A new app for iPhone and iPad could make a hike in the country more akin to a walk in the park.
Map apps have been making the news for all the wrong reasons of late, with Apple’s coming in for the most criticism. Users complained landmarks were in the wrong place, or missing completely. And police in Australia even slammed the mistakes as life-threatening after motorists got lost in the outback.
But, given that Ordnance Survey, the mapping agency for Great Britain, has experience dating back to 1747, we’re hoping its pedigree of reliability translates to its move to embrace the smartphone revolution.
Its official map app brings the high-resolution maps for which it is renowned to either your iPhone or iPad. You get a map of Britain when you download for free but you have to pay for higher-resolution sections of the areas you want.
The OS Landranger maps, with a 1:50,000 scale, cost 69p, while the OS Explorers, with a scale of 1:25,000 are £2.49. In total, there are a whopping 5,696 mapping titles available to buy.
While Google’s app is meant for navigating the streets, OS maps are firmly aimed at those who like getting out an about in the countryside.
They could prove to be a vital tool, and perhaps even a lifeline, for ramblers, cyclists and horse riders who are going off the beaten path.
Once you buy them, the maps are stored on your device, meaning it can be accessed without any data connection, a feature that is clearly essential for many routes. There’s also a compass built in and an option to plan your route before you start or record it while you’re out and about.
The app has won rave reviews from technology critics and those who love the great outdoors. Outdoor Enthusiast Magazine said it had “many useful features” and described it as “great value”, while Acc Wed said: “Accurate mapping off-road, forget other maps and get this. Ideal tool for walkers… one of the most useful apps on my iPhone.”
With issues over accuracy of other maps, it’s reassuring to know that OS maps are produced using a team of 250 surveyors and two aircraft, with more than 10,000 changes made to the mapping database every day to keep it up-to-date.
Saying that the agency “prides itself on generating accurate and up-to-date mapping data,” Peter ter Haar, director of products at Ordnance Survey, added: ” Customers have been asking us to extend the ways they can access our detailed and trusted mapping to meet the demands of today’s digital lifestyle. We are delighted to be launching OS MapFinder to give consumers the most up-to-date mapping from just 69p. Customers will now be able to enjoy the same experience as using a trusted Ordnance Survey paper map when exploring Great Britain on the go, at the touch of a screen. OS MapFinder is an extension of our outdoor products with accessibility to our quality mapping in print, online and now on mobile devices.”
Well, it surely has to be better than wrestling with a fold-out paper map whenever you need to check your position. An Android version of the app is currently in development.