OS Maps quick start guide
1. Logging in
You will be limited to basic features until you log in, and for the app version we recommend you do not log out between uses to ensure you do not lose any offline maps or routes.
2. Finding a location
You've got a choice of ways to navigate around the map:
- Click the ‘Find me’ button in the bottom right to find your current location (does this show the wrong location? Read this for more information).
- Search using the search box in the top left for a town, village, postcode or Grid Ref. In the app, this will only work while you have a data connection.
- Scroll with your mouse or touchscreen.
To zoom in and out use your mouse scroll wheel, pinch to zoom or us the zoom controls on the right of the screen.
3. Changing map style
Switch maps with the layer selector button in the bottom right:
- Standard: a zoomable map that shows everything from country overview to street map, ideal for finding locations and planning on-road activities.
- National Park Pathways: the standard map plus highlighting all paths, tracks, bridleways and roads in National Parks, enabling automatic snap to path route planning (premium users only).
- Standard + OS Leisure Maps: once you zoom in far enough this map will automatically switch to our classic 1: 50 000 scale Landranger or 1: 25 000 explorer style mapping. Ideal for walking, off-road cycling and any outdoor activity (premium users only).
- Aerial: high resolution, zoomable aerial imagery. Great for seeing more detail of the terrain and vegetation, or just to find your house.
4. Finding and planning routes
Use ‘Routes’ at the top of the screen to find an existing route or plan a new one.
- ‘Discover Routes’ shows all existing routes inside the current area created by other OS Maps users.In the app, discover routes is available under the layer selector (iOS only).
- ‘Create Custom Trail’ allows you to start planning your own route. Click on the map to create a start point, then create your route by adding more points. Inside National Parks you can use the snap to path feature on the National Park Pathways layer to make route planning faster and easier.
- ‘My Routes’ shows all your previously saved routes to review or print.
- ‘Import GPX’ allows you to import a GPX route file from your GPS device or other source (find out more about GPX files here).
While you are planning a route, you can use the ‘Expand’ button from the toolbar to hide most menus and panels, giving you maximum space to plan your route. Once you have created a route, it will automatically be copied to the OS Maps app on your mobile device. Similarly, any routes created in the app will appear in 'My Routes' on the desktop version.
5. Printing Routes and Maps
Click the print button on the toolbar (top right on desktop, bottom left on small screens) to print your map, with or without a current route.
You will print the current map type – standard, 50k, 25k or aerial photos. You can choose to print to a fixed scale, or fit the current route to screen if possible.
You can also choose A4 or A3 prints (if you have a suitable printer) and landscape or portrait orientation. There is also the option to show your waypoints and print a full route card with your map. Some print features are premium users only, and the are no printing functions in the app.
6. Turn by Turn Directions for Driving and Riding
Chose 'Directions' to create driving directions, or choose ‘get me here’ from any route or place marker to start calculating driving directions.
Simply enter your start and end location to calculate a driving route. You can print the resulting map and turn-by-turn directions to help you find your next adventure. Turn by turn direction are available in the browser version only.
7. Personal options
You can personalise OS Maps to suit your needs.
Click your name in the top right then 'Preferences' to switch from miles and feet to kilometres and meters, adjust your average walking, running and cycling speeds for more accurate estimated times and set the defaults for your personalised mapping and route planning.
The time estimates for walking will automatically allow for ascents using Naismith's Rule, and your speed settings will also be used for calculating times in the OS Maps app.
8. Find out more
Use the ☰ symbol(menu) then 'Information' to find the FAQ and more information on OS Maps.
Watch the OS Maps user guide videos
More help and FAQs