At the start of this autumn term hundreds of schools across Great Britain began the new academic year by signing up to use a new online mapping service designed specifically for the classroom.
With its pupil-friendly interface, and national coverage of digital maps, Digimap for Schools is set to greatly increase the use of Ordnance Survey maps for teaching and learning geography at all levels, as well as supporting other subjects such as history.
Until now, schools have mainly relied upon paper maps for Ordnance Survey map skills work – a mandatory topic in the curriculum. Since 2002 this has been supported by the issue of a free 1:25 000 scale OS Explorer Map to all pupils in Year 7 under the Ordnance Survey Free maps for 11-year-olds scheme. These free maps are being issued for the last time this year because Digimap for Schools will offer schools so much more.
Map skills have traditionally been focused on the 1:50 000 scale OS Landranger Map and the 1:25 000 scale OS Explorer Map (mainly due to the inaccessibility of the large‑scale maps), but Digimap for Schools now makes the highly detailed digital mapping coverage of OS MasterMap available for schools.
Maps can be created to study an area in advance of fieldwork visits and pupils can site-centre and print or save maps to use in the classroom or for homework.
Digimap for Schools has been designed, developed and hosted by EDINA, who are already well known for Digimap services for the higher- and further‑education sector. Schools that are currently eligible to receive Free maps for 11-year-olds are entitled to free access to Digimap for Schools until 31 December 2011.
Other schools will pay a modest annual fee. If your school is using the new Digimap for Schools, let us know what you think on the blog.