Ordnance Survey app aims to find the way for the 20% of Britons getting lost

A recent survey shows one in five Britons admit to having been lost on at least two occasions, but national mapmakers Ordnance Survey have found a way to help with their OS Locate app.

he British have some extraordinary reasons for getting lost according to an Ordnance Survey poll. Among the stats revealed – one in five people didn’t know that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, though these people may fare better than the one in twenty Britons who believed that North was always in front of them.

Is it because people now rely on technology alone to get around? If that’s the case, among Ordnance Survey’s range of apps is the free mobile app download, OS Locate, which is a fast and highly accurate digital means of pinpointing a user’s exact location – and even better it works with the tried and trusted way of knowing where you are – an Ordnance Survey map.

Now available on iOS and Android, OS Locate has seen over 25,000 downloads since its launch in February 2014 and has been praised by search and rescue teams on- and off-shore as being a handy tool. The app is special, because it works without a mobile signal or Wi-Fi. Instead it uses the device’s GPS to pinpoint a user’s location and tells them the grid reference or their longitude and latitude. With thousands of people needing rescuing each year, being able to tell people an exact location could be essential information.

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Ltd, said: “We believe there is a place for digital and paper maps in the world of outdoors navigation and our OS Locate and OS MapFinder apps display the quality and accuracy that you expect from Ordnance Survey products. However, it is important that people out exploring ensure that they have a paper map, compass and navigation skills to support any digital map devices that they are taking with them.”

Meanwhile, brushing up on map-reading skills in advance would be advisable. Other stats in the survey show more than a third of us cannot use a compass, around one in ten can’t read a paper map and 30% can’t use the legend on the map to work out location and distances.

Ordnance Survey has also teamed up with wildlife and outdoors expert Simon King on a series of short videos, available on the mapping agency’s website, to help people rediscover their navigation skills and feel comfortable with reading a map. Simon King said: “Navigation skills are essential for security, for peace of mind, for a sense of discovery and for sharing the magic of the world about us.”

To find out more about OS Locate and download the app: www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-locate

To brush up on map-reading skills, visit: www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/resources/map-reading/index.html

For more about Simon King, visit: www.simonkingwildlife.com

About Us

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain's national mapping authority, keeping 460 million geographical features updated to provide an accurate picture of the country. We collect, maintain and distribute the most accurate and up-to-date geographic information (GI) of the whole country that government, business and individuals all rely upon. From our surveyors on the ground, measuring and tracking changes; our planes that maintain our aerial photography of Great Britain; data technology specialists who build and maintain our bespoke IT systems; and product experts redefining how customers can benefit from our data, we all have one vision: to be the content provider of choice for location-based information. Our iconic maps are one of our most recognised brands, but these days digital data accounts for 93% of our business. Demand for accurate, accessible, high-quality GI has never been so high. Our database holds an entire digital map of the country with 460 million features and we work day-in, day-out to keep it up-to-date. We build products to meet our customers' needs and support our emergency services with vital road and land information, and provide data to utility companies to make sure you can get water and gas supplies to your home. From ensuring optimum routes for refuse collection to getting your shopping to your door – our work is all around you.SpecialtiesGeographical information, Web services, Cartography, Leisure maps, Geospatial data management, Surveying, Innovation, GeoVation, GIS, Paper maps, Digital maps

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“We believe there is a place for digital and paper maps in the world of outdoors navigation and our OS Locate and OS MapFinder apps display the quality and accuracy that you expect from Ordnance Survey products. However, it is important that people out exploring ensure that they have a paper map, compass and navigation skills to support any digital map devices that they are taking with them.”
Nick Giles
“Navigation skills are essential for security, for peace of mind, for a sense of discovery and for sharing the magic of the world about us.”
Simon King