The Map Shop

The Map Shop, 15 High St, Upton Upon Severn, Worcester, WR8 0HJ

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Tony Atkinson has been passionate about maps since the age of six; currently he is semi-retired and runs a highly successful business in Upton-Upon-Severn known as The Map Shop. As expected the shop deals mainly in OS maps, yet on my visit and meeting with Tony, I was shown a variety of different organizations that map international regions as well as location specifics such as Scotland that don’t display marked footpaths, as free roaming and right of way is assumed for the full country outside of hunting season. I also met with John Baker whilst visiting Upton, who has worked with Tony for over twelve years and mainly deals in using large scale OS maps.

Large Scale OS Maps are highly detailed with information such as the shape of buildings being highly visible. These maps are rendered at 1:2500 and show both aerial views of the location and the standard map rendering, which differs slightly from the OS printed, typically 1:25000. These large-scale maps have more of a utilitarian use to them, and the map shop itself is approached by a variety of different clients up and down the country who use their service for plotting and planning permissions. Baker said that the majority of their clients tend to be Lawyers, Architects etc. and a repeat client known as Bayliss Design who work in renovating petrol stations. The Large Scale are linked directly to Google Earth, so street view can also be incorporated into the information to give the best impression possible of a given area. It is also an option to turn these very simple line drawings into basic 3D images by using the lines and information provided.

During our conversation Baker laughed at the prospect of the death of the printed map. Due to GPS systems being incorporated into mobile phone devices he said that the naivety of people makes them believe they no longer require a printed version. However aerial view, most commonly used by users to get an overall impression of a place doesn’t include all of the information required if making a trip out into the countryside. Location specifics such as rivers, streams and railway lines may be concealed, yet switching to standard view brings all of these into focus. He stated that this was the reason for the need of cartographers, although ‘everything may have already been found’, satellite photographs and pictures from space will always be in aerial view, thus naturally leaving those location specifics out. The satellites can’t see under trees, which would be a major flaw for hikers and ramblers.  In modern days a lot of the cartographers employed around the world are used mainly for updating the current maps with renovations to cities or main roads etc.

kendal-map-showing-footpathsOS Large Scale

it’s possible to scale the large scale maps to any size right down to 1:2500. I think they are a very clear and focused example of mapping and the changes in design from the printed map have been well thought out. The contour lines have been rendered in a different shade altogether so they don’t stand out too much yet the information is still clear and visible for those who require it. The main roads are clearly stated with the road numbers rendered in the same shade so it is absolutely clear which one they belong to. And as i mentioned earlier, the shapes of the buildings are brought into focus a lot more as there is the space to make this possible.

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Institut Geographique National

1cm = 250m

Although the french maps are similar to English rendered ones in the sense that the key remains the same and the overall styling is very similar to promote ease of navigation through multiple countries, the visible differences that immediately jump out to me is the shading along the contour lines. In my opinion this highlights unnecessarily that the areas of green are mountains. Unnecessary due to the fact that contour lines are used anyway. Tony Atkinson, on showing me this French example, told me of a customer who approached him a few years ago who was looking into the possibility of having a map rendered which would be assembled purely out of contour lines in order to show his Duke Of Edinburgh expedition the importance of them. To an expert map reader everything bar the contour lines is irrelevant information.

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Harvey Maps – Lakeland North

1:25000

The colours used on the Harvey maps are garish in my opinion, subtler shades would be less offensive to the eye and so would result in making the map a more attractive piece of work. Traditionally contour lines are usually rendered in a much softer shade which results in not confusing the user but in this example the lines are almost as dark as the writing.

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BMM – Yorkshire Dales

2.5cm = 1KM

I think this version of a mapping technique has been over complicated again by the many different shades and colours. Everything seems to have been crammed in together and as a piece of work designed to help you, at a glance it appears to be far too confusing.

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Kompass – Brienzersee

1cm = 500m

The contrast of red footpaths and roads on the Swiss map really enable the routes to stand out in quite a striking way. the contour lines are visible though not in an overly offensive way and the text doesn’t have a single direction to run in, it’s crammed all over the design and has been fitted in wherever possible.

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