Thursday, 30 August 2007


I'm constantly surprised at what Google is doing. If you haven't tried Google Earth, do, especially now that it has Google Sky. Meanwhile, Google Maps continues to increase coverage: Topsham now has high-res throughout. I see also from Google Blogoscoped that Google has begun, for some US locations, to add a Street View option where you can view locations from ground level (more systematically than the Ordnance Survey Geograph project - which is excellent but very much dependent on where the volunteer contributors felt was photogenic; see its Topsham coverage).
      The idea of a ground level photographic map isnn't new: Blogoscoped has an interesting post, Photo-Auto Maps (1907), about a century-old Rand McNally travel guide with images to help drivers recognise important turns. The quoted poster, however, makes a slightly strange assumption that this idea was down to conventional road maps not having yet been developed. Road maps actually long pre-date cars. A few lovely examples: Paterson's British Itinerary, 1785, probably the first pocket-sized road map and gazetteer; the Gough Map, 1306, the oldest surviving road map specifically of Great Britain; and Peutinger's Tabula, aka Tabula Peutingeriana, a 12th century copy of a 4th century road map of the Roman Empire.
      Here, at the University of Applied Sciences, Augsburg, is a full scan of the Peutinger map - and here's the British section. In the latter, there are signs of topographical and linguistic garbling: Dorchester isn't east of Southampton. You can identify the locations via the placename index at Thomas G. Ikins' Roman Map of Britain site. - Ray

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