I gave a presentation at the Digital Cities Seminar yesterday and was fascinated by some of the maps Sir Terry Farrell showed as part of his presentation which will be featured in his new book Shaping London.
It is always refreshing to look at how people other than cartographers choose to represent geospatial information, the image below taken from Terry’s presentation show the Thames Gateway, the area of urban redevelopment east of London, and takes its inspiration from Beck’s Underground map.
Beck’s map (or plan ?) is truly iconic and the map of the Thames gateway uses the Circle Line from it both to provide a geographic anchor for the map and to provide relative scale. I always find it amusing to remind people that one of the most famous maps in the world is the product of a graphic designer based on the principles of laying out electrical circuit diagrams.
In my presentation I made the point that we are increasing moving to a time when maps are customised to an individuals needs, and will become task focused delivered on mobile devices and as a result transient. Indeed for many tasks where a map was once needed a location aware application can provide users with the information they need without a map display.
Just step back and think about this one button from the “infamous” National Rail app for the iPhone.
Press it anywhere in the UK, and it will tell you the time of the next train home, and when you would expect to arrive. As a geospatial professional think about all the functionality and data that is hidden behind this simple button, and the analogue sources of information you would need to have access to to provide the answer.
As a Geographer sometimes it hard to accept, but it is still true, that it is often not about the map !!
Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.