Map Symbol Challenge

Report Copyright Infringement View in OSM UK View in OSM NZ


This activity builds on basic map reading skills and includes, identification and recognition of map symbols, using the Map Legend and Grid References.
It's a great winter evening activity for prepping the skills for use in the summer but could be run on camp in an evening or for some quiet time too


Ordnance Survey Flashcard pdf file (either 25k symbols or 50k depending on your choice of map)
Ordnance Survey Maps - 1 per patrol (Either 1:25000 or 1:50000 but make sure you use the flashcards to match)
The patrols don't all need to use the same map but it will be fairer if you're running it as a competition. The map needs to have a good mix of urban and rural features to cover as many of the 52 symbols as possible.


Print out the relevant flash cards and cut them out individually - You only need the symbols themselves, no need to print the pages with the labels on.
Have each Patrol or 6 at individual tables with a map.
Place all of the flash cards on another table in the centre of the room.
The patrols send one member to select a card from the table and bring it back to the table.
Using the map Legend, the Patrol / Six need to identify what the symbol is the try to find one on the map, noting down the grid reference and identifying one other map feature close by.
Cubs could use 4 figure grid references and would probably need a leader per Six.
Older sections should be able to self lead, with the PL's instructing in the case of Scouts.
This could be run as a competition or against the clock for older Scouts, Explorers and Adults


  • 4 Figure Grid Reference
  • 6 figure grid references
  • grid references
  • map introduction
  • Map keys
  • map reading
  • Map reading , Os map symbols
  • map symbols
  • map work

Badge Links

  • Navigator - 4-figure reference
  • Navigator - 6-figure reference
  • Navigator - Features
  • Navigator - Key
  • Team Leader - Teach