More than a quarter of Britons have never been taught to read a map
Revealed: More than a quarter of Britons have never been taught to read a map (and three quarters don’t know the symbol for a pub)
- The results of a survey revealed that over a third stumbled upon the toilet symbol
- More than half (56%) admit to getting lost because they can’t use a map
- 39 percent call friends, 26 percent call for help
More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Britons say they have never been taught how to read a map and even those who have say they still don’t know how to read a map ( 14 percent).
These are findings from a poll by Ordnance Survey, which also found walkers are baffled by the most basic symbols – including a pub, a lookout point and a toilet.
Three quarters (77 percent) of those surveyed couldn’t see the pub sign (denoted by a classic beer mug with a handle) – and more than a third (38 percent) didn’t know what to look for when they needed the loo.
More than a quarter (27%) of Britons polled by Ordnance Survey claim they have never been taught how to read a map (stock image)
Three quarters (77 percent) of those surveyed could not see the pub sign (left). More than a third (38 percent) didn’t know what to look for when they needed to go to the bathroom (right)
Of the 2,000 adults surveyed for the poll conducted by One Poll, more than half (56 percent) admit they got lost because they can’t use a map or follow an app properly, with 39 percent saying they did call friends and family, 26 percent flag down help, and 10 percent report calling mountain or cliff rescue to get home.
Even if they don’t get lost on walks, 31 per cent of Britons fear they might.
Many adults say they are cautious and much happier when they go for a walk with someone else (46 percent).
Despite all this, the pandemic has prompted Brits to get outdoors more, and many are finding unexpected hidden gems. Around a quarter (23 percent) of walkers only found one in the past week.
OS GetOutside Ambassador Julia Bradbury said: “At first glance, these results appear to show that the UK public has a lack of confidence in their card reading skills.
“It’s a shame, but something that can be fixed quickly. Knowing a few basics of reading maps, understanding map symbols, contour lines, and working out grid references can change the way you think about being outdoors safely.
“The ability to read maps gives you confidence and takes away the fear of getting lost. This knowledge can unlock nature and lead to wonderful adventures and discoveries in the British countryside.”
Of the 2,000 adults polled for the survey, more than half admit to getting lost because they can’t use a map or follow an app properly, with 39 percent resorting to calling friends and family
Ordnance Survey starts National Map Reading Week on Monday 11 July “to inspire people of all ages and interests to brush up on their map reading skills so they can explore, adventure and make memories”.
OS’s MD for Leisure Nick Giles said: “One of the main reasons we are hosting National Map Reading Week is to make the UK’s outdoors fun, accessible and safe.
“We want to encourage people to better understand how a good knowledge of maps, both paper and digital, can unlock and inspire people to discover new places and adventures safely.
“We have a fantastic range of map reading resources on our GetOutside website. So if you want to get out and explore this summer but are unsure, take some time to watch our videos or read the blogs. These resources will give you the confidence you need to avoid stress and orientation the next time you’re outdoors.’
TOP TIPS FOR MAP READING
Choose the right card
There are two possibilities. The first are the orange OS Explorer maps, which range in scale from 1 to 25,000. This means that for every four centimeters on the map, you have one kilometer on the ground in real life. They are perfect for hiking, general exploring, running, some types of kayaking and bike touring. These are the paper charts with the greatest level of detail.
The alternative are the pink OS Landranger cards. These are on a scale of 1 in 50,000, meaning that for every two centimeters on the map you have one kilometer in real life. They are ideal when embarking on a National Trail such as Offa’s Dyke Path or the South Downs Way.
Understand map symbols
You can find the legend that explains which map symbols are printed on each OS Explorer and Landranger map. Above is the icon for a viewpoint
You can find the legend that explains which map symbols are printed on each OS Explorer and Landranger map. These help you with navigation.
understand contour lines
Along the way, it’s helpful to get a feel for the shape and elevation of the surrounding landscape. You do this on an OS map with contour lines, the faint reddish-brown lines that, when you trace them with your finger, become a number showing elevation above sea level. On a flat slope, the contour lines will be far apart, but if a slope is much steeper, the lines will be closer together on the map.
Find your four digit grid reference
To mark a point on the map, you must provide a grid reference. Numbers running from left to right at the bottom of the OS map are called eastings. Numbers running up the sides from the bottom are northings. Select the lower left corner of a square on the map and take that number (e.g. 24) then go from the bottom up on that square and find that number (10) and you will get your grid reference (24 10 ). Each map has its own two-letter prefix that tells you what part of the UK you are in (e.g. SU 24 10).
Source: Regulatory Office