Concerned with threats from France, the government of the day decided they needed some really accurate mapping of the vulnerable south coast, and the newly-formed Ordnance Survey, led by Captain William Mudge, was commissioned to create it. The relatively recent invention of the theodolite in 1787 allowed for much more accurate measurements to be made, and so more accurate maps created.
It was hard work. The team had to carry the delicate 90 kilo instrument to the top of a hill, spend several days taking measurements, then do it all again for the next section. To create this first map took ten years. New technology like aerial surveys and GPS has made the job faster, but the Ordnance Survey still sends people out on foot to recorded the ever changing landscape of Great Britain.
You can download a copy of the map and use it for your desktop, laptop or mobile background wallpaper or screensaver, or even use it as a Zoom or Teams background image.
2560 x 1440 (also for 1920 x 1080 | 1600 x 900 | 1536 x 864 | 1280 x 720, plus Teams and Zoom)
1920 x 1200 (also for 1680 x 1050 | 1440 x 900 | 1280 x 800)
1366 x 768
1280 x 1024
1024 x 768 (also for iPad)
Universal Mobile Wallpaper: For most mobile devices. For Android devices more of the image shows as you swipe between screens.
To save the image on a computer, right-click (or alt-click) and select 'save target as' or the equivalent for your browser.
Did you know?: You can also use the free image as a background for Zoom, Teams or other live chat systems.
Be inspired to do more and go further by equipping yourself with the best tools for the job. Our maps are built on 220 years of experience - we keep walkers, runners, cyclists and more safe in the great outdoors all year round.
Available from local outdoors retailers, bookshops and our online OS shop.Go to the OS shop