How is your map reading?

Have you noticed National Map Reading Week has been happening this week 16-22 October 2017?  It was launched at the Ordnance Survey in Southampton on Monday 16th with a comedy show by Helen Wood performing her sketch ‘The OS Map Fan Club’ for charity, previously a sellout at the Edinburgh Fringe.  Helen took the audience on an enthusiastic pictorial journey through Gloucestershire. It was packed with historical and observational anecdotes that were related to her numerous walks and based around OS Explorer map sheet 179.

Twitter has seen a flurry of activity promoting map reading this week using hashtag #NationalMapReadingWeek.  There have been celebrations of maps old and new with lots of links to map images and map collections.


University College, Highfield, Southampton shown on the Ordnance Survey map published ca. 1935

The Hartley Library has a historic map collection of over 30,000 sheet maps of the UK and other countries.  The collection is on Level 1 and is available to support your research.  It complements the digital maps and map data (Ordnance Survey, Historic, Geology and Environment collections) available through our EDINA Digimap subscription.

Maps can also be found in the Cope Collection, Archives (Level 4, Hartley Library) and at the National Oceanographic Library.  Details of our print and digital maps can be found on our Maps and Mapping Data LibGuide  and also in the Library catalogue WebCat.

Jason Rawles has written an excellent blog on “What I love about Map Reading’, it is worth a read along with other pieces written this week.

Did you know the average British person ends up going the wrong way or getting lost 24 times a year? The British Library tweeted a picture of the first accurate road atlas of England and Wales found in Ogilby’s Britannia (1675) which laid out its maps in strips, so things have improved since then. You can take a map reading quiz to find out whether you are a Map Legend!  If not the Ordnance Survey National Map Reading Week page offers the opportunity to brush up on how to read a map.

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