OS paper maps to include digital download

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As part of the launch of its new app, Ordnance Survey recently announced that all new paper OS maps will soon be coming with a digital download included.

The free app (available in the App Store or Google Play) includes satellite view and is bundled with a large-scale road map of the UK, but no OS data – and this is where the paper OS maps come in, because new versions with download codes included are being phased in right now.

This is what’s bundled with the free app:

osmaps1 IMG_2974
osmaps2IMG_2975The first maps available under the new system are the Explorer 1:25k maps covering the UK’s National Parks and AONBs. The rest of the Explorer maps will be released later this year, with Landranger 1:50k following in 2016.

Each download code can only be used once, by one user (though that user can delete and reload the data into their app as many times as they like, once it’s been added to their account), and is hidden behind a scratchcard-style panel inside the map – so no hot-footing it to your nearest outdoor store/bookshop and helping yourself to a country’s worth of maps…

Although the app is free, the download code is not – RRPs are rising to reflect the additional data (new Explorer maps are £8.99, a £1.00 increase on the old price), and you won’t be able to buy maps without the download code once the old stock is gone. So you’ll be paying for the download, even if you don’t plan on using it – or indeed can’t use it, even if you do want to, because the app’s available for iOS and Android users but as yet there’s no Windows version).

The downloaded data will also only work with OS’s app – you can’t use it in conjunction with any other mapping software or GPS unit. So if you want OS mapping for your MemoryMap, TrackLogs, etc, you’ll have to buy it again…

Are well-loved paper mps destined to become a thing of the past?
Are well-loved paper mps destined to become a thing of the past?

So what do you reckon – nice idea which enables one-stop cross-platform map usage, or money-making exercise penalising folk who only want a paper map, or can’t use the OS app?

Jenn Hill was the deputy editor here at Singletrack up until her untimely death from Lung Cancer in October 2015. She was and remains an inspiration to us all here at Singletrack. Jenn Hill - 1977-2015

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Comments (5)

    Sounds pretty poor, especially as it is a ‘sheet per sheet’ charge, rather than being entire areas.

    I think if you pay a subscription tho, you can access any area?

    Correct, paladin.

    If you pay for a subscription you can access the whole of the UK instantly in 1:25 and 1:50k mapping.

    Thanks to STW for making this article! 🙂

    It’s a good move, but the digital licence really needs to allow use on other devices.

    Good idea but Couldn’t get it to work on my phone. Not good that they put the price up. What if you just want an old fashioned paper map without the digital stuff?

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