Map giveaway for schoolkids gets underway

September 03, 2009 -- Schoolchildren across England and Wales have the chance to get their hands on free Ordnance Survey maps, as the national mapping agency launches the Free maps for 11-year-olds scheme today (3 September).

The initiative offers every Year 7 pupil a free OS Explorer Map and has been an overwhelming success since its launch in 2002, with the 5 millionth map given away last year.

The scheme not only supports learning about geography and the environment but also helps encourage children and their families to get out and about and explore their local area. It has been praised by teachers, pupils and parents alike.

“Being able to understand the information on a map, whether it’s on paper, the Internet or a hand-held gadget, and relate that to the world you see around you is a really important life skill,” comments Elaine Owen, Ordnance Survey’s Corporate Responsibility Manager.

“The Free maps for 11-year-olds scheme is helping children learn these skills and is open to every Year 7 pupil in country. All your school has to do is place their order on our website.”

This year Ordnance Survey is working with Natural England to offer teachers an additional resource. A booklet entitled The language of landscape, also created with help from the Geographical Association, will be distributed to teachers in England and features practical lesson ideas and tips on further incorporating map work into the curriculum.

Dr Helen Phillips, Natural England’s Chief Executive, adds: “Maps are a great way for children to learn about the natural environment. Not only can they open up a new world by showing hidden gems in a local area, but it gives children the chance to explore what’s there – whether it’s a national park or a wildlife site closer to home.

“A recent survey by Natural England showed that less than a quarter of children now visit a local green space on a weekly basis, half the number of their parent’s generation. We are therefore delighted to be involved in this exciting project by helping to grow children’s love of the outdoors”.

As well as a free OS Explorer Map, pupils are also being given the chance to win an all expenses paid day out with the Field Studies Council in Exmoor National Park. The 12 winners that can correctly complete the answers to five questions will have the chance to put their map-reading skills into practice and enjoy the many activities planned for the day.

To take advantage of the scheme, teachers must place their order by 30 November 2009 on the Ordnance Survey free maps website:

Further support for teachers is also available on Ordnance Survey’s MapZone website – – which offers a range of educational games. There is also the online explore portal, which allows users to plot, share and search for routes on Ordnance Survey mapping. Teachers are using the site, which is free to access, to highlight different map symbols to their pupils. Visit explore at

For more information call the free maps helpline on 0845 337 3133 or email

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping agency, providing the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data, relied on by government, business and individuals.

Ordnance Survey is keen to make the free maps offer as inclusive as possible. Teachers of children with visual impairment are being encouraged to download free extracts of the same map from the Get a map service on Ordnance Survey’s website – It is easy to save and enlarge the extracts for teaching purposes.

Ordnance Survey, the OS Symbol, Explorer, MapZone and OS are registered trademarks of Ordnance Survey.

For more information from Ordnance Survey, please contact: Rob Andrews – Head of Corporate Communications – on 023 8079 2265 or

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