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Ordnance Survey Map Skills

As geographers, one of the key skills that you need to learn is how to read an Ordnance Survey map. These skills will be tested throughout the key stages and are a common feature in examinations.

Some of the key map-skills you need to be confident in are:

  • Using Map Symbols
  • Giving Grid References (4 and 6 figure grid-references)
  • Understanding contour lines and how relief is shown on a map
  • Measuring distance on a map

It is important to keep practicing these key skills and the best way is to use an actual OS map. However there are some useful online resources to help you recap and also learn these skills.

Map Skills Quizzes

Try the following links to practice your map skills…

  the fantastic mapzone from the Ordnance Survey is great for practicing  map skills as well as finding out more about GIS and some great Geography links

KS3 BBC Bitesize – OS Map Skills – you can revise your OS map skills here and get some test questions

GCSE BBC Bitesize – Map skills – revising your higher level OS map skills here.

Map Reading Skills Quiz  an interactive quiz to test your map skills knowledge.


There are some useful videos below to help you recap and learn many of the key Ordnance Survey map skills that you need to become confident in.

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