Charting developments – Ordnance Survey

Grough reports that Britain’s national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, is considering abandoning a system of co-ordinates on maps first devised more than 180 years ago.

Ordnance Survey is seeking views on changing its latitude and longitude markers to a system used by most GPS devices.

The organisation stressed it is not changing its national grid references, which are used by most outdoor enthusiasts, but may change the lat and long datum to the WGS84 model, in recognition that most users now refer to that, rather than its present Airy 1830, which was devised by Britain’s Astronomer Royal in the 19th century.

An Ordnance Survey spokesperson said: “This would mean moving towards the overlay showing latitude and longitude used on GPS devices, to help bring digital navigation devices and paper maps closer together and work more in harmony.

“We believe this would have little impact on the majority of users of our paper maps. However, we would like your opinions on this change to ensure we fully consider all options and impacts before we make a final decision.”

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