Where would we be without maps? Lost! One of the most useful things you can carry in the rucksack, Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer maps are a common sight being studied carefully by ramblers, mountaineers and explorers for decades, spread over the kitchen table or under canvas as they plan for the next adventure...
After the Jacobite Rising in 1745 Prince William, Duke of Cumberland realised that the British Army did not have a good map of the Scottish Highlands so he could capture dissenters and put them on trial. Lieutenant-Colonel David Watson in 1747 proposed a compilation of maps and a survey was produced at a scale of 1 inch to 1,000 yards and this first map produced is now held in the British Museum.
In the years 1783-1853 William Roy, one of Watson's assistants began work on the Board of Ordinance, beginning a military survey starting from the South Coast all the way up the country. By the 1820's about a third of England and Wales was mapped and most of the rest was completed by 1840. Ordnance Survey started mapping the whole country county by county at 6 inches to 1 mile and later 1;2500 as more detail was required by land owners and for the inhabited areas of the country for taxes etc.
As the years progressed, maps got bigger, better and more detailed and used by businesses as well as the general public and was very much in demand. Today, Ordnance Survey produces detailed and more specific maps for business markets such as telecommunications and Gas and Water companies as well as for the Leisure Industry. Paper maps are still really popular and are in 1;25,000 and 1;50,000 scale known as Explorer and Landranger and are also in a downloadable format too for the more tech savvy. Ordnance Survey have over 1200 employees and are based at Explorer House in Southampton.
For a more detailed history of Ordnance Survey click here
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