Did any of you read the very worrying piece in The Telegraph this week about paper map sales declining as ramblers are relying on satnav?
The article quotes mountain rescue teams and national park wardens who have noticed an increase in hikers relying on electronic navigation devices rather than a trusty paper map. Rather more worrying are those people asking for a postcode for Ben Lomond when visiting the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park!
Of course, a global positioning system (GPS) can be a fabulous piece of kit, and modern smartphones and satnavs can give a very accurate position for you on a map. However, it is always wise to have a paper map as a back-up. And to know how to read the map and navigate with a compass.
With any electronic equipment there is a risk of failure – of batteries dying or signals failing. In addition, any electronic equipment you have does need to be fit for purpose – a satnav isn’t designed to point hikers along safe walking routes to a destination.
If you do need a map for your latest walk, you can always visit our online shop. As well as the full range of our OS Landranger Map and OS Explorer Map series, you can also customise a map to be centred on the location of your choice.
Our website is also handy if you need to brush up your map reading skills. There are leaflets aimed at both children and adults to get you started. We’ve also been lucky enough to work with Simon King to produce a series of map reading videos that take you through the basics of understanding how to read one of our maps and how to use a compass.
From time to time we run beginner map reading workshops across the country. The workshops are aimed at the novice map reader and cover the basics of paper map reading and compass navigation using an extract of an OS Explorer Map. We’ve just run two this week in Oswestry, so keep checking the page and we’ll add more dates as we book them.
There’s plenty of information to help you stay safe on your next visit to the great outdoors – so check it all out and let us know how you get on next time.