OS Maps To Get Big Modernisation

In what the Ordnance Survey are calling their 'greatest innovation for over 200 years' all their paper maps will soon be sold with an additional electronic copy.

There's still a place for the trusty paper map, 188 kb
There's still a place for the trusty paper map
© Dan Bailey

Coming as a download of the area covered by the paper sheet, accessed at no extra cost by scratching off a security panel to reveal a unique code, the electronic version works on computers, tablets and smartphone web browsers. 

Users will be able to create routes (which can be recorded in real-time when you're out), and search over 400,000 routes from other people and some walking magazines. The map data is stored locally and available whether or not you've got a phone signal.

First to be available in the new format will be Outdoor Leisure maps, followed over the next year or so by all 607 titles in the OS Explorer, Landranger and Tour series.

'For safety reasons we always recommend anyone exploring the outdoors carries a paper map' said Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, 'so it made absolute sense for us to combine both paper and digital formats, to give people what they want with the security of having paper, and the added functions our digital map offers.'

In line with trends in the publishing industry generally, sales of OS paper maps fell in the last decade. But recently this decline has reversed, with the mapping agency reporting a modest 3% uptick in sales for 2014 and 7% in the 2014-15 financial year. They must be hoping this latest modernisation will cement the turnaround.

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