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OS Maps

OS Maps


Postby jamiecopeland » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:05 am

I am looking for advice from people who use hard copy OS Maps whilst hillwalking.

Do you, personally, buy each individual OS Map as required or do you print out the necessary “tiles”.

For those of you who buy the hard copy maps, is there an economical method?!
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Re: OS Maps

Postby Caberfeidh » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:11 am

jamiecopeland wrote:I am looking for advice from people who use hard copy OS Maps whilst hillwalking. Do you, personally, buy each individual OS Map as required or do you print out the necessary “tiles”. For those of you who buy the hard copy maps, is there an economical method?!


A perennial question for the avid, and usually impecunious hiker! I love O.S. maps, for sheer browsing value alone they're as good as a book, but unfortunately as expensive. I have found that charity shops and old book shops have map sections, where can be found old maps for a fraction of the price of new. There is a price to be paid on the ground though, as forestry may have come or gone, paths shifted and buildings appeared or disappeared. The hills remain the same though, and this method of map acquisition can lead to an unwary map-seeker spending the same amount, or more, on maps, just with lots more maps. Printing out individual tiles is all very well, and at first I rejoiced in this new-found mapdom, but if you wander off your tile, or seek to identify landmarks beyong the reach of the tiles on your rucksack, you see the value in large O.S. maps, and the fullness of your folly is laid bare to you. I prefer to take as much information as possible with me.

Sea Chart#2.jpg
Sea Charts ~ a treasure in themselves
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Re: OS Maps

Postby walkingpoles » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:47 am

I use the 1:50'000 ones. They cover 4 times as much area than the 1:25'000 ones, so the price is OK-ish. Skye might be the only region where the 1:25'000 are better suited.

I prefer planning the hikes without a computer, but that's just me. For long distance hikes I brought printouts along as they are lighter and can be discarded after finishing a section.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby Ben Nachie » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:25 pm

When I first started in the hills I would just buy a new map every time I went to a new area. Within about three or four years I had almost every 1:50,000 map with a Munro on it.

That was in the late '80s and I'm still using the very same maps today. I've only had to replace two or three due to wear & tear, and have added various Cuillin maps to the collection, and a few choice Harvey's maps too.

In fact, Harvey's are a very good choice because although they don't cover all of the highlands, with the right five or six you can cover big chunks of the best areas, and they have a lot more detail than the OS 1:50,000 maps.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby JaneAyr » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:45 pm

You could try your local library. Ours has a huge selection of OS Maps
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Re: OS Maps

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:51 pm

For most hills I tend to have the OS 1:50,000 or get it in advance in a map case in rucksack or external pocket - think I have about 30 at the moment collected over the years. As noted above, some are old but still usable. I also often print off a copy of a smaller area to keep handy in a pocket as I've never liked carrying a map case around my neck.

As for cost, try Dash4it - they often have offers, eg at the moment they're doing 40% off with code ORD40, with free UK delivery.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby Caberfeidh » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:09 pm

On my first visits to the Cairngorms I used the old one inch to one mile map of the Eastern Cairngorms but due to the lack of detail I missed out on a loch, a lovely wee fishing spot which I only found ages later with the aid of a better 1:25000 map. Ship's Charts have gone digital too, I expect we will not stock tyhe paper charts for long. When I worked on a big Norwegian vessel years ago I used to cadge the old charts which were just being chucked away, I have enough to wallpaper my home now, but I am waiting until my fishing shack is built, then I can paper it with charts of the Norwegian shoreline, and Orkney and Shetland Islands...

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Re: OS Maps

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:42 pm

I have always said that if I win the lottery, one of the first things I will buy is a full set of Ordnance Survey maps, both 1:50k and 1:25k.

I now mostly use the latter scale, I like the extra detail. This is partly because its useful, but as much because it gives me more of a picture of the landscape, geology and even history than 1:50k can do. The slower I travel, as exploring becomes more important to me than ticking, the more I look at the map for interesting little areas to divert to. For me, therefore, actual paper maps work far better. They give me much more than the small screen of a phone can do.

That's not to say I'm not a convert to digital. I do lots of my planning on the laptop screen, exploring Britain "virtually" through with OS Maps or often Walkhighlands mapping as this is one of the most user friendly formats I've found. Once I've got my rough ideas in my head, I get the paper map out (I've acquired both Landranger and Explorer titles for most of the NW Highlands by now) lie it on the floor, and let the eye, and mind, wander.

Out in the field I mostly use the paper map, or often the waterproof version, but I do have the relevant area downloaded onto my phone via the OS Maps app. This is great for a quick check.

The one thing I don't do, is download or draw a route onto digital and actually use the device to follow it. To me, that takes your eyes from the landscape, to simply following a virtual arrow. Without the need to look around to work out the route, you lose sight of so much of interest, plodding head-down across the landscape. I do digitally draw the line on so I can see distances and height profiles though.

I've also occasionally printed out from OS Maps, though I far prefer having the whole thing.

As an aside, when I first started open canoeing, which gradually took over from hillwalking and biking as my main activity, I guess I thought I wouldn't use maps as much, as you just follow the river or canal. Wrong! Even for a paddler, maps show me so much; gradient of the river, distances, likely wind direction on a loch due to the mountain profiles, difficulty of portages, possible wild camps, etc, etc. This ultimately led to planning a route last Easter crossing Assynt and Inverpolly where paddling and portaging meant it was very necessary to use the map. With wind a big issue, we were looking at the contours to find sheltered shores, launch spots, and camp spots, and had to change our plans several times, all of which were done with the map in hand.

I couldn't resist bringing one of my favourite acquisitions along on that trip, kept safe and sound deep in a bag. A 1960ish old 1" to the mile map of Assynt. Very little has changed. Afterwards I took a photo of it and "drew" our route on digitally.


Image


Image


One day, I too, will wallpaper half my house with maps!


As for the original question, keeps your eyes out, retailers and online stores often have reductions. To me, though I will get them cheap when I can, maps are excellent value for money any way, for they bring me adventures, both actual, and of the mind.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby garyoppolis » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:11 pm

If you look at the OS website you'll see you can sign up for an "OS Maps" account. It's about £20 a year and allows you unlimited printing, at the correct scale, of any part of the country in A4 or A3. I used to print two A4 pages at work and tape them together. Two A4 pages at 1:25k will cover a lot of day routes and you can always do the same for 1:50k to get a bigger area.

That fits much more handily in a map case: mine gets folded in four and tucked between the waist belt of my bag and my left hip. It also means you don't have to unfold four square feet of map in a stiff breeze on an open hillside which is the one thing the OS does really badly.

My first preference is for Harvey maps these days. The Superwalkers in particular can be opened to any part of the map by opening two folds which goes a long way to mitigating the sail/kite effect that OS maps suffer from. For anywhere not covered by Harvey maps though I still rely on my OS Maps printouts.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby Quincy » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:32 am

Checking your local library is a good shout if your in a city. I used to live in Newcastle and their library had a fantastic selection of Scottish os maps. They kept 2 copies of every map.

If you’re looking for any offers on maps to buy Waterstones are generally £8:99 and WH Smith’s £9:99 but do a buy one get one half price offer so works out slightly cheaper. I do love having a map to pour over rather than looking on a screen. In the past I have stitched together pages from streetmap.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby nick70 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:45 pm

Quincy wrote:Checking your local library is a good shout if your in a city. I used to live in Newcastle and their library had a fantastic selection of Scottish os maps. They kept 2 copies of every map.

If you’re looking for any offers on maps to buy Waterstones are generally £8:99 and WH Smith’s £9:99 but do a buy one get one half price offer so works out slightly cheaper. I do love having a map to pour over rather than looking on a screen. In the past I have stitched together pages from streetmap.



As Rockhopper has stated, Dash4It are by far and away the best place (cheapest) for maps. They generally retail at about £6.60 (ish) but generally they always have a deal on. Like the 40% the now, so you may be able to pick up an OS map for a little over £4.
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Re: OS Maps

Postby crfishwick » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:33 am

walkingpoles wrote:I use the 1:50'000 ones. They cover 4 times as much area than the 1:25'000 ones, so the price is OK-ish. Skye might be the only region where the 1:25'000 are better suited.


If you have seen the Skye 25K map you would change your mind! Too much detail for use especially the Cullins. :wink:
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Re: OS Maps

Postby rabthecairnterrier » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:00 am

I've seldom used anything but standard 1:50,000 OS Landrangers, not being at all a gadget/GPS/smartphone person. Don't have a printer for my computer either. Never had a problem. Just remove the covers (they are designed to facilitate this) to make it easier to fit into a map case (buy a decent one). As a previous poster suggested, if you just buy them as you need them after a few years you will have coverage of most, if not all, of the areas of interest to hillwalkers. Occasionally they may have to be replaced due to wear and tear, but I'm certainly still using maps 20+ years old. Granted, they're not up-to-date like electronic versions, but in upland areas the rate of change is pretty slow, and if there are any new plantations/hill tracks etc that don't appear on the map it's not generally too difficult to work out what's going on - contours don't generally change much!
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Re: OS Maps

Postby StevieC » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:01 pm

It always surprises me when this subject comes up how many hillwalkers prefer 1:50k to 1:25k. For me, I much prefer the additional detail 1:25k gives, such as fence lines etc. I also think they just look better, and agree with the poster above that I enjoy wandering off-piste to explore some detail mentioned on the map.

To answer the OP's question, I always take my Explorer map out with me, but find myself more often "cheating" and using the OS app on my phone. I don't bother downloading maps, so if there's no signal then it's back to the trusty paper map obviously. As also mentioned above Dash4it are great for maps...that's where I get mine
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