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Paper maps FAQ

How do I find a paper map that covers a specific place?

The best way to start is the Map selector page. You can search for a place name, or move around the map. At the moment this covers the most popular OS Explore and OS Landranger map ranges.

You can also use search, available from the top of this page, which is ideal for looking for maps by number or the name on the cover.

Where can I find map legends?

You can find map legends printed in most of our maps. Here's a list of the most popular:

Which maps can I get a digital download for?

Example Explorer MapAll current edition OS Explorer 1:25 000 scale maps and OS Landranger 1:50 000 scale maps have the mobile download available. Look for 'Includes mobile download' on the cover. Tour and Road maps don't have mobile downloads, but the OS Maps app has a simple map available for free.

How do I use my digital download?

You can start on the Redeem page. If you need more help there is also the Mobile Download FAQ.

Are OS Paper maps waterproof?

Standard OS paper maps are printed on a specialist map paper, and while fairly durable, it is not waterproof. OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps are available as weatherproof 'Active' versions, which have a laminated coating making them weatherproof and much more tear resistant, although they are also a little bulkier.

How can I tell when a map was published?

In the shop we add the publication date to the individual map sheet descriptions, so you can see the date of the current edition. On OS paper maps you will find the copyright year printed on the back cover and on the map itself, normally below the map.

How do I learn how to read a map?

The best place to start is the GetOutside Map Reading Skills - Beginner's Guides. You might also be interested in the wider range of topics on the Map Reading Week page, or the Educational Resources for Teachers.

How do I use a compass with a paper map?

Read GetOutside Beginner's Guide to Using a Compass. You will also find navigation skills training courses available from providers across the country.

What are the weatherproof 'Active' maps?

These are the same as the normal paper maps, but have been sealed in plastic to make them weatherproof and much tougher. They are great for maps you will have out in tough conditions, maps you use regularly or for teaching. As well as being weatherproof, you can write on them with drywipe or chinagraph pens, and then wipe clean when you have finished. They are a little bulkier and heaver than paper maps.

Are OS Pathfinder maps still get produced?

The old OS Pathfinder series of maps with the green covers have now been integrated into the OS Explorer range, still at a 1: 125 000 scale. The areas covered by each map have been changed, so you can use the Map Sheet Finder or see the list of OS Explorer maps.