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or do you know a better one?
I've always struggled anywhere outside of the UK to find a completely accurate detailed map of the area I'm in. I wan to see footpaths, fieldlines, forestary boundaries etc etc, yet ti seems only in the OS maps is this possible. Or am I looking in the wrong places?
In Germany, you will have to ask for the "Topograhische Karte 1:25000" or TK25, or the "Topographische Karte 1:50000/TK50 or 1:100000/TK100" (for a larger area). These are produced by the "Topographisches Landesamt" of the Land you are in and cost about 5 Euro apiece.
Most of those Landesämter have Onlineshops such as this.
They may be expensive (but what isn't...?), but they are the best ones for this region.
I haven't seen Swiss or the German TK25 maps. Are there any images of a reasonable size online. Otherwise I will have to pop in to Stanfords when I am next in London.
For an example of an OS map look at the Ordnance Survey which lets you see a small window on to a map. Type a place name (eg. Hay On Wye) into the Get-A-Map input box on the left and hit go. You will need to zoom in by choosing the large circle with a plus sign in it.
Re the reference grid: The standard TK doesn't have a printed one, only a "ruler" on top and side of the map (Gauss-Krüger coordinates), though I might have seen maps with a grid (just none of those I have at home).
As a walker this is an absolutely vital piece of information You cannot use the map and compass together without it.
The fieldlines are also an exceptionally helpful piece of information. Yes they do change over time, but usually there is indication on the ground where they once were. It is vital to know if you should walk to the left of a fieldline or to the right.
This is exactly the differences I have found and why I wondered if they were common or not.
Re: the fieldlines. I think I found one important difference in the access to the countryside between DE and UK: In Britain you have the Right of Way, in Germany you don't. Basically, every field or meadow is private property, and you shouldn't walk across it. Trying to think very hard here: Have I ever seen a hiking path crossing a field like in Wales, where the farmer had just switched off five rows in his sowing machine to make a path for the hikers across the field? I think not. Official Paths are led along roads or footpaths. So the fieldlines are not that important for hikers here and only found in the large-scale TK5 and probably TK 10 (which are used by farmers, landscape planners, foresters and others).
I don't know if the OS is the "best", but it is a little bit unusual in that it has for a long time been marketing detailed topographic maps as affordable consumer products for walkers, cyclists, etc., rather than as specialist resources for planners, the military, etc.
In many countries, until recently whenever you bought a "Wanderkarte", "Carte des randonnées", or whatever, it was made by a third-party publisher buying data from the official mapping agency and overprinting it with footpaths and things. As a result it was often poorly reproduced and lacked things like gridlines, magnetic deviation information and all the rest of it. If you wanted to buy an official topo-map, you probably had to go to an obscure government office between two and four on a Thursday and fill in several forms... These days, they're all copying the OS and trying to make more money, of course.
Switzerland seems to have been an exception - I've got quite a selection of civilian Swiss topo-maps going back to about 1914. And very nice they are too.
But my favourites (to look at, not necessarily in use) are the old cloth-mounted OS one-inch maps with the red-and-white cover. I don't like the all-red design that came in in the seventies! I like the rather severe effect of the black grid lines chopping the map into small squares. Swiss maps have black grid lines too, of course.
Well when you go in UK shops most of the OS products are as you say for 'leisure' users but I suspect they have lots of other products. When I was younger they had large scale (6 inch or 25 inch to the mile maps). I think the market for these has been replaced by a market for custom-made maps at whatever scale supplied via an electronic database and basically printed 'on demand'.
Argh! This makes my head hurt...! See if I can make some decent SI units from that... ;-)
1:106 and 1:64 (or roughly our TK 10 and TK5). Yes these used to be around here too, but are now available only on special order (and the professional users order the digital version for use with GIS or CAD systems more often).
For Washington and Oregon, the best source is Green Trails. Most of their maps are 15-minute maps in 1:69,500 scale, but they also have some special maps for areas like the Olympic Mountains, Mount Hood, etc. Recently they have offered a few maps for Arizona and Nevada.
1 inch (1") to mile: 1:63360
6 inch to mile 1:10560
25 inch to mile 1:2534
The old 1 inch maps have been replaced by 1:50000 as the 'standard' walkers maps. Many areas now have 1:25000 maps designed for 'serious' walkers. But for a very short time I worked for the local council in a museum and they had access to Ordnance Survey digital mapping at almost any scale.
Landplan is 1:10000, Landline (usually data) is 1:1250 in urban areas and 1:2500 in rural. If you have a data licence then "Paper products at 1:200 to 1:10 000 scale are also available through the Superplan plotting service."
And yes it is hellishly expensive to buy a licence for a sizeable amount of data.
Another possibility, if you can get hold of them, are the old Soviet military maps - I think there's a shop in Lithuania that sells them, but it's not in my bookmarks any more.