Footpath Mapping Inaccuracies.(0S)

Forum » General Forums » General discussion

By julian on 15/09/14 at 6:32pm

Having had the joy of recently completing the Wainwrights, there is one thing that continually mystifies me and that is the inaccuracy of pathways on the OS maps (25000 scale)- the most accurate paths seem to be the tiny black dashed ones whereas the green heavier type dashed ones seem to be hopeless and in one instant dangerous as I tried to descend a fell in thick mist onto a very sharp drop. I understand paths can be subject to change on the ground but most paths seem to have been around for years, so why aren't the maps more accurate? Are the Harveys maps any better? In some ways it hasn't mattered as this summer has been so good, and the views so clear, one barely needs to refer to the map at all. It is puzzling particularly when satellite photography is so good and even BIng maps on google seem to be getting things right. Any thoughts out there? julian

By TallPaul on 15/09/14 at 7:18pm

First well done on completing a Wainwright round.

You're dead right about the green footpaths often being inaccurate or non-existent on the ground, that's our experience too. But it's not really the Ordnance Survey's fault. The finger of blame points directly at Cumbria County Council for they are responsible for managing the Definitive Map which defines where all the rights of way in the county lie. As part of their brief the Ordnance Survey include all rights of way on their maps and they take that information directly from the Definitive Map.

The problem, as far as I can make out, is that once something is down on the Definitive Map it's hard to get it changed without jumping through legal hoops (as you are diverting a right of way) and that applies even if the map clearly has no relation to what you find on the ground.

Hence the black dashed lines, which are (generally speaking) a lot more reliable.

And, talking of aerial photography, don't forget that our mapping app lets you look at aerial photography and toggle back and forth between that and the 1:25K map.

WalkLakes recognises that hill walking, or walking in the mountains, is an activity with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.