In an exclusive article Tristram Cary, managing director of getmapping.com, right, invites Swindon Link vistors to discover how to contribute to a revolutionary new concept in mapping
In 1999 the Millennium Mapping Company (now Getmapping plc) created the world’s first complete colour aerial photograph of Britain and made it available on the internet for everybody to see and use: www.getmapping.com
This was a revolutionary idea and created a lot of excitement at the time, especially when the Queen invested in the company. The photographic survey was called the Millennium Map and it is being maintained on a regular basis – every 3 to 4 years.
The Millennium Map started a flood of similar ventures and now photography is available for most of the world via websites like Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. Yet again an innovation from England has led to a market dominated by the USA.
We have now turned our attention to the next phase of the project – The People’s Map which allows anybody to draw on top of the Millennium Map aerial photographs to create conventional maps. You can draw lines to represent roads, rivers and railways; or you can draw shapes to represent things like buildings or tennis courts or ponds. You can also add points of interest to give details of places like churches, schools, shops, pubs and parks.
Photos: The changing face of North Swindon. Above, the picture taken by getmapping.com in 1999. Below, the getmapping view in 2005
Within an hour of adding new information the People’s Map is updated to reflect the changes. At first the changes are shown with a purple background as ‘unvalidated data.’ The People’s Map team will verify the changes to ensure that they are correct and once this has been done the alteration becomes part of the validated People’s Map.
The benefit of the People’s Map is that all its users – members of the public and businesses alike – can help to keep the map up to date.
This means that the People’s Map has the potential to be more accurate and relevant than other more conventional maps. In return for the support of its users, the People’s Map will be free for all private non-commercial users, and the costs of the People’s Map for professional users will be much less than for conventional maps.
This article is a world exclusive. It’s the first public announcement of the People’s Map (although the map has been available as a trial site for about a year). The plan is that Swindon Link and People’s Map will work closely together over the coming years to develop the project and make it a success.
We want to excite Swindon Link readers in the People’s Map and get them actively involved as users and contributors.
You will see that Swindon is still ‘virgin territory’ in the People’s Map. Have a look at London or Brighton to see what can be achieved. The People’s Map site has a discussion forum and a blog, so feel free to take part.
So why not log on to www.peoplesmap.com, register as an editor (which takes only a few minutes), and then start creating a map of your local area? Over the coming months Swindon Link will be keeping you up to date on progress, so watch this space – and get mapping for yourself and your community
Get into the spirit of The People’s Map
By Roger Ogle, Swindon Link publisher
Tristram Cary contacted us after hearing of the West and North Swindon maps which we publish, the latter being more up to date than any other paper or electronic version available when it first comes out.
Swindon is a pretty empty on The People’s Map and we’d like to invite readers to transpose our maps onto the aerial photographs at www.peoplesmap.com in the manner described above.
Let me know if you’re planning to participate at: email@example.com and together we can publicise this important project.