Making your own Ordnance Survey map (For FREE!)


So in yesterday’s post I mentioned that it is a bit of a pain carrying around big OS maps with you and that I often create my own. For those visitors not quite so computer literate I thought I’d just do a quick run through of how I do it. It’s really simple and you don’t need any additional software as we’re going to use good old Microsoft Paint…

1. Open up two instances of the Paint program (Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> Paint) Do this twice to open the program twice. The first instance will be the one that we create our final map in and the second instance is the one that we will paste our rough images into.

1: Under Accessories 2: Paint Program 3: 2 instances are running

2. Next open up your Internet Browser, i.e. Internet Explorer and navigate to the following website: http://www.streetmap.co.uk (I prefer this to Multimap as the maps are less pixelated and you can get a clearer shot).

Navigate to the Street Map Website

3. Enter the location that your cache(s) is located and hit ‘Go’. In this example I’m going to use ‘Castle Hedingham’ as I know there are loads of footpaths around there.

4. Zoom to a detailed level (This is the 3rd notch up from the bottom) and drag the map over to your desired location.

Zoom to this level for the best detail

5. Next, press the ‘Print Screen’ or ‘PrtScr’ key on on your keyboard. This takes a snapshot of everything you can see on your screen at that particular moment.

Print screen button

6. Open up our second instance of Paint.
For those using XP or Vista:
Along the toolbar across the top click the ‘Edit’ menu and then choose paste.

Edit --> Paste

For those using Windows 7:
Click the Home tab, and then in the Clipboard group click the paste icon in the top left hand corner.
Or for those on any Windows-based system you can also press the ctrl+v keys together.

Doing one of the methods above will copy your screen picture into paint.

7. Now that’s all well and good, but you have all the window headings and surrounds on your map, which you don’t want. So we are going to ‘Crop’ it. Choose the ‘Select’ tool.
In XP and Vista: The dashed rectangle in the top right hand corner on the left hand side of the screen.

The Select Tool

In Windows 7: Click the Home Tab and under the Image group click ‘Select’.

8. Draw a rectangle around the part of your map that you want to keep.

9. Now copy the cropped map shape.
For those using XP:
Along the toolbar across the top click the ‘Edit’ menu and then choose copy.

Edit --> Copy

For those using Windows 7:
Click the Home tab, and then in the Clipboard group click the copy icon in the top left hand corner.
Or for those on any Windows-based system you can also press the ctrl+c keys together.

10. Open up the first instance of Paint. First we are going to make it nice and big so you have plenty of room to position your maps in.
In Windows XP and Vista:
Along the top click ‘Image’ and then ‘Attributes’ here you can resize the canvas that you have to work with. Something like 2000 pixels x 2000 pixels should be big enough to play with 🙂

Image --> Attributes

In Windows 7:
On the Home tab, in the Image group, click ‘Resize’ click the ‘Pixels’ option box and resize to 2000×2000 (It might make it 1996 or another number but that doesn’t matter too much)

11. Now paste the cropped map in:
For those using XP and Vista:
Along the toolbar across the top click the ‘Edit’ menu and then choose paste.
For those using Windows 7:
Click the Home tab, and then in the Clipboard group click the paste icon in the top left hand corner.
Or for those on any Windows-based system you can also press the ctrl+c keys together.
Doing one of the methods above will copy your screen picture into paint.

12. Whilst the map has the dashed line around it you can drag it around the canvas and reposition it. So for example, if you know that the area you are going to add to it expands to the left, drag this first picture over to the right hand side. If you mess it up, don’t worry, press the ctrl+a keys together and it does a ‘Select All’ so you can reposition the map again.

13. When you’re happy go back to the street view website and budge the map along a little bit. You want to see a tiny bit of the map that you have already taken a shot of so that you can do an overlap.

14. Repeat steps 5 to 9.

15. Go back to your first instance of paint that contains your original cropped map and paste this new one in. Drag it around the screen and line it up with the previous map. If you mess up, just press the ctrl+z keys for ‘Undo’ and the map will disappear, and then do again to paste the new one back it.

16. Repeat all this until you have placed the whole map into Paint.

17. Once you have the map you’ll probably have some ugly white space around it. The best thing to do here is a ‘Select All’ and drag the map into the top left hand corner of the canvas. Then scroll to the bottom of the canvas and you’ll notice in the middle of the bottom edge is a little notch. You can drag this notch up to shrink the canvas size. Do the same for the far right edge.

Handles on each edge, drag to resize.

18. One last thing you may want to do is configure your print options. Paint in Windows 7 is pretty intelligent so it will fit it to the page correctly, Windows XP takes a little more.
To configure in XP and Vista:
Click the ‘File‘ toolbar and then ‘Page Setup‘. Near the bottom right hand side click the circle that says ‘Fit to:‘ and set this to 1 by 1 pages (Unless it’s a very big map in which case you could fit it to 2×1 for example) You may also want to change the orientation to Landscape depending on how your map stretches.

Here you can size the page and change orientation

To configure in Windows 7:
Click the button in the top left hand corner, hover over ‘Print’ and then choose ‘Page Setup’. The Fit To page should already be configured as 1×1 but you may want to select either Landscape or Portrait. Click OK when done.

You can also choose a ‘Print Preview’ on the same menu in Paint to see what it looks like when printed.

19. Finally, print the map and place in your Caching bag.

20. Have fun not getting lost! 🙂

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