End of term map quiz – now and then

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Dec 082014

It’s getting to that time of year where we all start winding down towards the Christmas holidays.  My memories of this time at school are of normal lessons being replaced by fun (but educational!) activities.  If you’re looking for something map related to give to your pupils, how about trying our fun map quiz?

Ken Lacey, OS Education Manager, has provided three fantastic ‘now and then’ quizes (one for each country)  Ken is extremely knowledgable about landscape changes across GB, and has provided some great examples. Here’s what Ken had to say about the quizzes:

Change happens all the time and certainly in the period between our 1890s historic layer and the modern day map. When you look at North West London ‘Metro land’ on the modern map and then look at the 1890s map the difference is obvious. Similarly at locations such as Milton Keynes they have changed out of all recognition.  

When you look at a lot of towns in Great Britain changes may be less in extent but still significant. It might be the possible loss of a railway line or very probably your town or village has greatly increased in size because of new large housing estates on the edge of the settlement.

But what of the more subtle changes that occur in the landscape? We have put together 3 locations in England, Scotland and Wales which are more rural in character.

The Scottish one is based on the area around the village of Saline which is North West of Dunfermline in Fife. It is rural district but in 1890 it was very much a part of the Fifeshire coalfield. Not today, so what change can you find?

Our Welsh example is along the River Severn. Rivers change their courses for many reasons so have a look and see how it has changed and then see what else you can find.

Our English example is to found at Stamford Bridge. This battle, if the result had gone the other way would have been just as momentous as the battle that we can all name and give the year when it was fought. What changes can you find in this part of East Yorkshire?

We have only recorded 10 changes on each map. Why not have a go finding the changes that we noticed and can you find more?

The maps, questions and answers are available below.  The answers are on the last page/slide, so remember not to give them to your pupils.

We hope you enjoy the quiz (and get top marks!)

English map quiz: PDFPowerpoint

Scottish map quiz: PDFPowerpoint

Welsh map quiz: PDFPowerpoint

New resource – investigating coastal changes with historic maps

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Oct 162014

To help Digimap for Schools users make the most of the service, we have a number of free resources available that have been written by curriculum experts. A brand new resource is now available which is aimed at using the modern and historic mapping to investigate coastal change.

‘Investigating changes to coastal spits’ written by Janet Hutson uses the annotation tools to mark the extent of coastal spits on the 1890s historic mapping. Then pupils use the modern map to annotate the current extend of the spit. These extents can then be compared on the 1890s and current mapping to provide evidence for conclusions drawn about any changes.

You can find Janet’s fantastic resource under the Key Stage 3 resources, on the Free Resources page.

Investigating coastal spit change using 1890s, modern maps and the annotation tools

Investigating coastal spit change using 1890s, modern maps and the annotation tools

Ordnance Survey teacher training sessions in Scotland

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Oct 072014

On October 29th and 30th, Ordnance Survey will be running two training events for teachers. Both primary and secondary teachers are welcome to come along. The sessions will give hand-on use of Digimap for Schools, an overview of GIS and a look at free teacher resources available from Ordnance Survey.

They will take place at:

The James Young High School , Livingston, EH54 6NE on Wednesday , 29th October 4-6pm. Please email Elaine Batty ( to book a place.

Perth Academy , PH1 1NJ on Thursday , 30th October , 4.30-6 pm. Please email Tan Logan ( to book a place.

Free September training sessions

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Sep 022014

Darren Bailey from Ordnance Survey has begun a new tour of English schools to run teacher training events providing hands on training in Digimap for Schools.

The first event in Hatfield yesterday (1st Sept) had a great turn out of keen teachers, eager to get to grips with the service.

Teacher training in Hatfield

Teacher training in Hatfield

Upcoming events will be held in:

  • 15-9 Lancaster
  • 16-9 Aldershot
  • 18-9 Manchester
  • 22-9 North Cheam
  • 23-9 West Drayton
  • 29-9 Appley Bridge
  • 30-9 Dewsbury

If you would like to find out more information about one of these events, please contact Darren –



New term, new mapping data

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Aug 282014

Over summer, the Digimap for Schools team have been beavering away processing updated Ordnance Survey mapping for the annual data update.   Every year, we take updates from Ordnance Survey and put them into Digimap for Schools, so recent changes in your area may now be on the maps.

The mapping is all 2014 data, the specific month for each product is:

MasterMap May 2014
VectorMap Local Raster July 2014
1:25 000 Raster April 2014
1:50 000 Raster June 2014
1:250 000 Raster June 2014
MiniScale January 2014

We need you! Classroom displays and resources

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Jun 052014

This is a call/plea to all teachers that have created any classroom displays that feature maps printed from Digimap for Schools.  We are looking for photos of your displays to feature in a new progression in geography resource that is being written.  If you have any displays featuring maps from Digimap for Schools that you’d be happy to share, please email them to us at  We need photos of your displays by the end of June, so get snapping!

Our second call is for resources, for any stage/age using Digimap for Schools that you have written.  We have a number of resources already available written by Paula Owens and Alan Parkinson, which are extremely popular.  We want to expand the range of resources available and would like to share your tried and tested resources.  We’ll add your resources to the Digimap for School website for other teachers to download and reuse.  Please send us your resources to and we’ll pop them up on the website.



Geography GCSE subject content April 2014

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May 262014

Today’s blog post comes from Ken Lacey, Education Manager at Ordnance Survey.  Here, Ken highlights parts of the new Geography curriculum that Digimap for Schools mapping and tools support.

Published in April 2014 the subject aims and learning outcomes of the Geography GCSE subject content document should enable students to build on their key stage 3 knowledge and skills to:

Develop and extend their competence in a range of skills including those used in field work, in using maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)……..”

Within the section titled Scope of Study, reference is specifically made to maps in Para 10 where we read:

“The use of a range of maps, atlases, Ordnance Survey maps, satellite imagery and other graphic and digital materials including the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), to obtain, illustrate, analyse and evaluate geographical information. To include making maps and sketches to present and interpret geographical information

Within the section titled Assessment of fieldwork, attention is drawn in Para 23 to “The following areas of knowledge, skills and understanding should be assessed through the fieldwork assessment” and includes the following “processing and presenting fieldwork data in various ways including maps graphs and diagrams”

Digimap for Schools provides a range of GB wide Ordnance Survey map scales including a historical One inch map layer dated 1895 – 1899 and provides a range of tools to illustrate, analyse and evaluate geographical information. The tools allow the user to illustrate their map with drawings and text, add photographs and analyse areas with the point or line buffer tool.

Available to all is Digimap for Schools free resources which provide a range of activities at all key stages to enhance the classroom experience using maps to broaden their geographic experience and skills. These include the resources titled ‘Quick ideas for using Digimap for Schools’ which presents 12 quick classroom or homework ideas which make use Digimap for Schools and ‘Digimap for Schools to support GCSE’ which highlights the use of Digimap for School at GCSE.

Printing PDF maps from Chrome

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May 132014

Recently, we have received a couple of reports from users experiencing issues when printing PDF maps using Chrome web browser.  Unfortunately, the map watermark and any semi transparent annotations are being printed a solid filled features.  We have discovered that this occurs when the PDF is viewed and printed from within the Chrome browser, using Chrome’s in built PDF plugin.

We have investigated this problem and discovered that the bug is with Chrome not Digimap for Schools. The problem only happens on Windows computers in the most recent version of Chrome (34.0.1847) which was released at the end of April.

For users with Chrome, we recommend the following workaround:

– create your printable map as normal and allow it to open with your web browser. When the map opens within the browser, rather than clicking the file name to open, click the arrow and choose ‘Open with system viewer’.  Providing Adobe Reader is installed on your machine, the map will open in Adobe Reader which will print the map correctly.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 17.35.22

You can also download the map as a file to your computer, and then open it directly with Adobe Reader.

If you need any assistance with opening your PDF map, please contact the EDINA helpdesk on or 0131 650 3302.

 Posted by at 4:50 pm

Webinar video now available

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May 052014

On the 2nd April, we held a short webinar for new users to Digimap for Schools, and anyone wishing to brush up on tools available in the service.  We also looked at the newly released historic mapping.

To view a recording of the webinar, please click on the link below.  This will play the video within your browser.

If you have any suggestions for future webinar topics, please get in touch and let us know.


Historic maps in Digimap for Schools reveal landscape changes

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Mar 242014

Eagle eyed Digimap for Schools users will surely have noticed a few changes to the homepage and interface this morning, this is because we have just added historic maps from the 1890s to the service.

This exciting new addition allows  you to view a map of your school, street or anywhere in Great Britain in the 1890s.

These beautiful Ordnance Survey maps published between 1895 and 1899 as the Revised New Series in England and Wales and the 2nd Edition in Scotland, provide an additional rich learning resource and context for exploring how the landscape has changed in the last 120 years.

To view a historic map of your school, street or anywhere in Great Britain, use the new historic map slider (beside the pan arrows) to fade the current OS map and reveal the historic map underneath.


Drag the historic slider to reveal the 1890s maps.

The historic maps have been scanned from original paper maps and made available courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.

Learning resources with ideas for using these wonderful maps across all stages and  curriculum areas are in development and will be available soon.