Saturday, 21 May 2011

a field student of pocket maps

Field Study's man in E17 has ventured far beyond the borders of Waltham Forest's cycling and walking fields to collect specimens of walking and cycling mapping. He can report there is a flowering of cartographic fancy to be enjoyed as an aesthetic of pocket-able walking and cycling mapping appears to be developing. However the student's appreciation is interrupted, quite rightly, by the conscience or consciousness of such luminaries as Freewheeler of Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest. I am prompted to ask, precisely what purpose is being served by such mapping? 
This week I picked (up) a map of walking and cycling in Kensington and Chelsea. The map is designed by, Beam. Their web site slickly displays a fine collection of map designs, the quality of which is, sadly, not matched by much of the design of the actual terrain they describe. Of course it is easier, for many reasons, to design and produce great maps than design and build a better landscape or territory. How do the maps actually work in such a difficult ideological territory to negotiate?
Field Study's man in E17 looks forward with a mix of emotions to the prospect of an abundance of maps describing London's terrain, in a plethora of languages - as the world convenes for olympic fun and games. Walking and Cycling in Waltham Forest in .................. - which languages? Will he be losing and finding himself here in Japanese, Korean, .......... ?  


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