Map reading made easy! For beginners to advanced, adults or teenagers, find all you need to make map reading easy
We've collected some of our top map reading resources all in one place to get you started in this vital outdoor skill. Too easy for you? Expand your knowledge with Map reading - advanced guides.
Map reading for beginners - download
Grab this downloadable PDF copy of the 'Map Reading for Beginners' leaflet
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Beginner's guide to understanding map contour lines
Discover how contour lines on maps are used to understand the terrain around you, including gradients of hills, valleys and steepness of climbs.
A beginner's guide to understanding map scales
Have you ever wondered what a map scale is, or the difference between OS Landranger and Explorer maps? Our quick guide to understanding map scales will help!
A beginner's guide to grid references
OS maps are covered in a series of blue grid lines that are used to pinpoint exact locations anywhere on a map. Learn what these are called and how to find a grid reference.
A beginner's guide to the compass
Rather than just showing north, modern compasses have many features to assist in planning and navigation. Find out what compass you need.
Beginner's guide to using a compass
Navigating using a map and a compass is a fantastic life skill and complements any GPS device. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use compass bearings.
A beginner's guide to measuring distance on a map
Measuring distance is a key map reading tool to see how far you've travelled or how far your planned route takes you. Learn how to easily measure distance with our quick and simple guide.
Learn how to read a map with video guides from Steve Backshall
Choosing the right map
Understanding map symbols
Understanding contour lines
How to take a 4-figure grid reference
How to take a 6-figure grid reference
Features of a compass
How to take a compass bearing
Understanding magnetic north