Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Internet maps

Internet maps 'demolish British history'

You might see a headline like that and think the speaker is being overwrought. And you'd be right.

Churches, cathedrals, stately homes, battlefields, ancient woodlands, rivers, eccentric landmarks and many more features which make up the tapestry of the British landscape are not being represented in online maps, which focus on merely providing driving directions, said Mary Spence, President of the British Cartographical Society.

"There is just a hole where the Abbey is," Ms Spence said. "This is tragic. They call this a map but it is so inadequate. It has not been interpreted in any way. It has no landmarks on it."

No kidding. And a maritime map never tells me where any of the motels are. Any decent map is a special-purpose map.

The real story here is not that Google Maps is destroying cartography. Through the magic of mashups, they're letting more people engage in mapmaking.

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