Quick Start Guides

OS Maps is available on a website and as an app.

Website address is https://explore.osmaps.com

Find th eapp on the Google Play Store (Android) and the App Store (Apple iOS).

OS Maps we is a great tool for creating routes, planning activities and trips; whilst the OS Maps app is perfect for when you're out and about, for finding and following routes as well as storing back-up offline maps on your mobile device.

Sign into OS Maps (both app and web) usng your registered OS account (previously set-up in either OS Maps or the OS Shop).

If you do not have an account, you can create one for free on the app or website.

You can upgrade a free account to premium at any time, this will give access to all features across app and web. Currently users outside Great Britain can only upgrade to premium through the app.

Your account will work across both the web and app versions of OS Maps, and depending on your browser settings, you should be able to remain logged into your account between sessions.

When first logging into OS Maps, the default map type displayed is our Standard map, available to free and premium users. Within the preferences section you can change the default map type (see 'Preferences' section of this Quick Start Guide for further instructions).

To switch between Map Types on the web, select ‘switch map style’ (bottom right-hand side on the screen) The map options will pop up and you can select different map types and overlays. 

To switch between Map Types on the app, select the map type icon (bottom right-hand corner on the screen) The map menu will appear along with the different map types and overlays. 

Standard maps (free for all users)  

Standard: zoomable map, ideal for finding locations and planning on-road activities, particularly in urban areas. 

Aerial: high resolution, zoomable aerial imagery. Great for seeing more detail of the terrain and vegetation, or just to find your house. 

Greenspace (available for users in Great Britain only): Highlights greenspaces for outdoor recreation.  

National Cycle Network (available for users in Great Britain only): Covers all the cycle paths. 

Premium maps (available with a subscription only)  

Premium Topo Maps: Zoom in through our leisure maps.  

For users in Great Britain this includes OS Landranger (1:50k) and OS Explorer (1:25k) mapping. The best scale is chosen automatically. In the app you can choose to lock the map to 1:50k or 1:25k. 

For users outside Great Britain Premium Topo maps vary dependant on location, please view the map legends for more info. 

National Park pathways / Off-road Routing (available in Great Britain only): Highlights all paths, tracks, bridleways and roads in National Parks.

Aerial 3D (web only)View stunning 3D terrain, with or without your route. Perfect for showing off how steep that track was!  

Use your mouse controls to adjust (height/direction/zoom) on the view. You also have the option to click 'full screen’ which hide all menus/controls and gives the best view! Click escape and the normal view will return.  

You can navigate the map to find a location using one of the following methods:  

  • Search using the location search box (top left on website, top middle on app). Here you can search by town, village or postcode. In the app, this will only work while you have a data connection. 

  • To zoom in on the app double tap or pinch the map. 

  • To zoom in on the web use the mouse scroll wheel or the zoom bar in the top right. 

  • To find your current location, select the ‘Find My Location’ button in the bottom right corner. This requires GPS / location services to be enabled. A small red dot or arrow indicates your current location.

Get inspired by searching our routes, created by both professionals and other OS Maps users.  

Web select:  

Menu (☰ symbol) > Routes > Find Routes 


Select the ‘Find Routes’ icon on the top white navigation bar  

App select: Menu > Find Routes 

Filter by route type (distance/duration, activity type, rating)  

If your search result has multiple routes in one area it will appear as a purple cluster with the number of routes in that cluster. To view these routes in more detail, click on the cluster or zoom in (web only). 

Each pin represents a route start point. 

Zoom out and/or pan across the map to widen your search. 

Select your chosen route. 

Once selected a preview of your route will be shown on the screen, the route card (left panel) will also be visible.  

The route card highlights important route information including time, distance, elevation, activity description, and more 

To add this route to your favourites, select the heart icon. Routes automatically synchronise between the app and web. 

Web select:  

Menu (☰ symbol) > Routes > Create Routes  


Select the ‘Create Route’ icon on the top white navigation bar 

App select: Menu > Create a Route  

Select your activity type (route duration varies dependant on activity). You must choose an activity type to start plotting. 

Select your start point by clicking/tapping on the map.  

Continue your route by adding your next waypoints (shown as small dots).  

Route plotting features include: 

  • option to remove waypoints 

  • undo the last action 

  • Styling options (route line colour, line type, thickness, and transparency) 

  • Snap-to-path 

When saving a route, you have the option to make it public or private select the required option under ‘Who can see my route?’. 

A public route requires an informative title and description (this will assist other users when searching for routes). 

Your routes are saved in ‘My Routes,’ where they can be reviewed and/or printed (routes are automatically synchronised between app and web). 

You can also Import a GPX file and create that as a route.  A GPX file is a route file from your GPS or other device. In the Menu under ‘Routes’ select 'Import GPX’ and upload to OS Maps. 

Select your chosen route. 

Select ‘Start Route’ (bottom of the route card) and off you go!  

The on-screen arrow highlights your current location and points in the direction you are travelling.  

‘Off course’ notifications will alert you if you have diverted from the selected route.

To start recording  

Select: Menu > Record a route 

Select: Activity Type 

Select: Record (on Android, recording will start automatically) 

To finish recording  

Select: Finish (Stop on Android) 

Name your recorded route (ensure title and description include any important route information). 

Recorded routes are saved to ‘My Routes’ (routes are automatically synchronised between app and web). 

You must be logged into your account to print. 

Printing maps/routes can only be done on the website. 

To print your map (without or without a route) go to ‘Print’ found in the main menu or select the ‘Print’ icon on the top white navigation bar. 

Print options include A4/A3 size, landscape/portrait (some print features are only available to premium users). 

When your map is ready select 'print'. 

On iOS (Apple) select: Menu > Offline Maps > Add a custom offline map 

On Android select: Menu > Offline Maps > Offline Maps > Add a custom offline map 

Find the area you want to download.  

Select 'Download Map' to save the area on screen and name it.  

You can download as many sections as needed. 

Select 'Cancel' once you are finished.  

Please note; once you have actioned a download, selecting cancel will not stop your request, it will take you back to the previous screen.  

Downloaded maps are saved in 'Custom Offline Maps’. 

To test offline content before going out we suggest turning your phone onto ‘flight mode’. 

Within the preferences section you can adjust certain settings to customise your OS Maps experience.

Web select: My Account (top right) > Preferences  


Web select: menu (☰ symbol) > My Preferences 

App select: menu > My Profile > Preferences 

Preference selection includes: 

  • Imperial or Metric measurements 

  • Adjust walking/running/cycling speeds (improves accuracy of estimated times).  

  • Changing the default map type shown when you load OS Maps

  • Default selections for personalised mapping and route planning.  

The time estimates for walking will automatically allow for ascents using Naismith's Rule. 

Both the app and web have a ‘Help’ section. This has further information on OS Maps and detailed FAQs.  

Web select: Menu (☰ symbol) > Help  

App select: Menu > Support > Help

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