Are we wiping out history?


From the blog

Are we wiping out history?

Posted 24 November 2008 10:30 by martin
Are we wiping out history? Well, The British Cartography society has accused internet maps of “demolishing thousands of years of history -not to mention Britain's remarkable geography – at a stroke by not including them on maps which millions of us now use every day.” 

We currently include important transport landmarks like Train, Bus and Tube stations but we don't currently include things like Churches, Galleries or Historic Buildings. 

We'd love to add extra information to your walking routes, but what sort of things should we point out on your journey. Should we stick to traditional landmarks like Churches and Post Offices, or would you like to see Restaurants and Newsagents? 

Let us know by adding a comment!

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  1. Jack Kirby says:

    November 24th, 2008 at 1:16 pm (#)

    The point of including churches on maps was originally that they were signficant aids to navigation, particularly if they had a tower or spire. Like post offices and other public buildings, they had the advantage of not changing location very often.

    The problem with using locations like restaurants and newsagents as landmarks is that they may close down, change name etc. The route from Birmingham New Street station to Millennium Point (where I work) includes Los Canarios restaurant as a landmark, yet this closed down nearly a year ago and is in a block scheduled for demolition. It would be difficult for to keep up with these kind of changes if commercial premises were used as landmarks more widely.

    The Googlemaps and OS extracts shown in the BBC News online report do illustrate the disadvantages of much internet mapping. I still tend to use A-Zs or tourist board produced maps for navigating in cities as specially-designed maps will highlight the information of interest and also which are the more major routes.

    User-generated content (such as the Wikipedia overlays in Googlemaps) is one way around this issue, but it suffers from a lack of editorial selection meaning that the user is presented with too large an array of information. I predict that over time solutions will emerge to decluttering such overlaid data or enabling selection according to interest.

  2. migratingfishswim says:

    December 2nd, 2008 at 11:34 am (#)

    i definitely want to see places of worship, post offices, sites of historical interest, galleries & museums, etc on maps.

    they are still useful as points of reference for navigation and seeing them on a map can be a great way to encourage making a little time for a detour via the interesting ones and very useful re the utilitarian ones.

    restaurants, newsagents, chemists, shoe repairers, etc would be be useful, but only as an optional overlays, otherwise maps would get too crowded.

    thanks for asking walkit, and keep up the good work!

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