Ordnance Survey 50K Map Symbols

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright February 2007, David Hawgood; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.


Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale maps use about 140 standard symbols. Geograph now has photos of almost all the types of feature depicted by symbols. A set of articles has been developed to show photographs, and map extracts with the symbols. Geograph contributors have suggested the examples.
Symbols are shown on the maps, and online on pdf pages OS 1:50,000 map symbolsExternal link and1:50,000 symbols, WelshExternal link. Some symbols show features not visible on the ground. Ordnance Survey also lists hundreds of abbreviationsExternal link; only a few are in the key on maps. We have an article OS abbreviationsExternal link listing abbreviations that can appear on 25k or 50K maps, and giving examples we have found of their occurrence.

We also have an article listing descriptive words on OS maps - see descriptive words External link .

Articles for types of symbol

Links will be added here as the articles are developed.
AbbreviationsExternal link
AntiquitiesExternal link
BoundariesExternal link
Heights and rock featuresExternal link
Land featuresExternal link
RailwaysExternal link
Rights of way and accessExternal link
Roads and pathsExternal link
Tourist informationExternal link
Water featuresExternal link

News about changes

We have noticed several changes or additions to symbols used on OS 1:50,000 scale maps. The changes are implemented progressively, probably first on the on-line map, and in geographic areas that require revision. Here are some that we know about (in July 2008):

Comments and discussion

Two discussion areas open to registered Geograph users:
Examples as suggested by Geograph contributorsExternal link
Discussion of OS map symbolsExternal link

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