How well can you read a map and navigate - an HF quiz

A map of the Derwent Reservoir in the Peak District, UK, with a compass laying on top of it
Map reading and navigation can seem overwhelming but it's essential for a safe and enjoyable self-guided walking holiday. So, are you a wayfinder or a lost sheep? How well can you find your way around the UK? Take our map reading and navigation quiz to find out. It's just-for-fun, so score yourself and see what sort of travel buff you are...and don't forget, if you get stuck, we can always point you in the right direction! And if you're really struggling, we run navigation skills courses too...
Question 1
Measuring a map

If a map scale is shown as 1:25,000, what is 1cm equivalent to?

A) 25 cm
B) 25 m
C) 250 m
D) 25 km

Click for Answer 1

C) 250 M

If a map has a scale of 1:25000, this means that 1 cm on the map is equivalent 25000 cm in real life, which is 250 m or 0.25 km. So, if 1 cm is 0.25 km, then 4 cm will represent 1 km in real life.

Question 2
Map navigation

Which of these different map scales iwould be referred to as 'the small scale map'?

A) 1:1,250
B) 1:25,000
C) 1:50,000
D) 1:250,000

Click for Answer 2

D) 1:250,000

The terms 'large scale' and 'small scale' are used to describe different scales. However, they can be confusing: large scale maps have low number in the scale, such as 1: 1250. The features are shown are large. Small scale maps have a high number in the scale, such as 1: 250 000. Individual features shown are small

Question 3
Self-guided walking holiday

Maps are made at different scales for different purposes - which of these would be best for walking?

A) 1:1,250
B) 1:25,000
C) 1:50,000
D) 1:250,000

Click for Answer 3

B) 1:25,000

The 1:25 000 scale map is very useful for walking as it shows many features including paths and buildings over a small area, but if you use it in a car you will quickly drive off the edge! On the other hand, maps at 1:250,000 scale (note the extra zero) show lots more area, but in far less detail.

Question 4
Triangulation pillar

What name is given to the network of concrete pillars that were used to make maps?

A) Map Mileposts
B) Masts
C) Triangulation pillars
D) Obelisks

Click for Answer 4

C) Triangulation Pillars

the triangulation pillar, most often known as a "trig pillar" or "trig point" is a fixed surveying station, used in geodetic surveying and mapping.

Question 5
Triangulation Pillar

How many of these concrete pillars are there dotted around the UK?

A) 2,000
B) 3,500
C) 5,000
D) 6,000 plus

Click for Answer 5

D) 6,000 plus

Although more than 6,500 trig pillars were built, hundreds have been lost to housing developments, farming, coastal erosion, and other causes. Trig-baggers collect around 6,190 points currently.

Question 6
Trig Point Mountains

And how would you identify one of these trig pillars on an Ordnance Survey map?

A) Black square symbol
B) Blue triangle symbol
C) Yellow circle symbol
D) Red diamond symbol

Click for Answer 6

B) Blue triangle symbol

The symbol for a trig point is a small blue triangle, sometimes with a blue dot in the centre. The number beside it shows the height above sea level.

Question 7
Scottish Highlands

Which of these is a way of showing the height of land on a map?

A) Scale lines
B) Grid lines
C) Contour lines
D) Triangulation lines

Click for Answer 7

C) Contour lines

contour lines mark points of equal elevation on a map. If you trace the length of a line with your finger, each point you touch is the same height above sea level. When shown close together, the land is steeper.

Question 8
Compass navigation

How many 'norths' would you find represented on a standard map?

A) 1
B) 2
C) 3
D) 4

Click for Answer 8

C) 3

A diagram at the bottom of most topographic maps shows three north arrows and the angles between them: grid north (GN) is a navigational term referring to the direction northwards along the grid lines of a map projection. It is contrasted with true north (the direction of the North Pole) and magnetic north (the direction in which a compass needle points).

Question 9
Navigating with a map

If someone referred to Eastings, what would they be talking about?

A) Verical lines down a map
B) Horizontal lines across a map
C) Diagonal lines on a map
D) Nothing to do with maps

Click for Answer 9

A) Vertical lines down a map

A grid of squares helps a map-reader locate a place. The vertical lines are called eastings. They are numbered - the numbers increase to the east. The horizontal lines are called northings as the numbers increase in a northerly direction.

Question 10
Map and compass navigation

When you are giving grid references, after the two letter prefix, which should be shared first?

A) Northings
B) Eastings
C) Doesn't matter
D) I haven't a scooby

Click for Answer 10

B) Eastings

To avoid confusion, convention is that you should always give the eastings number first and the northings second. you must also give the 2 letter prefix that denotes which 100km x 100km grid square you are in. 

Question 11
Reading a compass

When studying a compass, which compass point lies immediately opposite SSE?


Click for Answer 11


On a compass, NNW (North North West) lies immediately opposite SSE (South South East).

Question 12
World map

Where could you walk 1km north, then 1km east and then 1km south, and end up where you started?

A) The North Pole
B) The Equator
C) The line of Capricorn
D) The South Pole

Click for Answer 12

D) South Pole

This question used to be asked by old Antarctic expedition leaders of applicants to join expeditions.

Question 13
Exmoor national Park

On an Ordnance Survey map, which national park information centre is represented by a stag?

A) Exmoor
B) North York Moors
C) Northumberland
D) Yorkshire Dales

Click for Answer 13

A) Exmoor

The stag with its proud antlers, in an upturned blue triangle is the symbol for Exmoor National Park

Question 14
Mam Tor footpath

What sort of public right of way is represented by a series of short green dashes on a 1:25,000 scale map?

A) Bridleway
B) Footpath
C) Byway open to all traffic
D) Byway with restricted usage

Click for Answer 14

B) Footpath

The short green dashes are footpaths with a public right of way. They are legally protected routes that the public may use by foot - a bridleway is shown as long green dashes.

Question 15
Sissinghurst heritage tour

What colour are tourist attractions on Ordnance Survey maps.

A) Purple
B) Green
C) Yellow
D) Blue

Click for Answer 15

D) Blue

For familiarity and confidence, all tourist features are depicted on OS maps in light blue.

Question 16
Snowdon, Wales

Which of these is the most popular Explorer Ordnance Survey map?

A) OL17, Snowdon
B) OL24, Peak District, White Peak Area
C) OL2, Yorkshire Dales, Southern & Western
D) OL7, English Lakes, South-Eastern Area

Click for Answer 16

A) OL17, Snowdon

Although Snowdon is number one, these are four of the most popular maps, revealing where Britons are most likely to go on holiday or perhaps where they are most worried about getting lost.

Question 17
Glen Oykel, Scotland

And conversely, which is the loneliest and least popular Explorer Ordnance Survey map?

A) 335, Lanark & Tinto Hills
B) 59, Solway Firth
C) 440, Glen Cassley & Glen Oykel
D) 169, Rhonda & Merthy Tydfil

Click for Answer 17

C) Glen Cassley & Glen Oykel

Map 440, covering Glen Cassley & Glen Oykel, a beautifully barren wilderness in the northern Highlands, is the number 1 hidden treasure, recording the lowest sales of any OS Explorer map.

Question 18
People map reading

Three of you are going walking - who should do the navigation?

A) Jane, she's been on a course
B) You, after all, if you want a job done...
C) Bob, he got lost last week and needs practice
D) All of you should pay attention to navigation

Click for Answer 18

D) All of you

Everyone should be paying attention to the navigation, either to advise or to learn. Being aware of where you are and where you are going also adds to your confidence and enjoyment too.

Score Yourself

So, how did you do? There are no prizes so, just for fun, score yourself...

1-3: Ah, that's not great! Brush up on your knowledge, join our navigation skills courses and have another go!

4 - 7: Could do better...hmmm, you've got lot's to learn about maps and navigating the british countryside. Guess you should start planning a trip...

8 - 11: Not bad but there's room for improvement and there are lots more places to discover so keep on exploring!

12 - 15: That's great, well done! You know lots about maps and navigation, time now to get to grips with the last few.

16 - 18: Excellent, what a result! Great knowledge, you clearly know your stuff and are a map reading pro.