinch zoom on a touch screen or by using a scroll wheel on a mouse. Using the scroll wheel to zoom in will zoom to the location of your mouse pointer, not the center or the map.
How do I move around the Aerial 3D map?
You can still use the search box to find a location or the 'Locate me' (target) button to go to your current position.
Movement is more complex, as you can adjust the angle and direction of your virtual view. It can be controlled by the keyboard, mouse or a combination of the two.
↑: Tilt view up
↓: Tile view down
←: Rotate view left
→: Rotate view right
W: Move forward
S: Move backwards
A: Move left
D: Move right
Q: Move higher
R: Move lower
Z: Zoom out
C: Zoom in
Hold left mouse button and move the mouse to move around the map.
Use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out
Hold CRTL + hold left mouse button and move the mouse to adjust view around the mouse cursor
Hold SHIFT + hold left mouse button and move the mouse to rotate around your position
You can also use the on screen controls to adjust your view.
Tilt view up
Tilt view down
Reset view – if you become disoriented, use this to reset to the default view
Slowly rotate the around the centre of the screen
Toggle between HD and standard resolution (if available – requires a high resolution screen)
Move the outer ring to rotate the map map. Use the inner circle to tilt map - move the mouse further to rotate further and faster
The Aerial 3D map will try to keep your viewpoint in a useful orientation, but it is possible to end up staring at the sky or the side of a cliff, or even upside down! Use the ‘Reset view’ button to get yourself back to a normal view.
When using a touch screen you can zoom in and out by using pinch zoom, and rotate by using the two fingers and a rotation motion.
How do I enable/disable labels on the Aerial 3D map?
Use the button at the bottom of the far right toolbar - it looks like a mountain with two labels floating above it. Click to toggle between on and off. Light grey is on, dark grey is off.
Why can I not see labels on the Aerial 3D map when I zoom out?
Labels will only appear on the Aerial 3D map when you are zoomed in fairly close, and the feature is relatively close to the current location. Labels will appear and disappear as you move around to prevent them overlapping each other, and too many labels appearing at any one time.
How do I find map features, such as pubs or places to stay?
On the main menu then ‘Places’ and then turn on the features you would like to see. Any that are visible on the area currently being displayed will show as blue symbols.
Where there are several close together, they will appear as a cluster with a number instead of a symbol which shows the number of individual places. Zoom in until it displays individual points, or click on the cluster and use the arrows to scroll through the individual places. If there are no places within that category visible you may need to zoom out a little or move around the map until you can see them. You can use map features in any map type, including Aerial 3D
Where does the local weather forecast come from? Can I see the weather for tomorrow?
The weather forecast information available on the map, routes and features comes from the Met Office. The data is gathered from around 5,000 of their forecast and observation sites, and shows current weather conditions at that point. Clicking on the weather icon shows a forecast for that location for the next five days.
Fun tip: Turn on 'weather' in the Places menu to see where the weather stations are. They appear on the map showing current temperature.
How do I get driving directions?
Driving directions have been removed so we can focus on manual route planning, especially offroad
How do I plot a route?
Registered users and Premium subscribers can create a route. Start by clicking on ‘Routes’ and then ‘Create Custom Route’.
Your first click on the map will set the start point, marked with a green marker. Continue to click on the map to create subsequent points – the last will be marked with another green marker, while intermediate ones appear as small dots. Route markers will be connected by straight lines to allow you to plan a route on roads, footpaths or across open country.
You will notice the route data panel on the left will show the waypoints and elevation profile. You can hover over the elevation profile to show that point on the map.
You can change the location of any point by clicking it and dragging it to a new location. You can delete a point by clicking 'Delete' from the toolbar and clicking on the point to be deleted. You can remove the most recently added waypoints or undo a deletion by using the 'Undo' button on the toolbar. You can change the line thickness, colour and transparency by selecting 'Style' from the toolbar. If you are planning a route in a National Park and are a Premium subscriber, you also have the option of using the Snap to Path feature. It will be disabled when your route moves out of the national park.
Once you have completed your route click ‘Save’ on the toolbar. You will be prompted to enter a name, some notes and what activity this route was designed for – walking, running, cycling or other.
You can add additional information, such as the terrain type, difficulty and a rating, as well as uploading any photos (feature coming soon). By adding this information you can help both yourself and others to find routes that best meet their needs.
Lastly, you can set sharing options. Setting it to ‘Only Me’ keeps the route private. Selecting ‘Everyone' makes this route visible to all OS Maps users.
Can I make my route follow paths or roads automatically?
How do I use the snap to path feature?
You need to be a Premium subscriber to use the automatic snap to path route creation in National Parks. To start, change your map layer to 'National Parks pathways' or OS Leisure Maps. In the National Parks pathways layer you can see areas and individual paths highlighted in pink inside the National Parks - snap to path is only available in these areas. 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 used. On the OS Leisure Maps, ensure you are zoomed in to the 1:25k scale mapping - the orange section of the zoom bar. The snap to path icon (magnet) in the tool bar will change to blue to show it is active.
Next, select Route > Create Custom Route. Begin creating a new route as normal, and select walking or running to use all paths, or select cycling to limit your route to roads, bridleways and other suitable paths.
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. You can either drag your last point to a location on the path you want to take, or click on the route to create a new intermediate point and then move it to force the route to go a certain way.
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 blue, 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.
You can switch to any other map layer, such as Aerial 3D, to view your route and then switch back to continue planning.
Routes created using the snap tool can be saved in the same way as a normal route. If you export as a GPX file additional points will be added automatically to make a navigable route.
Overview of snap to route
What are the exclamation points on routes generated with Snap to Path?
The exclamation marks warn you of potential hazards identified on your automatically generated route. You may want to zoom in or check the other map scales to ensure you are happy with the route shown. Hazards flagged will include:
- Walking or cycling that uses a segment of an A-road
- Boulders and scree
- Cliffs and very steep slopes
Hazard warnings are based on underlying information on the map, not user reports, so will not show issues such as temporary diversions, blocked paths, flooding or weather conditions.
Can I keep my route in the centre of the screen?
Optionally, you can turn on a feature that ensures the last waypoint you have added is centred on screen. Go to your account (click your name in the top right), select 'Preferences' and turn on 'move map when plotting points'. This works better on faster devices with a good internet connection.
Can I view/create a route on the Aerial 3D map?
You cannot create a route on the Aerial 3D maps layer – it’s too hard to place waypoints accurately on the 3D terrain. However, you can view any existing route on the 3D map, and even switch views during route planning to check your route.
For an existing route – either your own or one found in ‘Discover Routes’: Either select the Aerial 3D layer and then select the route, or find the route in a different layer, select it and switch to 3D mapping. The map will automatically move to the start location.
For a route you are planning: At any point you can switch to the 3D layer to check the terrain, and switch back to continue planning your route. Your map view may move to try to keep your route in view.
How do I edit an existing route?
Click on 'Routes' in the top menu, then click 'My Routes' in the left menu. Select 'My Routes' to display all of your saved routes, then click 'edit' on the route that you wish to change. You can add additional points to the end of the route by clicking on the map. You can add intermediate waypoints by clicking on the route, or move existing waypoints by clicking and dragging them. You can also delete waypoints by switching to 'Delete' in the toolbar and clicking on them. Click save from the toolbar to keep your changes or cancel to discard them. Editing an existing route will override the original route details, not create a copy. The only way to create a copy of a route at the moment is to export as a GPX file and then import again - we are investigating options for creating copies more easily.
If your 'My Routes' folder is empty, you may have been logged out automatically after a period of inactivity. Please login again by clicking 'refresh' (or F5) in your browser, or closing and reopening OS Maps.
Note that you can only edit your own routes. You will not be able to edit a route created by someone else that you have found using the 'Discorver Routes' option.
How do change the colour or transparency of my route on the map?
While creating a route click the 'Style' button on the toolbar to change the route colour, line thickness and transparency. Choose the settings suitable for your route and map layer type here before printing or saving.
To change an existing route colour, find the route, click 'Edit' from the route panel and edit as above. Click 'Save' to keep your updates.
Can I move or delete an individual waypoint?
Yes. During route creation or editing, move a waypoint by single clicking / touching and then dragging it to a new position. Let go to drop it in the new position. To remove a waypoint altogether, select the 'Remove' button from the toolbar and click the waypoint to delete. Remeber to switch back to 'Plot' once you are done.
Can I add comments to an individual waypoint?
Yes. Select the waypoint on the route and select 'edit'. You can name the waypoint and add additional notes. By default only waypoints with notes are shown in the waypoint list or printed on the route card - use 'Detailed Waypoint View' option to turn on and off whether the complete list of waypoints are shown.
The estimated time calculation for my route is too fast or too slow!
Click your account name (top right) then select ‘Preferences’ to show the average speeds used for calculating route times. For walking and running, we use the basic 'Naismiths Rule' which adds 1 hour for each 600m of elevation gain (or 10 minutes per 100m). There is no adjustment for descents or difficult terrain such as mud or vegetation, so this is still only an estimate. For cycling this is a simple speed x distance calculation, so adjust the speed to your average cycling pace and allow for climbs manually.
Estimated times are not available for ‘other’ type routes.
Why is the elevation profile or total ascent calculated not very accurate?
Unfortunately due to the way that elevation is calculated it works better across a longer route with multiple waypoints. When a route is plotted, the elevation profile is determined by calculating points on the terrain using predefined intervals on the length of that route line to get the overall ascent between the waypoints.
If the route line is a short one consisting of two waypoints then the ascent will be calculated by taking the centre of that line between the two waypoints, which may not show the correct level of ascent, especially on steep terrain. When you add another waypoint in between then it will give you a more accurate value for the total ascent because there are more calculating points to calculate the total ascent of that route.
How do I find my saved routes?
Select’ Routes’ and ‘My Routes’ then open up ‘My Routes’. All your previously saved routes will be listed. You can sort by activity type, name or date. Click on a route name to jump to it on the map and the ‘More details’ on the pop-up to see the full route.
Your routes will automatically appear in the OS Maps app on Apple or Android devices. Ensure you log in to the app with the same username and password.
Similarly, any routes you create in the app by either the route planning function or by recording a route will appear in your routes list. Your mobile device will have to connect to the internet to allow routes to be synchronised.
First, make sure you have completed and saved your route. When saving, ensure the route visibility is set to 'Everyone'. If you need to change the route visibility, click 'Edit' in the top left, then the 'Save' button to bring up the options, and change the visibility setting before clicking the big 'Save' button at the bottom of the panel.
Once you have the route saved, or if you are sharing an existing route, go to Routes > My Routes and click on the route to show it on the map. On the map, click the 'View route' link on the pop-up. Your route will be shown, and the left hand panel will show the route summary. Beneath the route summary, click the 'Share' option to share the route.
Sharing by email will send an email from OS to the recipient. Facebook and Twitter sharing will require that you are already logged in to your account, or will request your login details.
You can also share the route manually just by copying the URL from the address bar of your browser. This is ideal if you want to share on a blog or a different social media network.
Users following a link will open OS Maps on Standard Map with the route in view, even if they are not currently registered or logged in. Premium subscribers will be able to switch to other map layers, but no-one is able to edit your route.
How do I find an existing route created by other users?
Select ‘Routes’; then ‘Discover Routes’. Any routes in the area of the map currently on screen will show as coloured markers. Green, orange and red markers indicate individual routes according to difficulty, while red markers with number indicate a 'cluster' of routes zoom in further to see more. Routes in the area are also shown on the left hand panel. If you cannot see any routes, try zooming out or moving the map – you may wish to zoom out to make it easier to find routes. Many routes are created by other users, but some are created by organisations like Trail Magazine - this will be noted in the description.
A maximum of 200 routes are shown at any one time. Zoom in further on the area you are interested in to show all available routes.
The coloured markers show the start points. Select a route you are interested on by clicking its name from the list or clicking the marker on the map. A pop-up will appear with basic route information and links allowing you to open the route, or get directions to the start point. Where more than one route starts from a specific point, all the routes from that point will be shown in the pop-up - scroll down to see them all.
The route list on the left will list not only routes that start in the area on screen, but also routes that cross the area. Click on the route name to jump to the start point on the map.
Click ‘View Route’ under your selected route to show the entire route including the route card and elevation profile. Once you have finished viewing or printing the route, click ‘Close’ on the route data panel to return to the route finder.
If you want to limit the routes to find a more appropriate one, you can use the filter boxes at the top of the route list to select the activity type, distance and estimated time. You can sort the routes by name, distance, difficulty and rating.
You cannot edit routes created by others.
Can I create a GPX file in OS Maps?
Yes. Once you have created and saved your route, find it in the 'My Routes' list. Click the route to show it on the map. Click the Export GPS in the left hand route to create GPX file.
Once you have created your GPX file it can be imported into almost any GPS device to follow the route. Please refer to your GPS manual and search for using or importing a GPX file.
OS Maps does not have the ability to use the Garmin Connect software to automatically move routes into a connected Garmin device. This is because Garmin Connect requires browser plugins, which most modern browsers will no longer allow. For the moment you can upload the GPX file manually or use the Garmin Basecamp software to transfer the file, and once Garmin make new software available we will investigate adding it to OS Maps.
GPX export is available to Premium subscribers only.
Can I import a GPX file and create a route in OS Maps?
Yes. Go to 'Routes' in the top menu and select Import GPX. Click 'Choose File' to find the file on your hard drive or connected device memory then 'Save' to create the route. Once you have imported a route it appears in the 'My Routes' list. You can update the route name, line style and more by selecting 'Edit route details' and editing it using these instructions.
Imported GPX files do not use the timestamps from the file (if available) to calculate route estimated times, but instead calculate it based on the activity and your personal average speed settings (set in 'Preferences'). This may be revised in a future release.
Why won't my GPX file import, with an 'import failed' message?
GPX files come in a wide range of versions. We've added the ability to handle the most common types, but it may not be able to understand some formats.
At the moment, we have set a maximum size of 10MB. If your GPX file is larger than this, reduce the size by splitting the route into two or more files, or by reducing the number of waypoints or the amount of information stored for each waypoint. Most GPS software packages have the ability to do this. Routes with over 1000 waypoints will be generalised to reduce the total waypoint count using the Douglas-Peucker algorithm, which removes unnecessary waypoints without changing the overall route.
How do I report a problem with a route published in OS Maps?
If you believe there is a problem with any particular route published on OS Maps you can tell us about it. For example, you may believe that someone has uploaded a route without the permission of the copyright owner; you may believe that a route encourages the public to cross over private land where there are no public rights of way; or the route breaches some other laws, code or regulations.
Please contact the Customer Service Centre, providing the URL of the route concerned and we can then investigate further and if we believe it is appropriate the route may be taken down in accordance with our Take Down Procedure described in Section 1.7 of the OS Maps Terms.
My Activities distance counter
How do I use 'My Activities'?
Start the 'My Activities' distance counter by selecting it your user panel. Select your name in the top right, and from the drop-down menu select 'My Activities'. It's designed to make it as easy as possible to keep track of how far you’ve walked, run or cycled – even if you forget to record a route while walking. There are four different ways to add miles to the counter:
- Record a route using the OS Maps app: at the end of recording you’ll be asked if you want to add the distance to your activity record
- Follow a route using the OS Maps app: 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
- 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. Click 'add activity' then find the route in your routes library and select it, then give it the date
- Plot a route: click 'add activity' then 'create' in the top of the route plan to create a new saved route and add it as an activity
What happens if I use more than one device?
Your activity record syncs across web, Android and iOS versions 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.
How do I remove an activity I added in error?
In 'My Activity', find the activity to remove from the history list and click the 'remove' button.
What printing options are supported? How do I print?
- Premium subscribers can print maps and routes in A4 or A3 showing the standard map, 1:25 000 scale or 1: 50 000 scale mapping. For the moment, printing the 1:250k and 1: 1 million map scales is not available.
- Registered users can print the standard and aerial maps in A4 portrait or landscape, including printing routes they have created or discovered.
- Non logged in users cannot print – please register for free to enable printing.
- There is no printing available from Aerial 3D.
To print the current map view or route, ensure the area you wish to print is currently visible on screen, and click the 'Print' button on the toolbar. The map will print the current layer selected - you can still switch layers using the layer switch button.
The print area preview will show the current extent of the map that will be printed. Zooming in or changing the paper size or orientation will change the area covered by the print. A3 options are available for Premium subscribers only. Maps can be printed to scale, or select ‘Fit map to page’ to print the whole route on one page, if possible. Note that grid references are only shown on 'to scale' prints.
Click the ‘Include route card’ option to print the description and a list of waypoints with notes for the current route. If you wish to print all waypoints, both with and without notes, select the 'detailed waypoint view' option. For longer routes, especially those created from a GPX file, this could create a large number of pages.
While in this mode you can adjust the area being printed by moving the map or zooming out / switching layers. Once you are happy with the area selected click 'Preview' to see a fully-rendered preview of your map, or 'Print' to print immediately.
Printing in OS Maps
How do I choose which map type (Explorer or Landranger) is printed?
You will print whatever map scale is visible on screen at the time. Change map layer and zoom in to show the area and map type desired. The zoom bar shows the current map type selected. Grey is the 'standard' map, purple is the 1:50K scale Landranger map and orange is the 1:25k Explorer map. You can print to exact scale by selecting the 'Print to scale' option from the print panel.
My route won't fit on a single page in 25K or 50K scale - how can I force it to fit?
We have deliberately limited the maximum area you can print on the 25K or 50K maps so that the detail is still visible, even if you use the 'fit to page' option. If your route will not fit on a page, you can either use a printer that supports A3 printing (if you have access to one) or print the route on multiple sheets of paper.
To print on multiple sheets of paper, drag the map on screen to select the first part of the route and print. Drag the map to cover the next area - use the print area overview to help you create a small overlap with the previous print - and print again, then repeat as necessary. This will allow you to print large maps for long routes, but still use a scale that shows all the details.
How do I ensure my map prints to exact scale?
When setting your print, ensure you select the 'Print map to scale option' to print the current scale. However, this will sometimes create a print that is not exactly 1:25 000 or 1:50 000 - you can check using the scale at the bottom of your map. Every browser and printer uses slightly different settings, so here are some things to try to get an exact scale print:
- Reduce the margin size to the smallest size possible. If your printer has 'edge to edge' printing, try this option.
- Make the margins in the printer setting match the margins in the browser print settings
- Tick the 'print original size' option in your printer options dialog - only some printers have this
- Try using a different browser. At the time of writing Chrome tends to shrink images by around 5% on print
- Print using a PDF print driver, and then use a PDF viewer or editor to re-scale before printing
Can I print the elevation profile?
Yes. When printing, tick the ‘include route card’ option. The elevation profile appears on the first page of the route card - you can use your printer options to print just that page if required.
Why does printing in landscape mode come out wrong?
There are many variations in how printers work, and for some, after choosing to print in landscape in OS Maps, your may have to leave the print settings in the print dialog in portrait mode, still selecting A4 or A3. Test your particular setup by using print preview or printing in black and white before printing in full colour. Use the 'Print using system dialog' (or similar) option to access your printer settings to check and adjust them. Most of the print problems are caused by the print driver settings not matching the options set in OS Maps:
My print is coming out wrong - what do I check?
As you are printing from a web browser, ensure you are using the latest version, and always print by using the print function in OS Maps, not the browser print function.
The main settings to check are the print margins options available in File >Page Setup (depending on your browser). Ensure 'portrait' is selected, scale is set at 100% and 'shrink to fit page' is selected. Even if you require a landscape print, printer need to be left in 'portrait' mode.
- Print only shows part of the map, and leaves half the paper blank (A4):
Check the paper orientation on the print driver and change. Many printers will need to be on 'portrait' even for landspcae prints
- Complete map is printed but is too small, with a large white border:
Check the paper size setting in OS Maps matches the print driver setting
- Print covers the page, but only shows only part of the map:
Check the paper size setting in OS Maps matches the print driver setting
- Map is split over two pages:
Check paper orientation and size, and reduce print margins as far as possible in the print driver
If your problem persists, try clearing your cookies and cache using these instructions.
Why when I choose to print on A3 paper do I only get an A4 size map?
Of course, you will need an A3 printer plus suitable paper to create an A3 size print! Ensure the print options are set to A3, and then use your computers print driver settings to adjust the print options, including selecting the correct tray with the A3 paper loaded. Every printer works slightly differently, and you may have to experiment to find a setup that works for you. Depending on your computer and browser settings you may need to use the 'Print using system dialog' option to be able to adjust the print driver settings on each print.
If you do not have a printer that takes A3 paper, you can manually move the area to be printed around to create multiple prints. The print area overview will help you create multiple prints that can be aligned and stuck together.
Top tip: print in black only until you get the settings right to save colour ink/toner.
Why am I getting a blank page on print?
The most common reason is using the browsers print button instead of the OS Maps app print function. Only use the OS Maps print button to start printing your map.
The other common reason is that you have been automatically logged out after not using OS Maps for some time. Try saving your route to trigger the login screen, or log out and back in if there are no changes to save.
For Mac users, using the 'Preview' button before printing often resolves this issue.
If you are still having printing issues please contact us.
Can I print the route card in a more compact format?
The route card is designed for clarity, but if you want to save paper we suggest you use your printer settings to print two pages per sheet. In the print dialogue, go to your print settings and choose the ‘multi-page’ option. The availability and exact functionality will depend on your printer and print driver.
You can also remove notes on some waypoints in route edit mode. The default route card will now only show waypoints that have a note.
Can I print from my Android or iOS (Apple) device?
OS Maps runs in your web browser, so any feature or app that allows you to print from your web browser will allow you to print your map. Please read the about Cloudprint for Android or AirPrint for Apple for the official way to print from these devices, although there are also apps from other suppliers that offer additional features. We have not fully tested all the possibly print options for AirPrint and CloudPrint - for support with getting printing to work from your device please contact your device manufacturer.
Personalisation and options
How do I set what is shown when I first log in?
Premium subscribers only: click on your username and then select ‘Preferences’ to change the options. You can set the map to open showing all of Great Britain (default), at your current location (as detected by your browser or device GPS settings) or at a fixed point.
You can also set the default map layer to be shown. Note that the accuracy of your current location depends on your browser and ISP settings, and can be significantly incorrect, especially if your browser or ISP is deliberately masking your true location.
Can I get route distances to show in miles instead of kilometres, or heights to show in feet instead of metres?
Yes. Click on your account name in the top menu, then ‘Preferences’ and change show distances and measurements from metric to imperial. This will show all distances and speeds in imperial measurements - you cannot mix metric and imperial, for instance on the elevation profile.
Why does the 'find my location' button show me in the wrong place?
The 'find my location' button in the bottom right uses your browsers location data to identify your current location. For this to work, your browsers location services have to be enabled - most browsers will display a pop-up message or an icon in the address bar asking you to allow this.
Location services are most accurate on devices with GPS, which includes smartphones and some tablets. For desktop computers the browser makes its best guess based on user information and IP address. However, depending on your computer this can vary in accuracy, often showing an approximate position within a few kilometres, or showing the location of your broadband provider. If your location is not accurate, you may want to change the start location to a fixed point in Preferences, rather than using the 'My current location' option.
Options panel in OS Maps
I can't access OS getamap to find my old routes
OS getamap has now been closed down. Any route created before 6 March 2015 was imported into OS Maps, but routes created after this point have been lost unless you exported them. We decided to close OS getamap as it was built on MS Silverlight technology which was no longer supported on some browsers, such as Chrome, as well as on any mobile device.