All posts tagged mapping

Mobile-friendly Ordnance Survey maps on Social Hiking

Since the very beginning of Social Hiking, the site has supported Ordnance Survey maps for UK based hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts using OS OpenSpace – a service provided by Ordnance Survey. The service used is free but limited – there is no 1:25k mapping data (and the 1:10k scale maps have reduced information), and there is a limit to the number of map tiles that can be loaded during a 24 hour period (thankfully the site remains below this limit, but your maps will automatically switch to use Google Maps if the limit has been reached).

One of the big problems with OS OpenSpace however was that it did not work well on mobile devices – whilst you could pan and zoom using Google Maps (although it can be better – but more on that below), OS maps stubbornly refused to move from the default view on mobile devices. I actually attended an OS Open Data masterclass last year, where I demoed Social Hiking to some staff from Ordnance Survey on a tablet, which highlighted the limitations.

Well the good news is that Ordnance Survey has just released version 4 of OS OpenSpace which now supports touch devices – OS maps can now be viewed and panned on tablets and other mobile devices, and includes features like ‘pinch to zoom’  which really enhances user experience. The new version is available now on Social Hiking, and I would like to say a big thanks to the Ordnance Survey team for pushing out this update.

Screenshot of OS OpenSpace on Galaxy S3

I mentioned Google Maps – Social Hiking is currently using an old (and long depreciated) version of Google Maps to display tracks and routes. It worked well enough on mobile devices (albeit far from perfect) to spend any limited development time to replace. However, those of you who have played with the peaks map will have seen the latest version of Google Maps in action (which as you would expect is much more mobile friendly), and the good news is that all maps will be moved over to the latest version in the future (it is being built into the big upgrade I am working on).

Screenshot of peaks map

Whilst I am talking about big upgrades and mobiles, it is probably worth noting that the upgrade will also address the (valid) criticism that the current Social Hiking website is not optimised for mobile devices!