ORDNANCE SURVEY CONSUMER MAPPINGPRICE
The prices of most Ordnance Survey consumer
maps were increased in November 2001. Whilst most of the price
rises are quite small, the cost of maps in the 1:25,000 Explorer
series has risen by £1.24 to £6.99.
Each Explorer map covers an area equivalent
to three old maps in the Pathfinder series. In their Pathfinder
form, the same area coverage would cost map-buyers 3*£4.50
= £13.50. In addition, the new Explorer maps are created
to a higher specification with increased levels of detail.
Over half of the maps in the Explorer series
are not profitable for Ordnance Survey; some of them sell only
a few copies a year. However, we believe it important that the
national mapping agency is able to offer nation-wide mapping coverage
at 1:25,000 scale to satisfy both leisure and business users and
to fulfil our national interest role.
Other map publishers are more selective in the
areas they cover, basing their decisions to produce maps solely
on commercial reasons. Ordnance Survey however has a responsibility
for the whole of Great Britain and works with retail outlets to
encourage them to stock as wide a coverage as possible. There
is increasing competition for shelf space as well as pressures
on financial return with shelf space being calculated on a weekly
basis. Our price rises reflect retailer feedback.
Ordnance Survey and the retailers believe that
Explorer and Landranger maps should be available at a consistent
price nationally, rather than charging higher prices for maps
in remote areas and lower prices for the more popular titles.
However, to maintain this policy, Ordnance Survey needs to close
the gap between production costs and income to more realistic
levels. As the business continues to do this, it is also important
to ensure that retailers continue to receive a reasonable profit
margin, otherwise they will have no incentive to stock Ordnance
Survey maps, so reducing their current widespread availability.
Ordnance Survey is committed to offering high
quality, detailed information appropriate for each scale of mapping;
this will become even more important in the years ahead when the
new access to the countryside legislation takes effect.
The new price structure for paper maps reflects
the amount of surveying and cartographic information supplied
to the user. For example, the most detailed maps in our leisure
rangethe 1:25,000 scale Explorer and Outdoor Leisure titlescost
£6.99, the 1:50,000 Landranger sheets cost £5.99, and
the 1:250,000 regional Road maps are £3.99.
This price structure reflects the time and effort
put in to each type of map and the amount of information supplied
to the user. Such a structure ensures fair and consistent pricing
and genuine value for money for different products in relation
to each other across the full range.
The cost of keeping our maps up to date, improving
the detail on them, and increasing the frequency of new editions
requires investment into the business. Further improvements are
planned for 2002 following careful analysis of comments received
from existing map users.
For example, walkers are keen to see speedier
updating of underlying landscape detail on Explorer maps, such
as changes to field walls and fences. Ordnance Survey has accepted
this point and is currently embarking on a major investment programme
to directly link the production process for both Explorer and
Landranger maps to our large-scale mapping database. This will
provide our cartographers with the means to digitally import the
very latest landscape information into Explorer and Landranger
maps as each sheet comes up for revision.
We have listened carefully to what our customers
say, and are acting to make the necessary investments. To support
us in this activity and to ensure that retailers continue to stock
paper maps from Ordnance Survey, customers must pay a fair price
for our maps to help us maintain the quality, consistency and
national coverage of the range.