Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Online maps

"For a volunteer, maps are one of the most important tools of the job. An ability to read maps and pinpoint a six-figure grid reference is vital. Volunteers who do not already have this skill will receive training."

That quotation comes from part 7 of Section 1 of the Volunteers Handbook, which is highly recommended reading for all volunteers. The handbook mainly covers printed maps. This page is about online maps. All the maps described on this page, with the exception of the premium maps listed in the last section, are available free of charge and with no need to register.

No one map is suitable for every purpose and the volunteer will benefit from using the maps described on this page in combination.

General-purpose online maps

OS 1:25000 map

Interactive Ordnance Survey maps are available on this site, on the OS mapping page.

Alternative sources of free Ordnance Survey mapping on other sites include:

Google Maps and Google Earth

Another source of online maps is Google Maps. The maps themselves aren't particularly useful for footpath work but you can also see aerial photography (which Google calls "Satellite") that's detailed enough to pick out the lines of footpaths, walls, hedges, etc.

Google's aerial photographs can be explored more effectively using Google Earth, which is software that you would need to download and install on your computer.

Online PROW maps

Cheshire East Council map

Many of the local government councils that act as highway authorities publish interactive maps which allow you to explore their areas and to identify public rights of way. Our page Highway Authorities provides an index of the authorities in the PNFS area and links to their online maps.

Some of the councils' maps are quite difficult to use, and they're all different. The maps at (see below) are often more convenient to use, if not quite as authoritative.

Google Earth with KML overlay

An unofficial web site builds on the data available from highway authorities, providing additional maps and downloads of digital data. For full information you should take a close look at what the site has to offer. In particular:

  • Maps can be found for a place name, postcode, or grid reference using the search facility on the rowmaps home page. Maps are available in the familiar Ordnance Survey format, making them easier to read than many of the maps provided by Highway Authorities.
  • KML files are listed on the rowmaps KML page and also on this site's Highway Authorities page. KML files can be downloaded into Google Earth so that you can see the line of a PROW superimposed on an aerial photograph, as illustrated, left.

Premium maps

Several organisations provide advanced online mapping products using Ordnance Survey maps which you have to either buy or rent. Advanced features vary from product to product and can include full-screen viewing, adding your own information, printing, downloading to mobile phones and GPS receivers, etc. Consult each product's web site to see what's currently available and how much it costs.

Unfortunately the society does not reimburse the cost of premium maps to volunteers. Volunteers might consider buying them and treating their cost as a further contribution to the society, and might also find the maps suitable for their own private use.

Related pages

Highway authorities Grid references OS mapping

Page title:Online maps
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