22nd December 2014

Confirmation on changes to latitude and longitude shown on our paper maps


Originally posted by Gemma on the Ordnance Survey blog.

Back in September we asked you to tell us your thoughts on proposed changes to the way we show latitude and longitude on our paper maps (currently as shown below)… and the results are in!

latitude and longitude

Thank you to the 710 of you who completed the short survey (plus those of you commenting here on the blog) for taking the time to consider the question and let us know your thoughts. An overwhelming majority of respondents supported the proposed change (combining the answers saying it would improve or make no difference to their use of OS paper maps).

Based on our own investigations and your views, we now intend to make this change to our paper maps over the next 12 months. Any new maps using the new overlay for latitude and longitude will clearly state this.

For the vast majority of paper map users (88% in the survey) who use  grid references to determine your location, you will notice no difference, as there will be no change to the National Grid  system. The 23% of you who reference your location using GPS coordinates should see an improvement as we align to the most common datum basis for satellite navigation devices.  20% of you said you used latitude and longitude to identify your position and you will be using the new overlay. Analysis of the comments made by those respondents believing it would make their map experience worse identified a small percentage who had concerns specifically relating to the graticule overlay change, amounting to less than 1% of the total respondents. We do acknowledge those concerns, but feel the wider benefits it brings, make the change worthwhile.

As we update our maps, we will make sure that the change to the overlay is clearly signposted, so that you know which version you are using. And again – National Grid will remain constant throughout the change process and most users, navigating by grid reference and compass, will not notice a change to the maps they are using.

Thank you again for helping us develop and improve our maps for the future.