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  The American Surveyor     

New Study Reveals Britain’s “Lost” Generation Print E-mail
Written by Ordnance Survey   
Tuesday, 03 August 2010

With the summer holidays well underway, many families will be looking forward to loading up the car and hitting the road.

But a survey by Ordnance Survey of over 2,000 people has revealed that while the children in the back seat are screaming “are we nearly there yet?” millions will be driving round in circles trying to get to their final destination.

Today’s results show that two thirds of the population admit to regularly getting lost, a figure that soars to nearly 8 out of 10 in London; and that 38% of Brits pretend to know where they are going even when they have no idea.

However, while most would agree that maps are the best way of pinpointing a destination, many are relying on out-of-date information that could be leading them “down the garden path”.

A quarter of the population is using traditional maps that are over a year old, whilst the 4 out every 10 that have upgraded to the digital variety admit to having never updated the mapping in their satnav.

In the event of them getting lost, half of those questioned would then ask a passer-by for help; but, since almost 60% admitted to having unintentionally given incorrect directions, it is no wonder so many people end up spending their summer holidays in location limbo.

Interestingly, the research also reveals that the most reliable person to ask for directions is a man aged over 55 from the north-east of England, whereas Scots are statistically twice as likely (8%) than the national average to deliberately give a driver wrong directions.

National mapping agency Ordnance Survey makes around 5,000 changes a day to the digital mastermap of Great Britain, helping to underpin everything from paper maps and satellite navigation to the emergency services.

Rob Andrews, an Ordnance Survey spokesperson, says: “With the sheer number of changes happening to the geography of our country, it’s probably not surprising that people do get lost.  

“We recommend that everyone plans their summer holiday using the most up-to-date mapping available, where that’s the paper or digital variety. Getting lost means your journey takes longer, the children get bored and everyone gets stressed. It’s not a great start to a much deserved break.”

The study also backs up traditional stereotypes, showing that women are less likely to consult a map, whereas men feel uncomfortable asking for directions.

For a copy of the research, please contact the Ordnance Survey Press Office on 023 8079 2568.

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