Mapping company Ordnance Survey releases detailed app aimed at cyclists and other outdoor pursuit enthusiasts, covering every inch of Great Britain

Remember the days when to look at a map you had to unfurl a huge piece of paper and work out exactly where you were based on the position of local landmarks? It’s likely those maps were produced by Ordnance Survey.

The Southampton-based mapping company is now bringing its incredible collection of cartography to its new app, which looks incredibly detailed and is aimed at cyclists, walkers, runners and any other outdoors enthusiasts you can think of.

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It’s free to download, but if you want the most detailed map available at your fingertips you have to pay a subscription fee.

You can access digital versions of all 607 Explorer and Landranger maps in the OS collection, which represent total coverage of Great Britain.

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The subscription also allows off-road routing options in all 15 of Britain’s National Parks and will soon be available for use offline so you can use it without destroying your data plan.

If you want to subscribe for a month to cover your holiday it’ll set you back £3.99, while an automatically renewing 12-month subscription is £19.99.


  • Adrian Lee

    Feel free to use the other products then, I am!

    Just pointing out that OS have a long history of charging money for maps, so not really a surprise that they charge for elements of this service now.

    I’m not aware that it’s ad supported, like some options would be and effectively the subscription is like a ‘pro version’ that you often see with apps… Strava and MapMyRide have premium accounts for example!

    There is a cost involved in creating and delivering this stuff and I doubt they’ve been given more of your tax money to make an app….

  • Michael

    I’m not sure what there is to get confused about.

    I have a choice of various electronic map products that are free and perfectly adequate for what I use them for. OS have a few free ones as you note, and one that isn’t free. The paid for maps are actually worse than the free products because the maps are rastered and don’t scale (unless they’ve fixed this since I last used them)

    And, of course, since they’ve released free data, openstreet map has improved because of the existence of that free data.

    They also tend to look worse on the smaller screens of garmin devices.

    As such, they have an inferior product that costs significantly more money. Seems straightforward to me.

    Ironically, since you mention them, inferior and more expensive does sum up WHSmiths and Waterstones too. It’s nice to speak to someone who is still living in 1995 though 🙂

  • Adrian Lee

    What’s it called?!

  • Adrian Lee

    In addition to my other comment, OS maps are not free for personal, unless you’ve been stealing paper maps from shops for example?

  • Adrian Lee

    It’s a bit more complicated than that. OS are government owned but they are a government company now, a little more distant from the government and some say a pre-cursor to being sold off.
    They also make a lot of money from licensing their data to people, they certainly aren’t purely funded by the tax payer.

    I do get confused by this idea of getting the maps for free. if you go into say W H Smiths or Waterstones and pick up an OS map, they generally want you to pay for it…. This has been the case for a very long time and no one seems to quibble with it.
    When it comes to digital though, people don’t seem to have the same opinion.

    However OS do make a load of their mapping available as Open Data, feel free to go use that if you want…

  • Ade Lamb

    Are OS maps not free for personal use?

    OS in NOT a ‘mapping company’, it is a government organisation paid for by us!

  • Howmanyjackos

    Dont forget the free SUSTRANS app
    Cycling orientated..

  • Michael

    For most road cycling there are just so many free maps, whether it’s openstreetmap or google there doesn’t seem much point paying £20.

    Not the least that they are a Government agency. It’s like we pay for them to create the maps and then they charge us for them. It’s like the BBC trying to sell us shows our license fee has paid to create back to us on DVD – We, as British taxpayers, own the shows! Sell them to Americans, for sure, but we should have what we paid for available to watch for free.

    £20 might be worthwhile if they’d done really good B-road route creation or something. Bicycle routes is one thing that google and garmin suck at.

    Maybe some of the people doing trails would prefer OS, but I was never that impressed when I tried subsets of them layered on top of openstreet.