The Daily Parker

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Lost on a small island

Ordinance Survey, the UK's equivalent to our US Geological Survey, recently discovered that 77% of Brits can't read a map:

Just how far is it to the pub? Three-quarters of UK adults are in danger of never finding out, according to a poll commissioned by Ordnance Survey to mark National Map Reading Week (11-17 July). It found that 77% of respondents couldn’t recognise the most basic OS map symbols, such as viewpoints and pubs. (The latter is marked with a classic pint “jug” glass with handle, so could the ignorance be down to the switch to straight beer glasses?)

Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, more than half (56%) admitted they’d got lost because they couldn’t use a map or follow a phone app correctly, with 39% resorting to calling friends and family, 26% flagging down help, and 10% calling mountain rescue to get home.

Even when they’re not actually getting lost, 31% said they were worried they might. Many adults (46%) said they were happier walking with someone else.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has declared its first Red Weather Warning as they expect temperatures to hit 40°C in London on Monday and Tuesday:

Fortunately for me, they expect cooler weather Wednesday and beyond.

Comments (1) -

  • David Harper

    7/15/2022 5:18:15 PM +00:00 |

    I learned how to read Ordnance Survey 1:50000 scale maps at age 13, back in the 1970s.  It was part of the O-level geography curriculum, and the exam (which all students took at age 15-16) included an excerpt from an OS map with questions to test whether we recognised map symbols, whether we could find a feature from its six-figure (100-metre accuracy) grid reference, and whether we could infer the geology of the area from natural features such as rivers.  Map reading was one of the most useful practical skills I ever learned, and we always keep a collection of the 1:50000 scale maps in the car.

    You may be interested to know that the Ordnance Survey makes its 1:50000 and 1:25000 scale maps available online for a very modest annual subscription, which allows you to access them via multiple devices including cellphones, tablets and a web site.

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