OS Maps – the App

Recently, the Ordnance Survey (OS) updated an app for both mobile and desktop devices that utilises their 1:25,000 Explorer and 1:50,000 Landranger maps—classic OS mapping at it’s best. Whilst the app was first introduced in 2016, it has gone through it’s most significant updates in 2017.

The OS has been forced to improve the public accessibility to its products by the relentless march forward of Google Maps and the OpenStreetMap project. There is little to rival the OS in terms of large-scale mapping and mapping accuracy, but smaller scales from 1:5,000 up, the story is different. The app has a subscription model, although it’s difficult to argue that £20/year to access several different OS products across the whole of the UK is not worth it. You have access to, dependent upon device, a Standard Map, Offroad Routing, National Park pathways, Greenspace, Explorer Map (1:25k), Landranger Map (1:50k), Satellite Maps, Night Map and Aerial 3D Mapping. Clearly, the app is dedicated to exploring the great outdoors and encouraging more activity. We need it!

You can create your own walks, follow other user’s walks, and explore the British countryside in great detail, including the terrain. All of the map types have a use and I’m particularly pleased to see the classic OS Explorer and Landranger series make it online like this, completely unrivalled in design and function in this market. Of course, exploring the world in 3D is always fun.

There has been some criticism of the interface and functioning of the app itself, though most apps are not perfect to everyone, but I’m pleased to see the OS release this and provide access to such useful data sets. It can only encourage map use and our desire to explore. But don’t walk off a cliff while staring at your phone, or get hit by a bus—just reinvigorate your senses.

March, 2017

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