Map symbols

New symbols on the operating system board make it feel like

If you think back to early summer, you might remember the card symbol contest on The One Show. From thousands of fantastic entries across 10 categories, we’ve chosen 6 winning symbols to add to our cards. And then the hard work began. Getting the new symbols added to our maps… so it was with great excitement that I previewed our revised OS Tour Map series and saw the first new map symbols to be printed on the map .

Our OS Tour Maps are all being revised to include new covers with our new branding and with the new photos entered in our OS Photofit contest for junior photographers. They won’t be available in stores until next February, but our mapping team has already completed updates to four of the eight maps, including Cornwall, Devon & Somerset West, North Wales and South Wales.

Not all symbols will appear on all maps, the symbols displayed will vary depending on the scale of each map. For example, did you know that a post office is marked as ‘PO’ on our OS Explorer maps, but as ‘P’ on our OS Landrangers, and not displayed at all on OS Tour maps? The mapping team must determine what information is most important to the user of each series of maps and how to integrate all relevant information on each map.

In the case of OS Tour Maps, four of the new symbols are incorporated. The team took care of adding new symbols for solar farms, art galleries, kite surfing and public restrooms.

Some interesting facts also emerged from the new map editions.

You might also be interested to know that the solar farms shown only include those that produce more than 5 megawatts of power. Likewise, we are not showing all public toilets – and this is purely due to a space factor and what can be clearly seen on a map. We have to send a team of investigators to check that various pubs, phone booths and toilets etc. still exist when we revise a map too!

Until the Tour maps are released, you can see all the symbols on our interactive map here right now. You will notice that there is only one charging point for electric cars… that’s because we didn’t collect this data before – but we do now! We will be busy rolling out the new symbols to the relevant maps and this will take some time as we will continue our usual refresh of paper and digital maps.

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