Signs of the times: Ordnance Survey to consult on new map symbols


For greater than 200 years, Ordnance Survey maps have featured symbols denoting every part from church buildings to battle websites. Now the company is to seek the advice of members of the general public on new symbols to carry the maps into the trendy world.

It would run a undertaking later this yr to find what the general public wish to see on its leisure maps. It could possibly be symbols for bike restore retailers, cafes, canine waste bins, or jetties and protected river-access factors for water sports activities.

“In the event you’re canoeing, it could possibly be protected locations on a river the place you’ll be able to launch your canoe or get to the water safely. Or for cyclists, the placement of motorcycle restore retailers. So it could possibly be very particular, tailor-made info,” a spokesperson stated.

Ordnance Survey, generally known as OS, stated the brand new symbols have been supposed to assist folks getting outdoors safely. It’s suggesting updates equivalent to marking accessible routes by exhibiting paths with or with out stiles, to assist wheelchair and pushchair customers.

The spokesperson stated: “At OS, we wish to make the outside fulfilling, accessible and protected and attempt to make sure that our merchandise encourage and allow folks to get outdoors safely. Map symbols are an necessary a part of our leisure merchandise in aiding customers to navigate and discover Nice Britain. It’s critical that that the symbols we use on these merchandise assist walkers and outside fanatics.”

In 2015, the mapmakers ran a contest for the general public to design new symbols. These included indicators for artwork galleries, skate parks, photo voltaic farms, kite browsing, public bathrooms and electrical automobile charging factors.

OS stated it didn’t have speedy plans so as to add the charging station image to its paper maps, as a result of the market was “altering at an exceptional tempo”. It additionally has no plans to incorporate info on 4G and 5G protection, “because of the altering nature of the sign ranges and the shortage of outlined boundaries”. However OS is supporting different corporations with correct knowledge to visualise these.

“We will’t embody every part on the leisure maps and must be centered on the tens of millions of people that use and depend on them,” the spokesperson stated.

OS has its roots in 18th-century army maps and first revealed in 1801. It sells just below 2m copies of its paper maps every year, which makes up 5% of its enterprise. Its app has 5 million customers.

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OS’s knowledge is utilized by the federal government, emergency providers, and personal corporations equivalent to Garmin, Experian and Google.

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