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OS maps outdoor activities in app and AR game

By Tim Wickham
28 July 2021

Southampton-headquartered Ordnance Survey has launched several initiatives to help people enjoy outdoor activities. It has teamed up with Spartan, a world-leading obstacle course race and endurance brand, to make its Trail Service trailing available on the OS Maps app.

The partnership with Spartan showcases the physical and mental benefits of trail running to people of all ages and fitness levels. Nick Giles, managing director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, said: “Spartan is a global name in the outdoor industry and we’re delighted to be working with them on its Spartan Trail races this year. The popularity of trail running, both as a leisure activity and in a more competitive format, has grown rapidly over the past few years.”

The partnership will bring each of the trailing events to life, giving participants the opportunity to review the course ahead of time, and follow on the day of the event; with maps available to view and download on the OS Maps app. Runners will be able to visualise the route with detailed OS mapping, aerial views and 3D route fly-throughs to plan their race-day strategy and get the most out of their Spartan experience.

OS is also partnering with BAFTA-winning games studio PRELOADED to develop a world-scale augmented reality (AR) game that engages family audiences with the outdoors. The game, due to launch in early 2022, will be built on Ordnance Survey’s extensive mapping and will use geospatial data to deliver contextual experiences which drive exploration of our world.

Giles said: "We want to make maps fun and geo-location games and gamified apps enable their players to collectively visualise the great outdoors as they wish to experience and interact with their surroundings. It’s no longer all about what is physically present in a set location. By creating a geo-location game of our own, this new mixture of realities gives us more opportunities to encourage people to explore and get outside more often.”

Mike Hawkyard, head of mobile games at OS, added: “Augmented real-world locations can enhance an individual’s enjoyment of the great outdoors. Upon reaching a desired location, gamers might see a physical telephone box in front of them, but they have also reached a location where they can battle for a new PokéGym in the virtual sense. This new AR game reflects an exciting opportunity by building on the success of OS Maps and raising awareness of these highly engaging outdoor experiences.”