Category: Uncategorized

Election Maps – Can do better ?

Showing my age a bit I know, but my first real exposure with web mapping was supporting the use of Autodesk’s then revolutionary MapGuide software for the 1997 General Election on the UK.



Web Mapping was young then.. a bit like Tony Blair !

Over the next few months people will be rushing to their shiny new web tools to visualise the election on May 7th, but have we really moved on in our efforts to explain the geographic distribution of results..

You are likely to see maps like this ..

2010 UK Election Map : Source Wikipedia
2010 UK Election Map : Source Wikipedia

Which are highly misleading as the electoral system in the UK  is not based on the area of parliamentary constituencies which is a key feature of this map!  For a well argued criticism of  choropleth mapping like this in elections, take a look Ken’s excellent blog post on the subject from a few years ago.

With this as motivation I’m pleased to announce that Google is sponsoring a special prize at this years British Cartography Society awards for the “Best Election Map”, hopefully we will see some innovative approaches that go beyond the choropleth!


Waldgoel leads to adventure ?

I very rarely get spam or junk email at work (Gmail is really very good a filtering out the stuff you don’t want to see) but this email dropped into my inbox today..

If only Waldgoel was real..

Compliment, Am Chnatal Waldvogel, I work with a pharmaceutical company here in Canada and I got your contact from Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce in Canada and I decided to contact you directly for an investment with my company if you can understand English, Bahasa.
Our company is into production of Pharmaceutical products and Animal Vaccines. There are some agricultural seeds that my company needs from Indonesia for the production of our Animal Vaccines and Anti-viral drugs.
We have been purchasing the materials from Pakistan and Sri Lanka but it is very scarce now and we got information that it also exist in Indonesia but we are having problem with the owner of the products due to language barrier.
Please take a moment out of your very busy schedule to respond back to me at my private e mail address for more detail.

It would make a great film script don’t you think,  seed smuggling in Indonesia, featuring speed boats, helicopters.. a femme fatale..

Oh well, back to work !


The Lost Maps of… Victoria

Railway Stations are busy places and just like Airports seem to be permanent building sites with modifications both temporary and those longer lasting changing their design organically.

So it is unsurprising that remnants of the past dot our stations and go unnoticed to regular travellers rushing to board trains or find buses or taxis as quickly as possible.  Such is the case with these two maps at London’s Victoria stations, beautiful representations of the  mainline and suburban services of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway which operated services from the western part of the current station between 1860 and 1922.

Next time you are on your way to Gatwick Airport by train (notable on the map as a location of  both a golf course and race course !) see if you can find these two lost maps..




The Greatest story ever told…

OK maybe not, but the development of OpenStreetMap as told by its founding father, Steve Coast is going to be a great read. A truly game changing event in the mapping industry, the project has always attracted strong characters as contributors and in as much as it’s possible to say leaders.

The story of how and why the project took off will be of interest to industry insiders, OSM’ers themselves and to any interested in, after wikipedia, perhaps the most well known product of the wisdom of the crowds.

Steve has his Kickstarter page here, publication if funded is scheduled for next summer.

Who knows in a few years this could be a successful Broadway Musical !


VGI Motivation by Helicopter !

A common topic of discussion when the topic of Volunteered  Geographic Information ( hate the term but it’s was academics use) is motivation. Why expend your precious time adding a missing road to OpenStreetMap or Google Map Maker, why add a review of a Hotel to TripAdvisor ?

Clearly there is the desire to fill in the blank space on the map, or to vent your frustration at poor service when reviewing a restaurant, but are there other forms of motivation that might increase participation ?

Well here is a old favourite,  provide a review of London Business and you might win a trip over London in a helicopter, and believe me that really is an amazing experience.

Thanks for the memories, Terminal 1

One of my earliest memories as a child was flying, then still a little glamorous, to Belfast to see my mothers family. This I guess was in the mid 1970’s and was the first time I visited Heathrow’s Terminal 1.

Terminal 1 in the mid-1970s Photo : Steve Johnson


Early this month I visited the terminal for the last time, most airlines have already moved across to the new Terminal 2, and the British Airways flight I often take to Dublin is moving to Terminal 5 at the end of the month.

I took the opportunity to take a few photo’s to record the last days of Terminal 1.

Thanks for the memories, the long walks, slow moving security lines, the waits for arriving passengers to pass and allow mysterious doors to be opened and for being a gateway to world !

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