A collection of BBC Learning programmes introducing the satnav and online maps generation to the traditional skills of reading detailed paper maps.
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Finding your way round town these days isn't so hard.
GPS means a little blinking dot on a screen and you're sorted.
What if you are not in town
but in the great outdoors with no signal and definitely no Wi-Fi?
Well, using a low tech map, hi tech GPS and even one of these -
a helicam -
I'm going to show you the skills to put you on the right track.
I'm setting three groups of students a navigational challenge -
to find out exactly where they are on a map...
Craven Garth Farm, look! We just came from there.
..and to follow a route to an ultimate destination.
But this ends here, so obviously something's gone wrong.
Today we're in North Yorkshire on the Heritage Coast.
I'm with Abi, Irum and Sarah.
They've been blindfolded for the last part of our journey,
so they haven't a clue where they are.
-I spy with my little eye something beginning with S.
It's the start of a mission in which these three 15-year-olds
from urban Leeds who think they have no map reading skills
will be asked to identify locations and follow a route between them.
Any idea at all where you are at the moment?
In a field.
The first task is to use an Ordnance Survey map
to pinpoint where they're starting.
You are somewhere on this map. What can you see?
What can you see when you look around?
Talk me through the landscape as you see it right now.
You can see the thing sticking out the edge.
We've got some cliffs. What do you think this is?
It does. It looks industrial, doesn't it? It's big.
Are we near here?
-What does that say?
-Jetty, very good. Is that sand down there?
What else can we see that you've spotted around us here?
Is that the industrial area cos it says works?
The girls have found the only place on the map with a jetty,
a sandy beach and a large factory overlooking them.
It puts them close to the village of Skinningrove,
but what's their precise position?
What's along this road that might give us a clue?
These black lines here, these are the edges of fields.
These are the field boundaries and you can see right here
that we are on the boundary between two fields.
So that's exactly where we are.
There's a key to everything here,
so if you see anything on the map you don't understand...
this is the place you look it up.
To start with I want the girls to navigate down the coast
to a rendezvous point close to a communications mast.
When they think they've got there,
I've asked them to send me details of where they are.
They can do this using co-ordinates.
Each place on the planet can be identified using latitude
Latitude indicates your position relative to the equator.
Longitude tells you your position relative to the Prime Meridian,
which runs through Greenwich in London.
Combine the two and you can pinpoint an exact location,
and a GPS tracker works this out for you.
Here you go, you've got your latitude and longitude.
I want you to text me your co-ordinates
when you get to it, where you think we're going to meet.
All right? And I'll come and see you.
I'll start you off. You're going that way.
-That way, OK.
-See you later.
-OK, so we're here.
-Look out for traffic.
Our helicam is on hand to show how the map relates to
the features on the ground as they take on the challenge.
The girls need to find a long distance trail
called The Cleveland Way.
On the 1 to 25,000 scale map they're using,
public rights of way are marked as green dotted lines
and the long distance trails are signified by green diamonds.
So we need to walk down there and find the path.
There's a short cut they can take, but will they see it?
No, they missed it.
You sure it isn't down there?
-We've got a footpath there.
-Is it near the beach?
Now this is interesting, the girls just walked past this spot,
but they could've turned right here.
As you can see it's not that obvious which is probably why
the girls missed it, but when you're map reading
it is so important to keep your eyes peeled for the small details.
The road continues downhill,
double arrows on the map indicate a steep gradient.
Unfortunately the girls follow it right to the bottom.
We're not going on the beach.
It's up the hill.
Something's gone wrong.
-Wait, can I see the map please?
-So it's up there.
When they find the path, it's a tiring climb back up to where
they would have been if they hadn't missed the short cut.
That's like a 90 degree angle.
There are no arrows on footpaths to indicate they're steep,
but you can tell from the map it will be tough going.
The map is full of contour lines
which connect points of equal height.
Marked on is a number which signifies metres above sea level.
Cross contour lines and it means you're going up or downhill
and the closer they are together, the steeper the gradient.
From the hill the girls get a clear view of features shown on the map.
There's a red warning beacon.
And the cliffs and wave-cut platform
which run along this stretch of coast.
-Where are we?
OK, so we are about...
Yeah. OK, it curves...
A good idea when you're navigating
is to turn the map in the direction you're walking,
just like you're following a sat nav.
Of course, it will mean the writing on the map could be
at a strange angle, but it'll make it much easier to work out
when and whether you have to turn left or right.
We'll just be, like, following it along the edge again.
Look, it's the mast. So we know we're here then.
Let's check the map.
Through there and then there should be a foot path.
The girls think they've identified the path that leads away from
the coast to the mast.
If they're right they should see a couple of archaeological features
in an adjacent field which are marked by italic writing.
The map key reveals these are non-Roman sites.
Some have specific names, but in this case each one is marked on
as a tumulus - the technical term for an ancient burial mound.
Then the path leads straight on to a communications tower.
This is like a eureka moment.
Now we just have to work out how to open the gate.
-We should text Joe.
Tell him the coordinates. OK, one minute. I got it.
North. 54 degrees.
Right, guys, clearly you're by a big radio mast here.
Do you think it's the right radio mast?
If you've got a smartphone or a tablet you can double check
your location using a district map,
so on this phone I have downloaded software of the map.
Now it's the same map that you've got there, it's Ordnance Survey,
but obviously if you press this button here it actually locates you.
And sure enough that orange point is the check point I sent you
and you can see this circle is where we are, so you are bang on,
you are in the right place, congratulations.
Now they need their final destination.
I want them to meet me at the lifeboat station
which is located in an area called Cowbar
next to the village of Staithes.
The Cleveland Way
runs over the cliff tops above old quarries.
A cliff can't be shown by contour lines.
Instead you'll find a map symbol which indicates a vertical face.
Now, maps don't just include landscape features,
buildings are on there, too.
Over there is Boulby Mine and it's clearly marked on this map,
not just because there's a mine there,
but individual buildings are shown, too.
So you can spot all sorts of things on a map of this scale -
farm houses, factories, even tiny little cottages.
So there's plenty to look out for
and this row of cottages is clearly visible on the girls' map.
The girls are safely on the right track,
now it's a matter of following
the road down the steep hill into the village.
It's the end of an eight and a half kilometre walk.
-I love the houses.
-They're so pretty, yes.
You made it. How you doing?
This is the rescue boat you were looking for,
so, congratulations, you have made it.
So, come over here, let's see that map,
let's see the whole distance you've come then.
So, you have walked from Skinningrove,
all the way over there, to Staithes, right in the middle.
-Quite a distance. How do you feel?
And have you learnt most importantly a little bit about map reading?
-What sorts of things?
About how, like, to see where the rocks are
and when we're allowed to use... walk around them and stuff.
Good, so you're using the key to identify different features.
The contours, the ups and downs, and reading those sorts of things.
-North's facing upwards.
-North, south is always the same.
The map is facing north exactly.
Which way around to hold a map - very important that one.
Congratulations, well done, guys, good work!
-Probably time for an ice cream, I reckon.
-Come on then.
Sarah, Abi and Irum have done really well.
The girls have followed the map closely.
They've noticed and hit all the major landmarks
and they've arrived here in the beautiful final destination
on time and safely.
I'd call that a job well done.
Today we're in Yorkshire exploring the North York Moors.
I'm with Danyaal, Haseeb and Fezzy.
They've been blindfolded near the end of their journey,
so they haven't a clue where they are.
It's the start of a mission in which these three 16-year-olds
from Batley in West Yorkshire will be asked to identify locations
and follow a route between them.
It's a tricky task especially as the lads know little
or nothing about map reading.
Take a look around you.
Do you have any idea where we are? Exactly where we are right now?
-Not at all.
-OK, using this map,
if I give you a slight clue, which is that we are somewhere
in this section of the map.
I want you to try and work out exactly where we are.
Take a look around you.
What can you see that we may be able to find on here to give us a clue.
-There's a telephone box.
Ah, I found it.
Well, that's a phone box, so how do we know if it's the right one?
-What else do we know?
-It's one road.
There's a path going down there and there's a path going up here.
There's a straight road going up there.
Hurrah! We found it. Very, very good.
I've set the lads a navigational challenge -
to link up with an old disused railway track
which follows a line west of some mine workings.
At a plantation of trees, I want them to head uphill.
Now there are two paths to choose from,
I want them to take the most easterly of the two
and follow it up to a road.
-Yeah. Thank you.
I'll start you on your way - you're going up the bridle path.
-Don't get lost, yeah?
-Right, see you shortly.
Our helicam is on hand to show how the map relates to the features on
the ground along the seven and a half kilometre route.
-Do we follow that path?
This public right of way allows them to walk through someone's farmyard.
Then it's time to make sure they're still following the right route.
Look for some more clues that'll tell us where we are.
A good map-reading trick is to look for features on the ground
that you can see on the map.
Spot them and you know you're on the right track.
The lads have identified a farm they can also see on the map.
What are them houses down there, though?
It's Craven Garth Farm. Look, we've just came from there.
That's the road.
Yeah, well spotted. This is the path.
Must be the path.
Our helicam tracks the boys as they follow a route
which takes them one side of a steep faced valley -
following the course of an old railway track that served
the iron mining industry on this part of the moors.
There's a sign here.
Right, this is East Mines.
It's not long before they reach a spectacular example
of industrial archaeology in the shape of old kilns.
These kilns are plainly visible on the map.
The ground rises steeply as shown by tightly packed contour lines.
And the helicam can rise high enough to see what the boys can't.
A disused quarry and another old railway line that linked up with it.
But there are other map features that can help the boys
pinpoint their location.
Florence Terrace. Look, just there.
The real test, though, is coming up.
Now, at the bottom of this hill there's a plantation
and there there's a path that branches off to the right.
That's the one I've told the boys to take, but it's overgrown
and very tricky to spot, so it's going to be interesting to see
if they notice it.
We're on the High Gill now.
Right, we've got a big decision to make.
-Look how many trees are there.
The map features they're looking for are a plantation of coniferous trees
and a path that runs down to Dale Head Farm where there's a tea shop.
It's here where they need to turn right.
There, Head Farm tea garden.
They notice the path that runs down to the cafe...
I really want a cup of tea.
..but don't realise its significance as a landmark.
They continue on the railway line. Now they're going the wrong way.
-It has to be, though.
-Right, we're lost.
The boys realise they've gone wrong...
Where else is there?
Dale Head Farm is there.
..check the map...
It's there somewhere.
..and retrace their steps back to the right path.
We've just gone fully round.
They now face a steep climb, where the path disappears in places.
It's on the map, but it's not clearly visible on the ground.
Come on, boys, we're soldiers. No pain...no gain.
Now, at this point on the path,
there's plenty potential for the boys to go wrong.
One path very clearly defined continues up the hill,
but it's the wrong one.
The correct path goes off to the right, but you can see it's
really overgrown and very difficult to spot.
The map reading clue here is that there's a stream just there.
The correct path crosses the stream
whereas the incorrect path goes away from the stream.
So if they're paying close attention
they might just get it right.
I'm guessing it's straight up there.
Yeah, just follow the path.
It's not surprising that the boys do indeed take the wrong path again.
-Where are we?
-Is it up here?
But Fezzy eventually realises they've made a mistake.
We need to take this route. You're taking the other route.
-Show me, show me.
-I'm taking the east side route.
-Show me, show me, then.
-We're taking the west side.
Yeah, he's right. Look, we're taking that route.
And he puts them back on the right route - on the easterly path
that leads up to the roadside.
Hey, guys, how's it going?
-You made it. How was that?
And what about the map reading? How did you find it?
We made two major mistakes.
We just took the wrong path.
There was not much of a path to walk on, so we took the wrong path.
Unless enough people are walking on it,
it doesn't get trampled down. It's not that obvious.
That's why you've got to look for geographical features
and just any clues that you can pick up along the way.
Next I want them to take a route across some
heather covered moorland.
This route involves moving from one map to another.
Thankfully there's a way of linking them.
Ordnance Survey maps are covered in a series of faint blue lines
making up a grid.
These lines are a kilometre apart and have numbers accompanying them
which you'll find on the edges of the map.
The numbers running left to right are called eastings,
the ones running up and down are northings.
You need to look where a route leaves one side of a map,
note the relevant easting and northing
and match them up on the second map.
The back cover will show you which second map you need.
In this case, it's OL27.
You'll be coming up here. What does BP and BS stand for?
-Is it a power station?
-Good, good guess.
It's not funnily enough in the middle of grass a petrol station.
Look at the key. Remember you can always look these things up.
Here's your key. Where's BP and BS?
Very good. I'm going to meet you at that road.
-Good luck, guys.
-See you later.
The route now leads across an expanse of open moorland.
Moors can make it very difficult to pinpoint exactly where you are
because features can be few and far between.
So you need to make a note of any that crop up on your route.
In the lads' case, they know they're looking for a couple
of boundary markers.
That's a BS and this is the BP.
Yeah, go on.
We need to head right somewhere, don't we?
It's over there.
As the mist starts to come in,
the boys see the hills opposite where they need to turn right.
Soon they move from one map to the other.
We've passed a few streams
when we came past that last stream over there.
So coming off OL26, going on to OL27 map.
And they're on the last leg to our final and very misty meeting point.
-Congratulations. Put it there. You made it.
It's the end of a seven and a half kilometre walk that's taken
the lads from a small sheltered hamlet
to an exposed stretch of moorland.
So what was the hardest thing today, do you think?
I'd say we got lost twice, that was hard.
We managed to get back on the right track.
Plus you learn how to understand a map.
Yeah, I can understand a map a lot better now.
So, look, you should be very proud of yourselves.
-You feel good?
-Right, come on, let's go.
Well, the lads did go wrong a couple of times,
but they kept their wits about them.
They worked out where they had made a mistake
and they got back on track - and that's the key.
If you keep checking where you are,
and which direction you are going in, you won't go too far wrong.
Today we're in the spectacular Yorkshire Dales,
a National Park to the North of Leeds, in the Central Pennines.
I'm with Isaac, Ruby and Eddie.
They've been blindfolded for the last part of our journey,
so they've no idea where they are.
That's because I want them to use a map to identify their location
and then follow a route that poses a tricky navigational challenge.
It doesn't help that these 16-year-old A-level students
are map reading novices, more used to finding their way round
the streets of Leeds where they live.
The road sign would tell them exactly where they are,
but I'm keeping them the wrong side of it.
They're going to have to use a bit of initiative to
pinpoint their location.
So have a good look around you,
what can you see that we can find on this map?
There's like some mountainous...
Yeah, you can see some rocks up there, steep bit of a hill, exactly.
We've got a vehicle coming past us which is on a...
-Road, very good.
We've got a few key things. Anything else?
-What's the vehicle just gone over?
-Bridge is over a...
We're somewhere on this section of map.
Any idea where we could be?
I'm looking for the bridge, I can't find the bridge
It says something about...
..Marsett Bridge there. Oh, and there's a telephone box.
Can you see a telephone box? Very good, OK.
They've made a good start and we know they're right.
But I want them to work a bit harder to confirm it
and I have something that can help them.
I'm going to give you this.
A compass allows us to identify which direction is north
and maps are always drawn up with north at the top.
Can you make the compass face north and then orientate the map
so north on the map is north real life.
There is a small difference between magnetic north
as shown by the compass and grid north as shown on the map.
But for this part of the task that difference isn't significant.
Combining the map and compass allows the students to verify
the relative positions of the features they've spotted.
That's what we're looking at.
So what's north of this bridge?
You see those rocks around Sheepfold there?
-Where would the stream be?
And the telephone box is on the other side of the stream.
So you think we're where? What's it called?
-Look at this.
Gather round, let's look where you're going to go.
I want them to follow a route that will take them up hill,
past a farmhouse and through a succession of fields.
At a crossroads they should keep on the same path
and text me when they get to a clearly marked Roman Road.
Right, off you go. Good luck. Don't get lost.
Our helicam will help show how features on the ground are reflected
on the 1 to 25,000 scale Ordnance Survey map the students are using.
Right, we're on the footpath at least.
The beginning is pretty straightforward,
an easy walk up the hill.
But a significant navigational challenge awaits them.
The path leads straight up to a small farm house.
At this point, it divides. To the left is quite an obvious path,
but it's the wrong one.
The correct path to the right is more difficult to spot
and it leads steeply uphill to a small gate.
-Do we go right now?
-No, that way.
Ah! Their first mistake -
they've carried on straight instead of bearing right.
-Why are we still walking?
Then they make a series of errors because there are plenty of paths
to choose from and they aren't following the map closely enough.
This is someone's house.
The correct path heads uphill
and cuts through a wall due north of the corner of a farmhouse.
They miss it several times...
I think we should head back.
..before Ruby eventually spots the correct route.
-Is that a possible walkthrough gate?
-Can you walk through there?
Through trial and error, they're back on track.
Follow the sheep.
The contour lines on the map show they now face a steep walk
although this part of the route is straightforward
as regards navigation.
This is where we cross the stream, we're there
and then that gate is over there.
The terrain, though, can be difficult in places,
the right footwear is essential.
-Oh, my God.
The route goes through a series of walls marked by
black lines on the map which helps them keep track of where they are.
We've just gone through that wall there.
-Yeah, I think so.
-We just need to carry on.
There's a sign at the crossroads,
but it only indicates three directions,
so they'll need to use their initiative
and close scrutiny of the map.
So does that mean this path just carries on straight ahead,
but I can't see where it goes to.
Just go up there and follow the road down.
They've taken the wrong path.
On the ground, the right route is hard to spot,
but it's clearly visible from the air.
Instead they've headed for the Roman Road on the clearly marked
bridleway indicated by the signpost, ignoring their map.
Then they turn right at the road, it's been an unnecessary detour.
At least they think they've found the right meeting place.
But I have a way of confirming it, using a GPS tracker
which can give us our precise position via map co-ordinates.
Here what we've got,
these two numbers here, are grid references.
These co-ordinates give us an exact location.
For mapping purposes, the UK is divided into separate 100km squares.
The letters in our co-ordinates tell us which one of these squares
we're in, they can be found on the top of Ordnance Survey maps.
In our case, it's SD.
Each of these sections is then broken down into further 1km squares
marked by blue lines on maps and referenced by numbers on the top
of the map, called eastings and on the side which are called northings.
Eastings always come first,
in our case we have 88 referring to the major blue line then
we hone in using decimal places with the 6, 2 and 3.
We do a similar process with the northings
and that gives us our exact location.
GPS is very precise.
In map reading we normally use a six-figure reference
which in our case would be SD 886872.
These six figure grid references locate a place to the nearest 100m.
It would be very easy to follow that bridleway and come a little
bit further along, but you've come out here, so well done.
-Well, we did come out there.
-Oh, you did.
-And then we walked down here.
-Oh, right, OK.
Now there's one more leg to tackle.
I want them to follow a path that takes them onto the Wether Fell.
And then when they're due north of the highest point on the fell,
marked by what's called a spot height which is in metres,
I want them to use their compass and head south straight for the summit.
Our final meeting point is a gate on the Roman Road.
-It's kind of cold up here.
So I put my coat on.
When they get onto the fell there's something they need to look out for.
Now this footpath is a public right-of-way
which means it is open to all people all times of the year.
And this land just over here is what's called access land,
it means you do have a right to roam across it
whether there is a footpath or not.
It's marked on a map with an orange boundary and a yellowish tint,
however just occasionally there can be restrictions
when there's no open access.
Those restrictions will be displayed on a notice board locally like this,
so it's really important that Isaac, Ruby
and Eddie check this as they travel through.
Restrictions are put in place for various reasons,
including the protection of wild flowers or to avoid bird shoots.
So we're just carrying straight on.
Isaac, Eddie and Ruby totally ignore the notice board.
Luckily there are no restrictions today.
If there had been, straying off the footpath
would mean they were trespassing.
The path runs around the edge of the fell through a small disused quarry.
The map gives them clues about
where they need to head south directly towards the summit.
It's close to where the wall deviates away from the path
and just across a small stream.
Will they be observant enough to spot this?
We already passed a quarry, we're like...
No, we've just gone past that because that's the spring.
Yeah, cos the wall goes like that, which is that.
-Well, apparently, north is that way.
-So we need to go south.
-Which way is south?
They're now relying on the compass to navigate
because the summit's hidden from view.
It's a relatively short distance,
so the difference between magnetic and grid north doesn't matter.
Their main tasks are to keep following the compass
and keep their footing on the very boggy ground.
-Can you not walk through it?
They've followed the compass perfectly
and reach the top of the hill directly in line with the summit
which is marked on the map by a cairn, which is a pile of stones.
Then it's a short distance downhill to end
a four and a half kilometre walk in which they've got to grips with
using a compass and map co-ordinates.
-Hey, guys, how's it going?
-Well done, you made it, this is the end.
-We did it.
-How does that feel?
How did you find the last bit particularly,
you know, navigating with a compass,
no bridleways, no footpaths just open land?
-It was weird, but it was really fun.
-Yeah, that was the best bit.
-I suppose in some ways the most challenging
-because you had to make sure you got your baring right.
Just a little bit out and you could end up miles in the wrong place.
Well done. It was tough uphill work so come on then.
Well, Ruby, Isaac and Eddie have done really well today,
OK, a few mistakes near the beginning
which got them a little bit lost,
but when it came to using a compass to navigate across open land
to a finish point they couldn't see, they absolutely nailed it.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Get Lost is a collection of BBC Learning programmes introducing the satnav and online maps generation to the traditional skills of reading detailed paper maps.
In each programme, three young people are set a navigational challenge - to get from A to B in the middle of the countryside by following detailed Ordnance Survey maps.
Presenter Joe Crowley is on hand to give tips as the school students discover the world of contours, spot heights and navigating using a compass.
Can the teenagers make it to their destination without getting lost?