Can You And Yours Read A Map?

If the answer is ‘no’, or even if you think you can but are a bit rusty, then don’t panic for some excellent help is at hand!

Run by Ordnance Survey (OS), National Map Reading Week (27 May – 2 June) aims to encourage people of all ages to understand the importance of map reading and how this vital life skill can unlock the outdoors.  

Commissioned by OS, research into millennials (23-38 age bracket) compared with people over 39, found stark differences between how the two generations understand the maps they are using. 

According to the research 60% of over 39s believe that map reading is a skill people should have and 41% of them ‘worry’ that people are growing up without basic navigational skills. In contrast only 20% of millennials wish they were better at reading maps. 

In addition, 60% of millennials admitted they ‘rely’ on their mobile map when going somewhere new and in day to day life, over one quarter of them find themselves ‘very reliant’ on digital maps. Those above this age bracket only seek help from their mobile phone map twice a month. 

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, said: “Digital mapping, through apps and websites, has transformed the way in which we navigate. Everyday millions of people use digital mapping to get from A to B often just following a dot on a screen. Many people believe that they can read digital maps but there is so much more to explore beyond a mobile phone screen.

At OS we are passionate about making the outdoors enjoyable, accessible and above all safe. Through National Map Reading Week we want to encourage people to better understand how good map skills, both paper and digital, can unlock and inspire people to safely discover new places and adventures.

For several years OS has advised users of GPS devices, mapping apps and other technology to ensure that they also carry a paper map when out and about in rural areas.

National Map Reading Week provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to either learn, or brush up on, their map reading skills. We want everyone to use maps to their full potential, from helping to discover new walking routes and giving better directions, to finding hidden landmarks and most importantly using a map effectively.”

During National Map Reading Week OS will be running map reading workshops, releasing new tips to help people GetOutside and streaming map lessons across social media.

Next Steps

For more information on National Map Reading Week visit