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Detailed footpath data for Ordnance Survey mapping

Detailed footpath data for Ordnance Survey mapping

Fri 27th March 2015

in January and February 2015 members of GPS Trainig and Walkingworld conducted a survey asking for peoples thoughts on the accuracy of the rights of way marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

Invitations to take part in the survey were sent by email to over 65,000 members of Walkingworld and over 6000 people on the GPS Training email newsletter list. Further requests to take part were placed on Walkingworld and GPS Training’s Facebook pages. Walkingworld members and GPS Training customers represent a reasonable cross-section of those interested in the outdoors and in the use of GPS in the outdoors. 

As the survey was conducted online and with members of an online walking guide publisher and GPS training provider, there will be some bias towards those who are familiar with the use of technology. The nature of the survey is also likely to have attracted more people with a prior interest in using GPS while in the outdoors. Those who are happy to simply use a map and compass for navigation are likely to be under-represented.

Over 700 people responded to the survey. The results are fascinating and in some respects surprising with a high proportion expressing a degree of frustration with lack of accuracy in showing the routes of public rights of way (PROWs) on OS maps. Over 85% of respondents said that they were either often or occasionally frustrated by errors in footpath mapping. 

There is real interest in more accurate footpath data on both paper and digital maps and the ability to follow a footpath using a GPS.  Only 4% said they would never take advantage of more accurate plotting of footpath routes on paper maps and only 12% on digital maps. Nearly 71% said they would ‘definitely’ appreciate more accurate data on paper maps. 

When it comes to using a GPS with accurate footpath data well over half (56%) said they would definitely appreciate better plotting on GPS and nearly 30% would appreciate the use of such data for turn-by-turn routing (similar to that on a car satnav). 

In what is perhaps the most surprising result from the survey, quite a large proportion of respondents (over 75%) expressed a willingness to make some payment for more detailed footpaths data. The amount they were prepared to pay ranged from less than £5 to between £20 and £40. The number who were willing to pay over £10 was over 45%.

You can read the full 11 page report here.


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