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Introduction to basic map reading

This fabulous guide from fellow Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion Glyn Dodwell introduces basic map reading in an easy and fun way.

Creating a Map

To help youngsters understand how maps work,  try getting them out in the local community to create their own map.

Select an area near you with several roads and facilities such as Police Station, Railway Station, Churches, Post Office etc. Armed with paper and pencils work as a team to draw the layout of the area selected. Mark as accurately as possible the location of the various facilities. There is no need for tape measures, just get them to pace the distances and make a note of this on the drawings.

Back at home use the information gathered to create a map of your local area.

To test the quality of the map. give it to someone who does not know the area well, and ask them to navigate their way to one of the features.

 

This fabulous guide will introduce you and your kids to basic map reading in an easy and fun way. Includes a few simple exercises to try out

How to Understand the Grid References

When you look at an Ordnance Survey map you will see that it is divided into a series of squares created by blue grid lines. These grid lines can help you locate a position on a map with great accuracy using a unique number known as a grid reference.

Each line is numbered from 00 to 99 so it is possible to select a square using the 2 digit vertical line or Eastings followed by the 2 digit horizontal line, or Northings. In the example shown Grid Square 2951 can be found by going 'along the corridor' until you get to vertical line 29. Then go 'up the stairs' to horizontal line 51. The square to above and to the left of the intersection is call 'Grid Square 2951.

 

This fabulous guide will introduce you and your kids to basic map reading in an easy and fun way. Includes a few simple exercises to try out

Work out the 4 figure grid references for these squares...

 This fabulous guide will introduce you and your kids to basic map reading in an easy and fun way. Includes a few simple exercises to try out

A:

B:

C:

D:

In order to be more accurate each of the 4 figure grid squares is further divided into 100 smaller squares, made up of 10 vertical lines and 10 horizontal lines. These lines do not appear on the map – they have to be assessed with a ruler or overlay. Each of the lines is numbered 0 to 9 and are used in the same way as the 4 figure lines – along the corridor then up the stairs.

By using the existing 4 figure line numbers and the new line numbers we can now produce a 6 figure grid reference. The highlighted square in the example shown below is 625 333.

 

This fabulous guide will introduce you and your kids to basic map reading in an easy and fun way. Includes a few simple exercises to try out

Work out the 6 figure grid references for these squares

This fabulous guide will introduce you and your kids to basic map reading in an easy and fun way. Includes a few simple exercises to try out 

A:

B:

C:

D:

You can now take this new knowledge and relate it to your local area map. Ask the children to find and particular grid reference on the map. Then use the map to go and find it for real.

 

 This fabulous guide will introduce you and your kids to basic map reading in an easy and fun way. Includes a few simple exercises to try out

 

Glyn Dodwell is an OS #GetOutside Champion and blogs at both https://60plushillwalking.wordpress.com/ and http://www.g4cfs.co.uk/

Glyn has been a hill-walker for 50 years, walking all over the world but particularly in Wales, Scotland and Lake District. His love for the outdoors and survival started as a young Scout, before he joined the RAF and trained in combat survival. He is also a lovely man who is always up for a chat so do pop over and say hi to him on Twitter.

Having just turned 60 himself, Glyn was surprised to see how little encouragement there is to get the 'older generation' out into the hills. And despite suffering from arthritis, severe pain and a stroke 2 years ago, he is a determined Champion for the greater involvement of over 60's in hill-walking on his blog Hill Walking For The Over 60's - It's better to be on the hill, Than over the hill!

Not content to take it easy, Glyn is also a Radio Amateur and participates in an scheme called Summits-On-The-Air, which involves operating portable radio equipment from the tops of summits using only the equipment carried in your rucksack. You cam learn more about this hobby on his second blog G4CFS – Summits On The Air, Meteors & Satellites.

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6 Comments

  • Reply nikki

    This looks like tons of fun! Almost like a scavenger hunt. I am horrible with directions, I grew up in the country and it was “turn right at the red house, turn left at the house with the deer statues!” LOL When I moved to the city I was so lost, going down one way streets the wrong way etc. My kids are much better at it than I am. Thank heavens for Google Driving instructions, but when you can’t get a signal knowing how to read a map is a must!

    May 29, 2017 at 4:48 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I use landmarks for directions too Nikki, but you are right in a city it all becomes a lot more difficult! The kids are loving map reading atm I wonder if they’ll ever teach their kids to read one (I hope so!)

      June 8, 2017 at 9:10 am
  • Reply Mary

    What a great skill to know Sarah. I have always been fascinated with maps and have quite a collection which I am now using to cover things with. Good old Google took our need for paper maps away. But even when I read a book I want to see where it takes place and what the area looks like.

    May 29, 2017 at 12:23 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I have to admit I love maps used as art. I knew someone with a downstairs toilet which was completely papered with maps and it was amazing!

      June 8, 2017 at 9:05 am
  • Reply Linda at Mixed Kreations

    What a great idea, and a fun project! I remember my dad taught me how to read a map, and I was the map reader on our vacations because my mother wasn’t good at it. 🙂

    May 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It’s a great skill to learn- I’m not sure so many people get the opportunity to learn nowadays with everyone using electronic maps

      June 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

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