A new map for outdoor leisure, making hills and country as easily accessible as possible.

Free to use and share.

Open data and open tools

We're not just sharing our maps.

All the tools and technologies used to make these maps will also be available, so you can make your own.

No restrictions on re-use

Tell your friends where you've been. Share our maps on your blog and social networks.

All we ask for is an acknowledgement and a link.

 

Export to smartphone or GPS

We know phone signals can be rubbish in the hills.

You can save our maps to your phone, and take a paper copy to stay safe.

Customisable

Play with the colours, change the scale, remove some labels, or only show cycle paths.

It's all possible.

 

Improved by you

You can help us to improve the map. Information you provide to us or our community data sources will soon appear on the map.

More than a map

It's not just a map, it's knowledge about the outdoors.

Our software can plan you a walk to suit your preferences, and help you stay safe.

 

Keep me updated...

If you'd like to be informed when we launch grough map, then tell us your e-mail address. If you want be kept updated before and after the launch, there's a button for that too.

You might want to see our privacy policy. We won't pass on your details for any other marketing.

 

Frequently asked questions

How do I pronounce grough?

It's pronounced 'gruff'.

You might like to know it's in the dictionary, and not just some nonsense we made up.

Why are you doing this?

We believe everyone should be able to enjoy the outdoors. Finding out where you're allowed to walk should be easy.

For many years spatial data in Great Britain was an expensive product only available under specific-use contracts from Ordnance Survey. In 2010 all that changed when Ordnance Survey opened up a number of key products. Sadly this didn't extend to maps used for outdoor leisure.

The situation is complex for outdoor maps. Ordnance Survey do not own the copyright for all of the data involved, such as data records mirroring the definitive map of Public Rights of Way. Many highway authorities have now released these datasets themselves, although not all. This project brings together as many open data products as possible to produce a single composite map with the best representation possible for our countryside.

Some of the information on our maps is processed from raw survey data, such as LiDAR collected by the Environment Agency Geomatics Group. Datasets like these allow us to identify rough terrain, walls, and the heights of buildings.

How much will it cost?

Not a penny. The maps we produce are available to everyone for free through our website, or you can download the tools used to create them and produce your own.

Unlike our current route system, the new map website will be available to everyone, without registration or payment.

Some of our services such as downloading customised maps will only be available to premium members for a small subscription fee. This will ensure the maps are available for everyone, because we need a sizeable number of servers to store and process the huge volumes of data that keep our maps up-to-date.

Can I use the maps for my commercial activity or organised event?

Absolutely. You're required to acknowledge us and our data sources (we will provide a link with the full list), but there are no other restrictions on how you use our maps.

If you do have an interesting project using the data or maps, we'd like to hear about it.

How is this different/better/worse than Ordnance Survey maps?

We love Ordnance Survey maps, and have provided access to them through grough route since 2009. Their maps are by a team of cartographers.

Our maps are different. The process is completely automated, and our emphasis is on producing an automated process that still delivers high-quality mapping. This allows us to update our maps in seconds, rather than hours, and makes it simple for everyone to contribute towards the map with valuable information.

This means you can help us to improve the map, by providing information that isn't included in other mapping products but might be useful for outdoor activities, such as climbing routes or temporary footpath closures. We'll do our part too, building a database of temporary information (such as footpath repairs and storm damage) and new developments using information our editorial team receives.

The data that goes into our maps can also be used for other purposes. Our software can use this information to plan routes on your behalf, adapting them for your preferences such as avoiding busy road crossings, exposed edges, or land unsuitable for mountain bikes. We want to make the countryside accessible to everyone.

What makes this different to OpenStreetMap?

We love OpenStreetMap and think it's amazing. This would not have been possible without the efforts of their mappers and the open data movement they created. A large portion of the data in our maps is from there. The OSM mission statement involves collecting as much ground truth data as possible.

Our purpose is slightly different; we want to make the best map possible for outdoor pursuits. Sometimes that means features will be moved slightly, because cartographically it makes a clearer map. It also means we intend to make a map which packs as much useful information into a printable map as possible, because you can't just zoom in and see extra labels on a sheet of paper.

We mix together a number of sources, and try to pick the most up-to-date or accurate data. By leveraging numerous data sources, we're able to provide a high minimum standard of mapping across the whole country, such as including building footprints everywhere. We then further improve upon this using the crowd-sourced information.

How can I help?

Your support means a lot to us, but if you think you can offer more then here are some ideas...

  • The code and tools used to create our maps will soon be available on GitHub. You can submit a new issue if you find a problem, or pick one of the issues previously identified and submit a pull request to fix it.
  • The OpenStreetMap project encourages you to get involved. If you spot an error in their database, fixing it will feed into our maps. You can read their guidance before getting started.
  • Becoming a subscriber to grough route helps us to keep our server infrastructure going.
How can I access the map?

Initially we will make grough map available on grough route, but a replacement site will soon follow, with more advanced features such as automatic route generation between two points.

Right now, you can access the maps as part of our beta website at geo.gy. This is to allow you to view the maps, so does not offer the features and functionality of grough route

What licence will the maps be available under?

Our maps are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.

Any of the tools and software we develop to generate the maps are available under the GNU General Public License, although we also use Mapnik, VirtualBox, Vagrant and GDAL without modification, which have their own licensing arrangements.

You should note that our tile servers will not be available for external parties to leverage in displaying our tiles elsewhere, without prior arrangement. You will normally be expected to host the map tiles yourself.

How much data are we talking?

We've crunched more than 100GB of data in compressed format to produce these maps. The end result is a semantic database covering transport, surfaces, places, and legal status. This optimised database is about 30GB, containing

  • 390 thousand records about public rights of way;
  • 15 million outlines of individual or groups of buildings;
  • 4 million paths and roads to walk, drive or cycle on.

This database is then used to produce more than 280,000 km2 of mapping on the British National Grid, which is then sliced into smaller areas to work online.

We produce each tile at 520 dots per inch (204 dots per cm), and the entire set is about 100GB of mapping before slicing.

Where do you get your data?

A full list of data sources and datasets is provided on this page.

Some of the information on our maps is processed from raw survey data, such as LiDAR collected by the Environment Agency Geomatics Group. Datasets like these allow us to identify rough terrain, walls, and the heights of buildings.

Most of the data is under the Open Government Licence v3.0.