New Ordnance Survey app aimed at the 20% of Britons getting lost

The British have some extraordinary reasons for getting lost according to an Ordnance Survey poll. Among the stats revealed – one in five people didn’t know that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, though these people may fare better than the one in twenty Britons who believed that North was always in front of them.

Is it because people now rely on technology alone to get around? If that’s the case, among Ordnance Survey’s range of apps is the free mobile app download, OS Locate, which is a fast and highly accurate digital means of pinpointing a user’s exact location – and even better it works with the tried and trusted way of knowing where you are – an Ordnance Survey map.

Now available on iOS and Android, OS Locate has seen over 25,000 downloads since its launch in February 2014 and has been praised by search and rescue teams on- and off-shore as being a handy tool. The app is special, because it works without a mobile signal or Wi-Fi. Instead it uses the device’s GPS to pinpoint a user’s location and tells them the grid reference or their longitude and latitude. With thousands of people needing rescuing each year, being able to tell people an exact location could be essential information.

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Ltd, said: “We believe there is a place for digital and paper maps in the world of outdoors navigation and our OS Locate and OS MapFinder apps display the quality and accuracy that you expect from Ordnance Survey products. However, it is important that people out exploring ensure that they have a paper map, compass and navigation skills to support any digital map devices that they are taking with them.”

Meanwhile, brushing up on map-reading skills in advance would be advisable. Other stats in the survey show more than a third of us cannot use a compass, around one in ten can’t read a paper map and 30% can’t use the legend on the map to work out location and distances.

Ordnance Survey has also teamed up with wildlife and outdoors expert Simon King on a series of short videos, available on the mapping agency’s website, to help people rediscover their navigation skills and feel comfortable with reading a map. Simon King said: “Navigation skills are essential for security, for peace of mind, for a sense of discovery and for sharing the magic of the world about us.”

To find out more about OS Locate and download the app:

To brush up on map-reading skills, visit:

For more about Simon King, visit: