back to article Turn-by-turn directions coming to Ordnance Survey Maps

Satnav-style turn-by-turn directions are coming to the Ordnance Survey's stealth-mode Maps app. The ambitious next-generation map app won't get a formal splashy launch until 2016 – but I checked in to see how it's getting on, since we gave you an exclusive peek here. OS Maps is a major multi-year project to create a kind of " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off-line issue meaning map reload is a must fix issue.

    Huge design flaw of turning device off / logging off the app deleting all the map data you downloaded.

    Makes the app totally useless if you downloaded maps in area of signal in readiness for a trip in an area with no mobile signal e.g. (with my mobile provider) big swathes of N. Yorkshire, Scotland.

    A hint to OS, if you are wild camping for a few days, so no chance to phone recharge, a lot of that time your phone will be off (conserve battery), phone (and a battery munching GPS app) will only be switched on sometimes.

    Obv proper walkers have paper maps, but such an app could be useful on occasion (even something as simple as checking you are where you think you are based on map / compass nav when mist / fog has descended), but not when each time you turn your phone on it has lost your downloaded data.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Good. The OS Maps app on iOS is chuffing lovely. It's amazing what local routes I've been able to find since it has proper Explorer maps on there. Footpaths and bridleways that Apple and Google Maps are completely oblivious about are nice and clear in OS Maps.

    I've gladly paid for the annual subscription. It'll be great on the phone and there's something marvellous about having full-screen OS maps on my large monitor at home. I'm pleased that it's still being actively developed, so future features like turn-by-turn and proper offline saving will be great.

  3. Tromos

    A question.

    The 'freetards' mentioned in the article presumably have nothing to do with the British taxpayers who fund the OS. So, who are they?

    1. andy gibson

      App already exists

      Have a look at Maverick. Download all the maps you need to your device before you leave.

    2. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Phone recharge not a problem with this bad boy

    3. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Re: A question.

      Unfortunately OS ruled over the maps business for too long, then woke up too late. I personally have all the mapping I need for free thanks, so no need for OS to try and charge me for anything (which I already paid for anyway.)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: App already exists

        im a proper walker, I bought memory map. works on phone and I print out what I need. co-pilot gets to to the hills.

      2. Fraggle850

        Re: App already exists

        I can vouch for Maverick, been using it for a few years on Android. I'm an occasional hiker, recently wanted to find a walk near where I was planning to camp. Downloaded a kml file from a walker's website - hey presto, instant track overlayed on OS.

        Any viewed tiles are stored so a quick review of the area while still on wifi and maps are available offline once you are in the wilds.

        Quite why the likes of National Trust can't provide their official hikes as kml is beyond me. Local Authorities even worse, pdf anyone? Grr!

    4. Named coward

      If you're off wild camping for a few days common sense requires a real printed map and a real compass.

    5. Jon Whiteoak

      Re: Lovely

      Totally agree. The downloads of the OS Maps for the Lakes were a godsend last week. Helped us pick up trails and paths that we missed or just weren't obvious. Of course we still had the paper version in the backpack but they aren't practical sometimes (high winds, rain etc..)

      Google and Apple Maps are great if you are on road, but try navigating your way around trails and paths of the Lakes or the Highlands with them, They just don't go down in to the same level of detail.

    6. Whiskers

      On finding your location by GPS: apps such as 'GPS Status and Toolbox' by MobiWIA-EclipSim can give you your OS grid reference which you can transfer manually to your paper map - so you don't need to have a map stored offline on your smartphone. It isn't all that long since no portable GPS receiver had any sort of map on board.

      1. Burnsy2023

        OS Locate also fulfills this use case.

    7. Burnsy2023

      Re: A question.

      British taxpayers have not funded OS for a very long time, indeed they dividend millions back to the government every year.

  4. Quentin North

    Other products are available

    Galileo and ForeverMap on iOS both provide OS levels of offline mapping and in the case of ForeverMap, route planning too.

  5. andy 28

    too little too late

    once again OS shows how out of touch it is with the world. Every freetard will use google maps and not know or care that there's anything different. If OS had opened up their chest of maps years ago, before google gave it away, they might have some market share.

    1. Colin Critch

      Re: Other products are available

      Viewranger is the best I find for walking and it uses OS map tiles off-line and open street maps.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: too little too late

      >If OS had opened up their chest of maps years ago, before google gave it away, they might have some market share

      It's not a great financial plan to have a big share of a market in which your product is given away for nothing unless you expect to make your money back in other ways. And if you're a government-created institution, it tends to result in complaints about unwarranted taxation (see under BBC).

      The OS is more important than the BBC - certainly from a strategic point of view, having your mapping entirely in the hands of car makers and foreign IT giants would be counterproductive - and more easily dismissed as old-fashioned. However, the majority of its output is not actually consumer-oriented, so they can perhaps be forgiven if they're not rushing to throw our money away.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: too little too late

      This isn't even the same area as Google maps. Google is no use at all when it comes to mountains, wilderness and areas away from the roads (not many advertisers on the top of Scafell Pike)

    4. Tom Wood

      Re: too little too late

      Google maps is fine for road - offroad it's pretty useless though.

      Compare for instance Ilkley Moor:

      Google map,-1.841674,13z?hl=en

      vs OS map

      and that's just based on the 1:50000 OS map data, zoom in and you'll see the extra detail from the 1:25000 version.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: too little too late - OS data

        Hmm some interesting drives there

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: too little too late

      Every freetard will use google maps and not know or care that there's anything different

      these are aimed at fell walkers and bridleway trekkers, not your local Pizza moped driver

    6. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: too little too late

      No sure about that...Google Maps just don't have level of topographic detail that you get from OS, especially when you get outside of an urban environment.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: too little too late

      What a silly comment. Any freetard that tries to use Google maps for walking will just find blank space once they get off the roads.

    8. Anonymous Coward

      Re: too little too late

      Odd I just tried to find the 2km footpath I run along several times a week (also used by hundreds of other people daily) and strangely Google is utterly unaware of it and suggests I take a 4km route instead.

      Odd that.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: too little too late

        Part of one of my routes to work is missing too, and that is an unmetelled road.

    9. NightFox

      Re: too little too late

      Bing Maps gives you online access to OS maps for free - though I'll admit I can't find it on the new version so either they've done a Google and made it impossible to find, or maybe they've just done away with it. However, click the option to revert to the previous version and it's there - just click the "Road" dropdown and you can choose from Road, London Street Map or OS Map.

      Freetarding FTW!

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: too little too late

        here you go

    10. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: too little too late

      But Google and OS are in two completely different map markets. Google Maps are absolutely utterly f***g useless for anything other than route planning. 95% of the useful information on an OS map is absent from a Google map. Google maps don't even have something a fundamental as f****g grid lines. lat/long or NG, don't care which.

  6. Otto is a bear.

    OS Maps

    I use the Memory Map app with OS maps, which get round the problem of mobile reception by pre-loading maps, you don't have to but wandering around the more obscure parts of the UK.

    OS maps are by far and away the best maps of the UK, and far better than the likes of the Michellin or Rand maps commonly available around the world. They are better than the internet maps as well because they tell you far more about your surroundings and route, without the clutter of an aerial photographs. If I'd used google maps for my recent walks and car journeys around the lake districk I would have gotten hopelessly lost and probably lost the sump on the car, as it shows nothing like enough detail, or differentiation between roads, tracks and foot paths. It has no landmarks or contours either.

  7. Hope Spirals

    Bing maps has an OS overlay (No offline mode I know, sorry)

    I've used it for a while now - screen snapshot and print.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    I want to try this

    But I have a no data package as the bill is paid by work. But it would be great to pre load at home or work via WiFi then use it in the wilds.

    Also many places with no phone signal, which I noticed once before taking on a rather deep ford.

    But if good I would be tempted to get a tablet for this, something like the Hudl.

    As to power I have a car, and I can take it along BOATS

  9. Old Tom

    "when you're walking, you're lucky to get 2G speeds, let alone 3G or LTE speeds"

    When I'm out walking, I'd be amazed to get any signal at all for more that a quarter of the walk.

  10. tfb Silver badge

    So what about OS Mapfinder?

    Mapfinder exists now, provides offline maps which you can buy and is generally a really fine app. This new thing sort-of half exists, provides maps you rent and which are not available offline but perhaps might be at some future point.

    But Mapfinder is orphaned or nearly so: all those maps you've 'bought', along with the routes you've created, will vanish into the ether when it dies. But meantime anyone who actually wants an OS mapping app in any of the places where OS maps are most useful needs to use it, and throw money ino a hole.

    And this situation is going on for years, because, um, it apparently takes longer to write a mapping app than it took to write OS/360, that famous software catastrophe (OK, it hasn't, yet: it has merely taken longer than the first several versions of Unix or X).

    And it seems to be beyond the wit of the Ordnance Survey to offer either an upgrade path or subscriptions for the current app which can be migrated to the new one.

    1. tfb Silver badge

      Re: So what about OS Mapfinder?

      I slightly take back the above: I've tried the app on iOS and it does effectively offer offline maps and is sufficiently better than the old one that I've subscribed to it and will probably nuke the old one. They need an iPad (or tablet in general for the non-Apple-faithful) version still and they need to offer a painless (yes, I'm sure I can mail GPX files to myself and import them somehow: I want it *not* to be painful, since both of these apps are on the same device) migration path for routes and some discount for purchased maps.

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