Frequently Asked Questions
MAPS & SCALES
Do I need a large or a small scale map?
It all depends on what you want to use the map for. A common source of confusion is the mistaken assumption that a large scale map covers a wide area. In fact, for a given sheet size, a larger scale map covers a smaller ground area, although showing more detail. A smaller scale map represents a larger area but in less detail.
The terms small scale and large scale are very subjective but, in broad terms, road maps and atlases would definitely be classed as small scale, whilst walking maps and site plans would be classed large scale.
What does 1:50,000 scale mean?
One to fifty thousand is the FRACTION that the map is of life size. It's like a scale model - if you build a model of St Paul's Cathedral out of matchboxes, and the scale is 1:100, then all the windows, doors, pillars etc. will be one hundredth of the size of the real thing.
Similarly with maps - if the map is on a scale of 1:50,000, then all the woods, lakes, towns and so on will be one fifty thousandth of their sizes in the real world. To put it another way, the real world is 50,000 times bigger than the map! So one centimetre on the map represents 50,000 centimetres on the ground, one inch on the map represents 50,000 inches on the ground.
In practical terms, this means that 2cm is equal to 1km, or 1.25 inches is equal to 1 mile.
Can I use 1:50,000 for walking in Britain?
Yes, but the 1:25,000 scale has extra detail which is very useful for walking. Paths are shown on 1:50,000 scale, but without field boundaries, so you can end up on the wrong side of a large hedgerow or barbed-wire fence and have to waste time retracing your steps for hundreds of yards. Using a 1:25,000 map will usually solve this sort of problem. The 1:25,000 also shows small areas of marshland or rocky ground not shown at the less detailed scale. Additionally, public rights of way are shown (except in Scotland) on 1:50,000 without indicating whether they are actually paths or just theoretical routes. So overall you can, with difficulty, use 1:50,000 for walking, but your walk might take an hour longer and you might get your feet wet.
So what does 1:25,000 scale mean and which is better for walking?
1:25,000 scale gives twice the detail of a 1:50,000 map. In practical terms, this means that 4cm is equal to 1km, or 2.5 inches is equal to 1 mile. This means that a 1:25,000 map would give more detail for walkers, although,for a given sheet size, less land would be covered. Overall we would recommend 1:25,000 scale maps for walking wherever possible.
What is the best scale for cycling maps?
The ideal scale for cycling is arguably 1:100,000, although these are not available for every country (there is no national 1:100,000 scale series of the UK for example). 1:50,000 scale maps are excellent, but for long routes you may need to carry several maps around with you. Anything much smaller that a 1:100,000 scale map, and there probably is not enough detail to follow the route effectively.
What is a Superplan? What is a 1:1,250 or 1:2,500 site plan?
These are highly detailed plans showing individual buildings, roads, fences and landscape features. Mapping at this scale is used by central and local government, utility companies, lawyers and other companies wanting highly detailed mapping for planning or business management purposes.
1:1,250 mapping (50 inches to the mile) covers urban areas only. Most rural areas are covered at 1:2,500 scale (25 inches to the mile).
Can I use GPS with Ordnance Survey maps?
This depends on which CO-ORDINATE SYSTEM and which DATUM the GPS receiver is set to.
British National Grid co-ordinate lines on the OSGB36 DATUM are marked on Ordnance Survey maps. Using these should be straightforward. UTM co-ordinates are not marked on Ordnance Survey maps, and so UTM cannot be used at all.
Latitude and Longitude values (in degrees and minutes) on the OSGB36 DATUM are marked on Ordnance Survey maps. On Landrangers, small marks appear across the map to show where the lines intersect. These marks may be joined by straight lines with a pencil (the lines are really curves, but the curvature between the marks is negligible at this scale). On Explorers there is a bit more of a problem, as the latitudes and longitudes are only marked in the margins. Latitude lines are noticeably curved, particularly on larger sheets, and you have to work out where the curve goes across the map! (A cheat method is to draw straight lines between points about one millimetre south of the margin ticks on each side of the map. These straight lines will "average out" the curves and probably be near enough to the actual curves for most GPS purposes.)
What are the main differences between flat maps, folded maps and atlases?
There are three main categories of map that we stock:
- Flat maps are usually rolled up in a tube and have no folds at all. You would normally pin these maps up on a wall or board.
- Folded maps are unsurprisingly folded up, and often have a card cover, or slip into a plastic jacket. Most cycling and walking maps are folded and printed on waterproof paper, making them easier to use outdoors.
- Atlases are books of maps. Popular examples include world atlases and UK road atlases.
Do you deliver globes overseas?
Unfortunately we don't deliver globes outside of the UK due to potential damage during transit.
I can't find what I am looking for. What should I do?
With over 40,000 items in stock at any one time, it's not surprising that you can't always find exactly what you are looking for. But don't worry, we have a team of staff on hand to help you. You can email an enquiry direct to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have been unable to find the exact location you are looking for in the navigation menu, take a look at our complete list of continents, countries, regions and cities all arranged alphabetically.
Do you publish catalogues?
Our web site should give you all the information you need to make an informed choice when buying maps and guidebooks. It is more detailed than any catalogue we have published. If you need any further information about a particular product, we would encourage you to contact our Customer Services team by email at email@example.com.
What is your returns policy?
Stanfords will accept back all goods that have been purchased from us and that are returned in good condition, with no questions asked. Stanfords will also accept back all goods that are faulty or that are deemed by you to be not of satisfactory quality, not fit for their purpose or not matching their description, regardless of whether the product has been used or not.
If you have bought a product online and would like to return it, you may do so at any of our stores. Alternatively, you can return the goods to us at the following address:
12-14 Long Acre
We will arrange to do one of the following for you:
- Refund your credit/debit card
- Issue a Stanfords Credit Note
- Swap the item(s) for more suitable alternatives where this is possible
If you have any questions about our online returns policy you can contact our Customer Services Team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
These guarantees are in addition to your statutory rights, which remain unaffected.
Problems with your online order?
If you have received any part of your order either damaged, in poor condition, or incorrect to what was ordered on our website, please email us, with ‘urgent’ in the subject, and stating your order number, to: email@example.com
We will endeavour to replace your order with brand new goods immediately, exchange for a different item, or issue a full refund as applicable.
Where are your high street branches and what are their opening hours?
Please check our Store Information.
How secure is my online purchase with you?
Ordering from Stanfords online is both safe and secure. We use the latest encryption technology to make sure that any information that you give us (such as credit card details or contact details) can only be read by us. None of the information that you give us can be read as it travels over the Internet.
Furthermore, we are required to follow the UK Data Protection Acts of 1984 and 1998, which demand strict security procedures in the storage and disclosure of information that you have given us.
What about my privacy?
Stanfords assures your privacy and confidentiality at all times when using our site. We only gather information that helps to process online orders more smoothly. We want your shopping experience to be as engaging as possible, so we may occasionally use individual information to personalise the website. However, we promise never to sell or pass on your data on to a third party.
We do need to collect your email address so that we can contact you about the progress of your order. But that does not mean that we will use it to send you newsletters and promotional items that you have not specifically asked for.
Do I have to order online?
Absolutely not. If you prefer, you can order in any of the following ways:
By email - firstname.lastname@example.org
By fax - on +44 (0)20 7836 0189
In person - at one of our high street stores
You can also place orders by post:
UK customers should print out the Your Basket page and send a cheque for the relevant amount - delivery costs are calculated at this stage.
Send your order with cheque to:
12-14 Long Acre