Thanks to the latest digital technology, maps have slowly become an integral part of our everyday lives – so much so that they’ve grown to be more than just a point of reference.
Rather than haul out the A to Z or the road atlas, a few taps and clicks are all it takes now to plan your journeys. Lost your phone? With the right apps it’s not long before you can be zooming in on an online map to find out where you left it. Trying to orientate yourself in an unfamiliar area? A combination of GPS and online maps can pinpoint where you are within a few metres and let you know in which direction you’re facing. This is all very convenient for day-to-day use for the average individual, perhaps, but in business the advances in online digital mapping have taken on a new dimension.
A Different Perspective
For companies where maps are a key element of their core business, it’s essential that the maps they provide through their websites really do ‘pop’. For example, Z mapping provides a 3D render of urban spaces – perfect to help planners and architects visualise their designs. And terrain models provide a detailed 3D look at the ground beneath other features. Historical maps let you take a peek into the past and compare how an area has developed from as far back as the early 19th century. These and other OS map types are now readily available from mapping suppliers like promap.co.uk, providing rich mapping content that will satisfy every need, no matter how creative.
Online mapping has become social affair, with sites building online communities who add data to local maps. A typical example of this is Cambridge-based CycleStreets, an online project where cyclists sign up as members so that they can contribute up-to-date information their local routes and other matters, such as sites of collisions, cycle theft and so on. Projects like this encourage cyclists to look out for one another and make for a safer environment for cycling.
The geocaching community, a worldwide network of enthusiasts, works in a similar way – they’re responsible for maintaining the caches that they find and reporting any problems. Geocaching is like a treasure hunt, where members use GPS to find hidden objects. Sometimes the cache might contain a trackable item called a travel bug, which the geocacher will then move to next cache they find. In fact, Ordnance Survey, during their GetOutside campaign in 2015, encouraged their geocache enthusiasts to use GPS to try to locate travel bugs that were being carried around by their surveyors during their day-to-day work.
Interactive Maps at Your Fingertips
For sites where maps are critical to their function, there has never been so much choice. From planning application information to creating routes for walks and runs for events or just for individual leisure, interactive digital online maps have empowered their users in a way that would just not be possible with paper maps.