Maps unwrapped – Which map is best for my journey?

posted in: Hiking & Walking | 0

Where would we be without maps? Lost!

One of the most useful things you can carry in the rucksack is a map! Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer maps are a common sight being studied carefully and stared at with great intent by ramblers, mountaineers, expedition groups and explorers for decades, spread over the camping table or under tent porches, across rocks and crags and trig points as they plan for the next adventure.

Whenever you head off out on the trails or into the hills it is advised that, even if following a recognised route, you take a map and compass for those “just in case” moments.

Maps come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and cover a variety of landscapes and having been around for over 8000 years, there are plenty in circulation.

Ordnance Survey Maps


As a map has to represent a portion of earth’s surface accurately, each map has to have a “scale” which indicates the relation between the distance on the map and the actual distance on the land.

The map scale is typically shown in the legend box of a map, along with other symbols that provides useful information about the map. Still even if you’re used to using a map but always losing your compass bearings then you ought to know a little more about magnets!

OS EXPLORER MAPS are designed for all outdoor activities where you need to plan routes and find your exact position which makes them great for walking groups, ramblers and expedition groups including those doing The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

They give great coverage of the ground with easy to read conventional signs that show public rights of way including footpaths, bridleways and trails, boundaries, landscape features and places of interest which makes them suitable for day trips in the countryside, short getaways where walking is a must and long trail trips where following a series of footpaths is part of the mission.

OS Explorer maps are ideal for people of all ages and map reading abilities whether young, old or in-between and can be a good introduction if you have never read a map before.

The map scale is 1:25 000 which means that every 1 cm on the map is equal to 250 m on the ground. These maps have bright orange covers so you cannot miss them!

OS LANDRANGER MAPS are designed for general outdoor leisure trips and touring and have been designed for the individual who enjoys days out, short breaks and holidays to both town and country locations.

They are easy to read and cover a vast amount of ground giving a clearer overview of the lay of the land.

The Landranger maps contain less detail than the OS Explorer series, but cover a larger area and show places of interest, tourist information, roads, and landscape features – so if you’re heading out to an area for a short period of time but wanting to visit lots of locations, this might be the map for you!

Landranger Scale

The map scale is 1:50 000 which means that every 1 cm on the map is equal to 500 m on the ground. Landranger maps have bright pink covers and have clear titles of the area they cover – again you can’t miss them.

ROAD MAPS are specifically for those doing a lot of travel in a vehicle.

Whether off on a camping trip with a car packed full of kit – oh and the kids, enjoying a relaxing caravan break in the countryside or driving the highways and byways at home or abroad, you most certainly need a road map to help you plan your route and make sure you are on the right road at all times.

This kind of map lays out all of the roads and transport links rather than geographical information. In addition to roads and boundaries, road maps often include points of interest, such as prominent businesses or buildings, tourism sites, parks and recreational facilities, hotels and restaurants, as well as airports and train stations.

Heading out on a road trip soon? You need this map to keep you on track!

WATERPROOF MAPS are more readily available these days and both OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps are also available with a protective waterproof coating – aptly named “Active Maps”.

These are great if you are the kind of person who loves walking come rain of shine.

Whether out in boggy mud or following a waterfall trail, these maps will wipe clean with ease and can be written on with washable ink.

Waterproof maps are also tougher and can be a great way to introduce your little one to maps as they can draw their favourite route on and carry it with them without fear of it being ripped up!

In this age of modern technology, DIGITAL MAPPING has become more prevalent and is taking a leading step in the outdoor world.

With Garmin devices and electronic mapping being available through applications on mobile devices it is now easier than ever to have a map in your pocket – without it being bulky and uncomfortable!

Remember that any electronic device, no matter how good, cannot be relied upon 100% as they all have a battery life. The digital map is an electronic map, which operation is based on a combination of graphic elements assigned to it in the form of electronic information.

Advantages of digital maps compared with paper maps are visible at first glance. They can include any area and are scalable which means you can freely zoom in and out.

As they constantly update the information, digital maps become more detailed and accurate all the time.

Digital Maps may contain extra information and layered architecture which can give you a 3d view. Most digital maps these days have interactive voice functions and answer to selected actions.

If you want to know the history of the OS Map then make sure you read our blog on The Ordnance Survey – putting Great Britain on the map where you can read up on how it all began!

If you’re looking for a reliable compass to accompany your map then why not watch our Silva Compass Comparison Video! Click the image below to go straight there:

Ordnance Survey Maps - Buy Now

Buy now from e-OUTDOOR


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Marketing & Social Media Manager

I love the outdoors and I love good food. So guess what I do for a job? Yep, Marketing & Social Media for e-OUTDOOR and Director of House of Goodness Ltd.