OS Maps

Amateur Photographer - - Testbench | Round-up -

Free and paid op­tions www.ord­nancesur­vey.co.uk

When you head out on a shoot, never un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of hav­ing a map. Not only does it help you to find lo­ca­tions and plot routes, it’s also in­valu­able when trekking in ar­eas where ad­verse weather con­di­tions could se­ri­ously im­pede your abil­ity to nav­i­gate. In short, if you’re in the hills or moun­tains, hav­ing some kind of map and com­pass can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death.

OS Maps is a nav­i­ga­tion app that of­fers three types of sub­scrip­tion to help you plan, edit, record and view routes on your smart­phone. The ba­sic free ac­count al­lows you to im­port GPX files (pre-plot­ted GPS routes), and pro­vides ac­cess to Stan­dard, Ex­plorer and Satel­lite maps while on­line. This last point is im­por­tant – you must have a data con­nec­tion for map­ping to work. Mo­bile sig­nals can, of course, be spo­radic at best in re­mote lo­ca­tions, so the free sub­scrip­tion is bet­ter for plan­ning and shouldn’t be re­lied upon for nav­i­ga­tion.

The sec­ond type of sub­scrip­tion is a code that comes with pa­per maps and al­lows you to down­load maps to your de­vice for offline use. You get all the afore­men­tioned func­tion­al­ity, too. The third is the Pre­mium op­tion, which ranges from a seven- day free trial to £3.99 for one month, up to £25.99 for a 12-month pe­riod. This op­tion pro­vides ac­cess to 1:25k and 1:50k map scales of Bri­tain on­line with the abil­ity to save ar­eas for offline use, along­side the func­tion­al­ity of the free ac­count and ad­di­tional browser func­tion­al­ity.

To get the best from the app while on lo­ca­tion you have to be us­ing an offline ver­sion of maps, which means a down­load code from a pa­per map or pre­mium sub­scrip­tion is essential. The free sub­scrip­tion is only use­ful where there’s a strong phone sig­nal, and for plan­ning shoots. Down­load­ing maps couldn’t be sim­pler, al­though the pre­mium sub­scrip­tion can be glitchy. Over­all, the app is easy and in­tu­itive, and the abil­ity to use GPS to plot your po­si­tion with an offline map is ex­tremely use­ful. Al­though, when do­ing this it’s essential to carry a bat­tery pack be­cause it will drain your phone bat­tery.

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